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I am temporarily living in Germany, and my knowledge of the language is limited. In my country, if Bob wants to sell an auto to Alice (privately), there are three steps needed: 1) Bob must prove to be the owner (with some exceptions); 2) Bob and Alice sign a contract; 3) They go to an official representative who validates it with a stamp.

So I tried Bob's auto: great conditions, fair price. And since I was almost sure of my purchase, I signed a paper called "Kaufvertrag" (whose original is owned by me, she has a copy). I did that on the assumption (1) and thinking about going next week to place (3) for an official stamp.

Soon after, she started pushing for the payment, asking for "Bargeld" (cash) - no way I accepted. We agreed on a payment via Bank (which I have not done), but she asked not to specify the payment reason.

As a nice dessert, this morning I realized that on the car's documents there is no trace of her name. Furthermore, there is no way to contact the original owner. I went to the Police explaining everything, they controlled but apparently, the car is not registered as stolen, nor has the woman any problem with the law.

Honestly, at this point, I have no more any interest in continuing in this way; I am too scared and I prefer to trust a local official dealer instead.

Given the described condition, has the "Kaufvertrag" actually a legal value?

In my naive idea, no. She is not the owner and it is not officially validated, but on the other hand, I understand that German law can work differently. Any help is strongly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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    I don't know about Germany, but in general, a third party can sell property, acting as the seller's agent (such as consignment sale), unless prohibited by law. This does seem sketchy: the request for cash may or may not be a red flag, but the request for not specifying the payment reason definitely is, even by itself. She may be trying to defraud you, the owner, or the taxman. Per Google, "Kaufvertrag" translates as purchase contract, so you may be on the hook to buy the car now; however, I can't see any law forbidding you from specifying the payment reason, so I would do so to CYA. – sharur Nov 30 '18 at 20:27

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