Buying a Used Car in México (T.o.H. Series)

By Liliana Elena Gonzalez


I have got a call 2 weeks ago from a client who wanted to buy a used car in Morelia.

My client John Doe, wanted to buy a car from a car dealer Juan Fernández who´s business name is CarCars. BTW all names have been changed to protect their privacy, or how we say in México “se dice el pecado pero no el pecador” (we tell the sin but never the sinner).

Mr. Doe loved the car, he drove it around, took it to the mechanic to verify its condition and even check it out at the vehicle police station to make sure it was not a stolen car.

After all this diligent actions, he called me to check out legal papers as the car title, sales-agreement, etc. So we meet at the CarCars office and this is what I found out:

1.- In the sales-agreement the seller was CarCars, but it does not have enough rights to sell that car or anything else because it is only a “comercial name” not a legal corporation. There was no “one person doing business as”.

When I pointed that out, Juan Fernández told me “ok, I will be the seller” which might be OK, but then the second problem came up:

2.- The Car Title was on the name of a third person (I will call him Pedro Sánchez). I asked Where is Pedro Sánchez?

Juan Fernández explained me that he bought the car from Pedro in México City. Juan paid to Pedro, got the title and brought the car to Morelia 3 or 4 months ago and never saw Pedro again. Then I said OK, where is your sales-agreement with Pedro along with his Id?  and the third problem came up:

3.- There was no paperwork about that transaction, except for the Car title with some illegible signature on the back (of course they swore to me it was Pedro´s signature). However, there was no proper id (neither any other document) to prove that was Pedro´signature.

They told Mr Doe that they had good contacts in Mexico City and they will find Pedro Sánchez to get the proper paperwork and they would call him to continue with that transaction.

Well they did not call Mr. Doe and he had to forget that car and move on.

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