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Consumer Assistance

I Don't Want This Car Anymore

Hello. I have recently purchased a car here in CA where the owner did not smog check the car before selling it. Here's my story;

I bought a car from a private seller that did not smog it before he sold it. After my purchase of the car I took it to get it smogged and registered myself. My car did pass the smog test and I was able to register it. Shortly after that the check engine light tuned on, was on and off for a week. Shortly after the light turned on, the car broke down.

The car is still broken down and previous owner still illegally sold this car without smogging it first. I do not want to be responsible for the repairs on this car. I just want my money back for being sold a car, not already smogged (that I was promised would be a great car and is not) and to move on. Do I have any recourse.


This is not legal advice and you will need to speak with an attorney regarding this matter. The final decision maker on the matter will be a small claims court judge, unless you paid over $10,000, in which case it will require a Superior Court filing.

Small claims court judges usually do not reverse the sale of a used "as-is" vehicle purchase unless the seller willfully and maliciously defrauded the buyer. California does require a seller to smog check their vehicle before it is sold, however it is rare that anyone gets prosecuted for violating this law. Most often these cases are handled in civil court, unless a more serious crime has also been committed alongside the purchase transaction.

Furthermore and unfortunately in this specific case, it might be difficult to prove when and why the vehicle broke down, since it passed a smog check after you purchased it.

If you feel the monetary amount is worth your while we recommend you speak with an expert attorney who deals with used vehicle purchases for legal advice and how and if you should proceed with any action.

posted by SmogTips Support 01-27-2016 06:46 PM

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