Whether you are the car dealer or the buyer, you need to make sure that your bill of sale on any and every car is in order. Buyers should see an itemized list of sale details. Sellers should make sure that every part of the transaction for the sale of a car is present and easy to understand. Here is why, and what happens when your bill of sale is incomplete or unclear.
Things That Should Be on the Bill of Sale
If the customer traded in a vehicle, it should list the year, make, model and trade-in value of the vehicle. It should also show this value amount deducted from the total purchase price of the new or "new" vehicle the customer purchased. Additionally, down payments and any extra fees and taxes should also be listed. If there are any extraordinary or special circumstances, these need to be listed on the bill of sale as well.
Reselling or Transferring the Vehicle
If the customer ever resells the vehicle or transfers the title to a family member, the bill of sale from the dealership follows the paperwork. It is the proof needed to show that the vehicle was not previously stolen, and that there is either money owed on the vehicle or no money is owed at all. It frees the next owner from any legal issues beyond any remaining balance owed on the vehicle. Making sure that the bill of sale is very clear-cut, itemized, and easy to understand eliminates any confusion between seller and buyer.
Going to Court
If you are taking a customer to court, you have to show why you are suing the customer. Simply stating that the customer did not pay the bill for a car for sale in full is not enough, since you have to prove that the car remains unpaid for. If you are the customer suing the car dealer, the same holds true. The judge will want to see the bill of sale, and you will have to provide a copy that shows that the car dealer is not adhering to the bill of sale contract.
If there are details missing from the bill of sale, you have to prove which items are missing. Most of the time, that cannot be done. Then it becomes a "he said, she said" situation that the judge has to unravel. In some states, an incomplete bill of sale (i.e., a bill of sale that is missing important details) means that the judge defers to the consumer and the consumer wins the case.