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Old 08-05-2010, 01:15 AM   #1
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Help. A little legal advice?

So this question is indirectly Jeep related, but i could use some input. I live in NY state,
I sold one of my cars to fuel my jeep habit. The lady gave me a 700 deposit, and said she would have the rest the next week. I told her I would hold the car until she had it, so the following week, she wrote me a check for the remaining amount and said it would be able to be cashed in 2 days. I gave her the title, she took it, registered it, and then took the car home. The next day she canceled the check. So I am out the rest of the money. She said there was a transmission problem and she wanted to return it. I refused, because the car was for her 16 year old son and he probably beat the crap out of it. It was a 1988 Pontiac Firebird with 71,000 miles. He probably thought it was a fun toy, and destroyed it with his friends. So anyway, I refused, she told me about the problems it had, and I told her it wasn't my issue anymore, and that she had committed check fraud. Her husband told me to go "funk myself" and said they would keep the car for 700 and not give me the rest of the money.
The police told me to file a protest at their bank if the cash didn't check, which it didn't. I filed the protest, sent the letter the police told me to send her requesting immediate payment, and i sent it via certified mail and got a return receipt so she couldn't deny getting the letter. Police said to give her 10 days. I called her and told her, but since she's rich, she stood behind her brother in law's advice that there is some sort of 10 day return policy In New York, a car sold as is is not subject to return or lemon laws, and all the paperwork i gave her said "as is".
My question is, did she commit check fraud, and am I in good shape with this case?

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Old 08-05-2010, 04:02 AM   #2
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Call Judge Judy and see if they will take the case. In my years of selling vehicles it it CASH or Certified Check only or no vehcile and title.

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Old 08-05-2010, 04:38 AM   #3
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I, myself am not too sure, but my wife is a paralegal and would know, as soon as she gets up I will ask her/let her read your post and hopefully help you out. BTW where abouts in NY are you, we're from upstate/central ny.
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Old 08-05-2010, 05:26 AM   #4
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Why would you give a title w/o cash
in hand?
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Old 08-05-2010, 05:37 AM   #5
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Cash only - Certified and cashier's checks can be canceled.
Even cash - too much phoney money around. Go with him to his bank, have him cash his check for cash - have him hand you the cash that the teller just gave him.
They don't need your ID or account number to give him cash. If his check bounces, if they don't know who you are they can't get it back from you.
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Old 08-05-2010, 05:47 AM   #6
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I don't know about check fraud, but they should owe you for the rest of the money. Never take anything but cash. You mentioned "she's rich". The 2 day hold should have been a red flag. Unless you have an attorney that will handle this for you for free, your best bet will be small claims court. How much was the check for?

I hope this turns out well for you. Please keep us updated.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:04 AM   #7
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School of hard knocks bud.Checks are worthless to me.Cash only sale.2 things you should never do,buy a vehicle sight unseen,never give anyone the title to anything until its paid for.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:06 AM   #8
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unless there was a written contract, i don't think there's too much you can do. you can't prove you agreed to any certain price. you do have a check written to your name that was canceled by her, and that should raise a red flag if i'm a judge. does the check say what it's for?
but, you are correct that used cars have no lemon law and no return policy through a private seller. as is means as is.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:43 AM   #9
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This is one that will probably end up with Judge Judy or Judge Marilyn....no matter how rich, she canceled a check and took the car...that is theft by deception over here in NH. Certainly by canceling the check she commited fraud in NY...depending on the amount it could be small claims court or if enough money, superior court. If you get a lawyer involved, make SURE that you ALSO sue for LEGAL FEES or you end up paying the lawyer out of the check amount if you get it. My lawyer forgot to write in those important words on a lawsuit I won...against Chrysler/DMC...and he got zero for legal fees.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:48 AM   #10
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on a side thought, if she was so rich, why in the hell is she buying her son an '88 firebird? no offense.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:06 AM   #11
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Sorry, but you are screwed. IF they give you the car back, you can recoup a bit of the loss, but once you signed the title over to them, you lost.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:43 AM   #12
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You do have a legal ground to sue. Writing is always the best, but a contract in words holds up just as well in court. You must just prove what the verbal contract said. You actually have more power than you know because you have received the cash, which cannot be disputed, and you are holding a check that was canceled, which also cannot be disputed. How much was the check for? Most likely this will fall under small claims court which is cheap to file a suit.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:50 AM   #13
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Keep in contact with your police. I have no advice fo you. but I have a feeling you'll be suing her for it to get it back, unless you have a cop (or psychotic) friend who would go over and scare the money out of her.

I'm posting to wish you luck.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:52 AM   #14
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The UUC (Uniform Commercial Code) 3-305, 3-306 code is pretty specific about this.

A person who wrongfully stops payment on a check not only will be liable to the payee for the amount of the check, but also may be liable for consequential damages incurred by the payee as a result of the wrongful stop payment order.

This means keep all of your receipts of any costs you are incurring at this time due to this situation.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:03 AM   #15
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Just curious, why didn't you try and work with her before it went to this?

what exactly is the transmission problem she is claiming?

has the car been looked at by a professional?

was the car driven before purchase?

Is it something simple that can be fixed so you both can move on?

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