I brought a used car from Mr. A. However it was not his car. He went with Mr. B, the real owner, to an office dealing with auto registration and sign the paper together without me being there. I did not know anything about Mr B at all. I did not give Mr A permission to sign my name. Faking somebody's signature is a crime, correct?

Mr A said that it was his car and a good car. However it turned out to be a bad car. I want to report Mr. A to the DMV that he forged my signature, and I want to return the car to Mr. A and get my money back. What right do I have? Since he submitted the bill of sale to DMV with the fake signature, I want to report to the DMV that the bill of sale is invalid because I did not sign it, and I want to return the car to Mr A. What do I have to do?

This was in the State of California.

At first, Mr A said he has a car to sell to me. He get a car from Mr B, that I did not know anything about Mr B. Mr A brought Mr B to an office dealing with auto registration to fill the paper for sale. I did not know what happen in that office. Now I know that Mr A fake my signature to be a buyer. The car is bad, and I paid money to Mr A. I would like to return the car to Mr A. If I did not sign any paper to be a buyer, this bill of sale should be invalid. I did not receive the title after 4 months. I went to the DMV and they said that the title now is under my name. Almost all the time, Mr A has the car trying fix the problems of the car, I don't have the car right now. He is still keeping it to fix. My point is I would like to return it to him and get my money back. What can I do ?

  • What jurisdiction is this in? what country, and if in the US what state? Also, it is not clear here exactly who did what. Did Mr A impersonate you, lying to Mr B about his identity? Did Mr B actually sign your name, or merely fill in your name as the buyer? What problem is being caused by the faked bill of sale, if you did in fact purchase the car? Apr 5, 2019 at 5:31
  • Patty, I've edited your question to include the extra information from your "answer" below. Please check it to make sure I have understood correctly. If I have then please delete the "answer". Otherwise click "edit" under the question and you can make any changes you want. Apr 5, 2019 at 15:28
  • Thanks for your hepl, Paul Apr 5, 2019 at 17:44
  • If he forged your name, why do you have the car?
    – Putvi
    Apr 5, 2019 at 17:56
  • Your story doesn't make sense, because you wouldn't have the car if he lied and got it without your permission. He would have it.
    – Putvi
    Apr 5, 2019 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


Your main concern is not actually the signature on the bill of sale, its getting your money back. The bit with the signature might be leverage, but you need to focus on the money first. If you complain to the DMV first there is a risk that ownership of the car will revert back to Mr B but you won't get your money back.

It sounds like this was a very informal deal, which makes it more complicated. The biggest problem is that Mr A. does not appear on any paperwork. Do you know what happened to the money after you gave it to Mr A? From the sound of things he handed most or all of it on to Mr B.

One way to tackle this would be to take the bill of sale at face value. This says you were sold the car by Mr B, and presumably it says how much for. Since he also has the money that means you need to talk to him. Tell him that the car is a lemon, not what you were promised, and you want your money back. If he won't take it then threaten to sue him. You can read about how to do that here.

Mr A. appears to have been an "agent" (that's the legal term) for Mr B. This means that Mr B. can't get away with saying that he isn't responsible for what Mr A. said. If you employ an agent then anything they do or say is your responsibility. So if Mr B. says he can't be blamed for Mr A's lies, well, that's wrong.

  • 1
    I don't know anything about Mr B. All I know is Mr A. He took my money. I think Mr A brought that car from Mr B , then he sold it to me and signed my name as a buyer. Apr 5, 2019 at 18:29
  • Is it possible that Mr B's signature is also a forgery? Apr 6, 2019 at 9:25

California law Cal. Pen. 470 penalizes forgery, but also requires there to be an intent to defraud. Since this is a crime, you don't prove anything, you simply report it to the police and they decide whether it is worth pursuing. So ultimately, there would have to be good evidence of an intent to defraud in signing your name. The question that you would have to answer is why you did not sign the bill of sale, since you had agreed to the sale. Mr. A will presumably argue that he signed the document in your stead (without authorization) so that the paperwork would be complete the sale complete. It is not impossible to argue that there is still an intent to defraud, but it stretches the definition of fraud.

So-called lemon laws generally do not apply to used cars, but in California there is some protection, if the car is still under written warranty. However, this law pertains to the buyer and the manufacturer+dealer, which is not the case here. There might still be recourse against the original owner, if specific but knowingly false representations were made (for example, claiming that the engine was replaced a month ago when in fact the engine is 5 years old: but verbal claims are extremely hard to prove). In such a case, you would hire an attorney and sue the original owner. There are other relevant forms of used car fraud, such as odometer roll-back, undisclosed major accidents or the fact of having been a rental vehicle. You do not say in what way the car is a "lemon", but the other side is likely to argue that they are not responsible for your dissatisfaction with the operation of the vehicle. You attorney can advise you, based on the specifics of your case, whether it would be worthwhile to sue the seller, but there is not a high probability that you can invalidate the same.

Nothing prohibits you from reporting the facts to the DMV, who might take legal action against the seller, or not.

The issue of Mr. A vs. Mr. B is not necessarily relevant. For example, A might be acting as the agent of B, and that does not invalidate the sale. The question is whether the owner of record agrees to the sale – for example if A stole the care from B, A doesn't have a legal right to sell it to you. But from your report, the owner has agreed to the sale. Possibility 1 is that A is acting as an agent for B. Possibility 2 is that A bought the car from B and then resold it to you, but they are engaged in shady paperwork (to avoid fees to the state). If scenario 2 is correct, A and possibly B would have incentive to not be turned in to the authorities. At the same time, there would be no advantage to B first selling the car to A then A selling it to you, so scenario 2 is very unlikely.

  • I am sorry, the word lemon I used is not correct here. It should be a bad car Apr 5, 2019 at 17:49
  • Thank you for the last paragraph. Yes the scenario 2 is correct. Now what do I have to do Apr 5, 2019 at 19:17
  • 2
    I think you need a lawyer.
    – user6726
    Apr 5, 2019 at 19:18

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