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Advice on sketchy title

1667 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Aaron
Got a chance to pick up a second complete convertible at a great price but the title is sketchy and not in his name. The guy selling it is in the middle of a divorce and she has the title supposedly and not available. He said that he can put me in touch with the guy he uses to get titles. He says he has had the car for 12 years and everything is legit as far as his ownership.

My mind is telling me to stay away, but the price is nice and all the hard to find stuff is there.

Any thoughts?
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I would see what you could do as far as a vin look up and check the cars history. Maybe that will help. Contact the DMV or check their website to see what information is available about such things. There are guys who know a lot more about this, and will probably have much better advice, but dont let your emotions cloud your vision.

Or you could buy it, and if it is stolen, have it stripped down to the shell by the time they come to retrieve stolen property and say you bought it like that:)
Laws vary from state to state, however, in most instances if a title has been lost or stolen, the DMV will indeed issue a new title when certain conditions have been met.

Some of these conditions may (or may not) include the following:

1. The proper title application form (MV-1)

2. A 'Bill of Sale' signed & dated by both buyer and seller

3. A notorized statement by the seller stating that indeed the title was either lost or stolen

4. The most recent registration certificate that was issued to said vehicle

5. Clear, recent picture/s of the car

6. Lastly, (and most usually) a serity bond issued for the most accurate current value of the vehicle. (which the DMV will arrive upon after the prior has been properly submitted)

A serity bond can typically be obtained from your insurance agent.

Hope this helps !!! :yes::thumbsup:
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I got a suburban from a guy that could not find the title. Yes it is stressful and you think it may not happen. If the current owner signs over the vehicle with a notary to the new owner("transfer of ownership" is what they called it in AZ), the MVD will make you a new title. The old title is null and void. The CURRENT owner has to sign it over and they have to be PRESENT with the notary. This name has to then MATCH at the MVD.

Here we go, check out this form. This is what we had to use:
If its clear and the lost title is in his name why doesn't he just go apply for a new title before selling? It would be easier for him.

As a victim of divorce I can tell you that you need to be careful. That car is an asset that can be divided between parties if he did not own it before they were married. Therefore he may not even have a right to sell it until there is property settlement. If he owned it prior to the marriage then it is a pre-marital asset and should be protected. Every state has different laws though.....

Unless you have a clear title in hand I wouldn't go near this one.

This is a simple situation on your end. Make him get a valid title; either a replacement from the DMV, or the original from his ex-wife.

There is no reason for you, personally, to muck around trying to get a replacement from the DMV, or a questionable 3rd party service.
I've run across a few cars where the seller makes similar claims. It's unfortunately a common scam. Before dropping any cash into this guy's hands I would do this:

Ask him to show you ALL of the official paperwork he has (registration, title, proof of insurance, bill of sale) and ask direct questions about how he came into possession of the car.

If he shows you title/registration, compare it against the VIN tag to make sure that everything matches up. Also, look for any signs of a VIN tag switch.

Take pictures of the documents, license plates and the VIN tag and take that info to the DMV. Tell them that you're trying to verify that this car isn't stolen and that the seller has the right to sell it. DMV desk clerks aren't always very knowledgeable, so it might be worth your time to go to more than one office to ask the same questions. Also, in California, you can ask to speak to a DMV investigator. They are cops and might take a keener interest in your questions.

Go to your local police station, talk to the officer at the desk and explain the situation. They can look up the VIN and license plate to determine whether it's stolen, and verify that the VIN and plates go to the same vehicle. They can also tell the year and what type of body (sedan, coupe, etc.) the VIN is registered to (the year and body type should also be on the registration/title). Neither the police nor the DMV will tell you who it's registered to, but they will tell you if there's a problem.

If the guy gets nervous or says you're putting him to too much trouble, I'd consider that a sign that he has something to hide.

I hope it works out for you.
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I am in Colorado (which is a pretty strict state on titles). I have decided to pass on the car.

I spoke to the guy today and he is going to get come up with a new title. I guess his wife does not have it. The scenario seems to change everyday.
Years ago there was a company in Alabama that advertised in the back of HotRod... You paid them a fee and they sent you a legit Alabama title.
Appearently all Alabama required back then was a VIN. I heard they eventually got shut down (or the state changed the law).
I am in Colorado (which is a pretty strict state on titles). I have decided to pass on the car.

I spoke to the guy today and he is going to get come up with a new title. I guess his wife does not have it. The scenario seems to change everyday.
Sounds like a good idea to bail.
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