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A standard tranny can get stuck in gear while in reverse position, like somebody slammed it into second and the linkage hit reverse instead. Could be minor, then again, It could be major. I hope it is a standard you are talking about, If it is automatic, then no, there is no switch or fuse for this, it has shift solenoids in the valve body that do the shifting, mostly electric now days, a ground wire off could cause this but I doubt it. I would get a hold of the seller and give him back his car. Hope this helps, Tranny work is $1200 minimum.
You have bad sycronizers in the gearbox. They are made of softer metal so they will wear out. They are used to smoothly shifte from one gear to another. How does the clutch feel? Any play in the shifter? Could be the clutch going bad, or play in the shifter also.
Umm crazy people in here! First things I would check engine mounts and the alignment and condition of the shift linkage The last two are more likley Find a Good vw garage in your town one with a good rep. They would know how to check it out correctly
This sounds like it could be a few things. Check the transmission/engine mounts. The linkage could also be a problem by being worn or by the mounts being bad. Could be a bad pressure plate/clutch. These transmissions usually give you some warning first by making noise. Expecially in reverse if they are on there way out. Does it go into any gear now?