Simon Says: Transfer Ownership of your Car in Time to Avoid Pitfall!

This is the ninteenth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.


Keywords: Transfer of Ownership, Automobile, and Seizure by Court



Transfer ownership of your car in time to avoid pitfall!


Jack, having received his yearly bonus, decided to upgrade his car. He was tired of being laughed at for driving a jacked up car. Being a manager of a Fortune 500 corporation, he needed to drive a Mercedes at least.
After looking at a dozen cars, Jack still couldn’t find one that he liked. They were all too expensive, and his budget was just 100 thousand Yuan. His bonus was 50 thousand, and selling off his old car would give him 50 thousand. With only 100 thousand, it would only get him a 15 year old Mercedes. The cars were basically falling apart.


Alex, a rich friend, decided to give Jack a helping hand. He would sell him his old Maserati for 100 thousand Yuan. Overjoyed with the deal, Jack immediately accepted the deal and paid Alex the money.


Jack had the best time of his life showing off his luxury car. However, this time didn’t last long. One year later, cops suddenly showed up with a court order and seized the car. Jack was dumbfounded as he had done nothing wrong. It turned out that Alex had gone bankrupt, and the court had confiscated all his assets.


Can Jack get his Maserati back? 



Prof Simon Says:


Not in this case. Despite transfer of title not being the precondition of sale, Jack did not transfer the ownership of the car, so it technically still belonged to Alex. Under normal circumstances, it would not affect his ownership of the car, but Alex had gotten bankrupt and the court had the power to sell all his assets to repay his debts. The issue here is the selling price is substantially undervalue.


The court would consider Alex selling his Maserati at such a price substantially under market value as deliberately concealing it, as Jack could have transferred ownership any time within the 1-year period. Moreover, it didn’t make sense that such an expensive car would be sold at one-tenth of it’s price, so the Jack’s ten thousand is gone for good.


Simon Says - Episode 19: Transfer of Ownership your car in time to avoid pitfall!



For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi. 


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"This article was originally written in Chinese by Mr Huanyu Li and rewritten into English by Simon Choi."


Simon Choi

About the Author: Professor Simon Choi

Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at or +86 13823677853.

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05 Jul 2017

By Simon Choi

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