The complexities of used cars.

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Let me explain this situation. My father inherited a car from his father, who inherited it from his uncle in law (is that even a valid term?). Yesterday, he sold the car to a couple who just moved into town. Today, he gets a call from the man who bought it saying there was a “little” problem.

This car has a history. The original owner of this car, Art, was driving around drunk one dark, foggy, rainy night. He hit and killed a teenager that was on the side of the road attempting to fix his car. This teenager hit and killed Art’s mistress’s child only weeks before.

Now, here is the problem. The teenager that was killed is a distant relative of the wife of the couple that bought the car. She had never met him and may not even have been born when the incident occurred. She refuses to go near the car and is trying to give it back. However, the teenager who was killed was a good friend of my father, so he wanted to get rid of the car too.

The sale has been finalized, the money deposited. If my father were to take the car back he would have to get the insurance and license plates again. It has already been more abused by their children than it ever has been in my family.

Do you think my father is obligated to take the car back? Is there any laws that require him to inform them of the death before the car is sold? Do you think there is a moral obligation to take the car or to even tell a buyer if the car had killed someone?

 
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I doubt there is a law to make him do any of these, unless the car is damaged in someway he did not say, but i really don’t know

checking

 
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Do you think my father is obligated to take the car back?

No, the kids clearly like the car, the new owner should have checked up on it first (I assume your father didn’t do anything to mislead the new owner), and if they don’t want the car they can sell it on.

Is there any laws that require him to inform them of the death before the car is sold?

No idea, but probably not.

Do you think there is a moral obligation to take the car or to even tell a buyer if the car had killed someone?

If they ask, then yes. If someone buys a car from you whilst making it clear that a death would be an issue, and you lie to them about it, then you should buy the car back from them.

 
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If they ask, then yes. If someone buys a car from you whilst making it clear that a death would be an issue, and you lie to them about it, then you should buy the car back from them.

Of course, but I meant to come forward with the information without being asked.

My father didn’t mislead them in any way. He actually showed them all the paperwork on the car from the previous owners too. They didn’t make the connection until later.

 
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No, I don’t think he should (that’s not to say he shouldn’t). If someone doesn’t ask if the car was in an accident, then it’s on their head if it bothers them if and when they find out. However, if the killing wasn’t an accident (it seems from your OP that it wasn’t?) and your father said ‘Nope, hasn’t been in any _accidents_’ then I feel he’s in the wrong, by using an expected (and reasonable, in my view) assumption to fool the buyer.

 
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There was a lot of debate if it was an accident or not. I believe they decided that he was just drunk and it was too dark to see who it was in the road. The accident where the teenager hit a kid was decided that it was the kid’s fault, not his. Its really one confusing debacle but I don’t believe that either were believed to be intentional murders, at least not officially.

 
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“Is there any laws that require him to inform them of the death before the car is sold?” (sorry I don’t know how to get the highlight in yet) It depends where you are, some of the states have laws that say in selling a car you must mention of any body work, paint, accidents, electrical work, etc., but that’s more for the history of the car so that the buyer can insure that the car is not stolen, I believe California(not sure)has a law saying you must tell of any paint added or removed(again to ensure the history of the car) I don’t think there’s any legal obligation telling him to take it back.

 
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I had a similar thought to MrMonopoly. There are disclosure laws about real estate and I imagine there are similar things for cars. However that usually has to do with things that will significantly impact the value, viability, or safety of the object. I don’t know that personal history would really count.

Also, did I read this story right? Did person A (teenager) kill the child of the mistress of person B (Art), and then person B accidentally kill person A later while drunk? If so, that (combined with the cars and relatives) is one of the craziest stories I’ve ever heard (and I would dismiess as ridiculous if I ever saw it in a movie plot…). Absolutely amazing.

I’m a bit confused about timing here. How did the children of the new owners abuse the car so badly in only one day?

In any case, I think if I were your dad I would take it back. I wouldn’t think he’d need insurance or plates (since he wouldn’t be driving it) and he could probably just sell it to someone else. Legally I don’t think it’s necessary, but morally I would be inclined to say he should.

 
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Yea, it resembles the plot of the Steven King’s novel “Christine”, also the family that bought it could just eBay it, sell it themselves like Phoenix00017 was saying.

 
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You got the story exactly right, Phoenix. Crazy isn’t it? Person A was my dad’s best friend. Person B was my dad’s great uncle.

I know theres a law that states when you’re selling a house you have to tell the buyer if there was a murder or death there, or something like that. I haven’t heard anything about cars yet.

Anyway, my father did take the car back. He is just too nice of a guy to let them suffer, or at least he thinks he is. >.>

 
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It should have been in the paperwork as an accident anyway, shouldn’t it have?

 
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Yes. The accident was there. I’m assuming it either didn’t give the name of the victim or they just didn’t look at it.

 
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Wow that is a weird coincidence. Someone bought a car that killed a relative of the buyer’s. That is creepy.

I hope the sale can’t be reversed. I sympathize with the seller since they have no knowledge of what happened, according to the poster. Legally, I don’t see any openings. I think buyer’s remorse comes into play here. Also, a policy of no evidence, no refund, no return should be implemented. A wisecrack would be to say “No body, no refund, no return.” If the allegation of bad history is proven, that is different, but until then, the seller should exercise inherent rights to innocence and lawful sale.

Either way, I don’t see the seller as responsible, especially since the sale already went through.