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Vehicle Registration

I bought used car that failed the smog check. The seller does not want to take responsibility.

I just bought a used car with oregon license plate. The smog check here in california failed. Seller is not taking responsibility and stating that he has mailed his paper to dmv and that releases him from liability. Is that correct? I did tell him that seller is responsible for smog check and it's a state law. But he doesn't care. What are my options right now?


Section 24007 (b)(2) of the Vehicle Code states it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate at the time of delivery of the vehicle. There is no provision in the law to sell a vehicle "as is" as far a the smog inspection is concerned. Therefore the seller is always responsible for the smog check even if they mention the car is sold "as-is". Assuming the purchase took place in California (even though the car is from Oregon) the seller has to follow this law.


The release of liability document the seller completed and sent to the DMV only releases them of liability as far as parking tickets, accidents, vehicle code violations and so on; basically only things that you do with the vehicle after the purchase. It DOES NOT release them of the liability from following the law which specifically states he or she is required to give you a passing smog check certificate along with the vehicle when you bought it.


Unfortunately, your option at this point is to pay for the repairs necessary to get the car to pass the smog check and then take the seller to small claims court to recover your costs. Although the law clearly supports the buyer, collecting on a small claims judgment can be difficult, so the amicable solution is usually best.

posted by SmogTips Support 06-05-2010 10:25 PM
No smog check? No problem. Pay your DMV renewal fees now and avoid penalties!
NeedTags - OL #89953. California authorized online vehicle registration service provider.

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