Car (and Vehicle) Case Checklist: Read Before Calling (or Contacting)

I am constantly contacted by people who have questions and problems with vehicles.  In order for me to properly assess each situation I am in need of certain facts, information, and documents.  I plan to post this list on my website as a checklist for potential clients but I thought I would share it with each of you as well.

Please obtain originals or copies as many of the following items as possible prior to our first conversation about your vehicle problem.  It will save us both some time and help (hopefully) streamline our conversation.  I sincerely hope you never have a need to contact me about a vehicle problem in North Carolina but if the need should arise I shall look forward to your call.


  • Bill of Sale a/k/a Buyer’s Order
  • Retail installment sales contract a/k/a finance contract
  • Damage Disclosure Statement
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement
  • Buyer’s Guide window sticker
  • “We Owe” or similar documentation of any post-purchase vehicle work/modifications to be performed by seller
  • All other documents you received from seller at time of purchase


AND in cases involving potential warranty issues or vehicle problems:

  • Advertisements or Internet listings about the specific vehicle you purchased
  • Work orders, service tickets, and other documentation of work performed on vehicle
  • Receipts for any payments for work performed on vehicle
  • Warranty agreements and vehicle service agreements
  • Vehicle owner’s manual and warranty booklet (applicable in case of a vehicle you purchased new a/k/a as first titled owner)
  • Completed Vehicle Problem Log

Homework for you!

AND in cases involving potential failure to disclose vehicle damage:

  • Certified North Carolina DMV vehicle title history (or title history from another state if appropriate)
  • Documentation of previous vehicle damage (ex:  repair invoice, repair estimate)
  • Accident/incident report(s)
  • CarFax or Autocheck report on vehicle


AND in cases involving potential wrongful repossession:

  • Receipts or proof of all vehicle loan payments made by you
  • Security agreement (typically gives seller and/or lender the right to repossess vehicle if breach of contract occurs)
  • Certificate of repossession
  • Correspondence or notices from seller or lender regarding potential deficiencies or breach of contract by you
  • Documentation of seller or lender’s usage of a GPS tracking and/or shutdown device on the vehicle



    1. My Advice on Car/Vehicle Buying | Law and Life Blog
    2. My Advice on Buying a Vehicle | Law and Life Blog

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