Recourse other than estafa

Dear Atty. Joji,

I recently bought a vehicle from a seller with a certificate of public convenience presented. Later on, I found out that the franchise doesn’t exist. My wife told me I can file a estafa case against the seller but I don’t want go through that hassle and tedious proceeding. What should I do?



Dear Chuckie,

Once someone used a fictitious name, or falsely pretended to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business, or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceit, it is considered estafa. Estafa is a crime that may be committed by means of false pretenses or fraudulent acts.

There may be sufficient ground to hold the seller of the vehicle for estafa because it was fraudulently declared that the vehicle has a certificate of public convenience knowing that such is not existing and that you were induced to buy the said vehicle because of the declaration causing damage on your part (Article 315 par. [2][3], Revised Penal Code). The penalty for estafa depends upon the amount defrauded upon the victim, but the same shall not exceed imprisonment of 20 years, which shall be imposed only upon conviction in court.

However, since you do not wish to pursue a criminal case against the seller, you may just send a demand letter to him for a refund of the price paid. You may also be assisted by a lawyer in a conference/mediation between you and the seller for possible settlement of dispute. If it doesn’t exceed P100,000, you may also claim your refund through the filing of a small claim case under A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC (Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases).

Hope this helps.

Atty. Joji Alonso

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