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Old 09-01-2010, 09:11 PM
31 posts, read 114,421 times
Reputation: 16


Sooo, I find a truck on craigslist that I'd like to buy. The seller lives 30 miles away, but works closer to me. We meet, I test out the truck, like it, and agree to buy it if the seller delivers it to me, as it has an exhaust leak I'll have to fix to get it through inspection. Seller shows up with the truck, but then says he never titled the truck in his name. He has a title signed over by the seller and filled out by him. Both he and the seller live in a neighboring state. We go to my nearest DMV and they say he needs to straighten this out in his state(d'uh!) Seller contacts me later and says he and the original seller went to his DMV and applied for a duplicate title, and original seller will fill out his section and the "seller" I contacted will bring me the title. I'll fill out my section, take it to my DMV and get a title.

This seems fishy to me. Am I headed for trouble?
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:32 PM
Location: Poway, CA
2,698 posts, read 9,521,804 times
Reputation: 2205
if he has a title, there should be no reason for him to not title it in his name and then you buy it off him. it will add cost and time, but if the seller you're dealing with wants to sell it and you want it done legitimately, you should be able to work something out.

that being said, i purchased a bike under somewhat similar circumstances. the guy bought the bike off the original owner in cash, then broke his arm 2 days later. he was out of work and needed the cash fast to cover med bills, so i got a helluva deal. i gave him a bill of sale and a deposit on the bike and came back for it days later with a loan check. i was skeptical when the title didn't have his name (something he neglected to tell me BEFORE i went about getting the loan), but he had copious amounts of receipts with the original owner's name (same on the title), a bill of sale, and his wife (a cop) gave me her word the story was legit (the cast on the arm didn't hurt, either). i basically told the DMV i had purchased it off the original owner because, as far as the paperwork showed, that's what happened. it's been many years and no one has come looking for stolen property, so i would say i'm OK.

come to think of it, another time i bought a utility trailer (the $500 kind you buy at the big box stores) off a very good friend of mine who had received it as a wedding gift from his father-in-law. he had the title, but it was in the father-in-law's name. for extra fun, it had expired out-of-state tags since he had towed it here and then never touched it again for years. all i did was take the title to the DMV saying i was buying the trailer off the father-in-law. again, the paperwork backed it up and i had no reason not to trust my friend since i knew the whole family. only catch was they really didn't want the father-in-law to know they were selling it because it wasn't that old and they were selling it for next to nothing, otherwise i would have insisted they go about getting the title in their name 1st.

i guess my point is that it all depends on how much you trust the seller. you can make him go the long way and do it legitimately or you can play his game. either way i would get in touch with the first owner and make sure everything checks out. carfax would probably not be a bad idea here, either. also, if he never titled it, he probably never registered it either which means the tags are likely expired. there'll likely be fees for expired tags as well, so make sure you get all that sorted out before you go through all this.


Last edited by whiteboyslo; 09-01-2010 at 09:55 PM..
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:37 PM
31 posts, read 114,421 times
Reputation: 16
Hmm, your story is similar to mine. The seller I talked to said he did some work for someone and took the truck in lieu of payment. He drove it a couple of months(don't ask me who's tags he used) and didn't like it(it's a diesel.) I have to say the guy I was dealing with seemed legit, and I consider myself a fair judge of character.
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:46 PM
Location: San Diego
2,858 posts, read 6,201,488 times
Reputation: 1962
Anything with title issues I stay far away from especially anything out of state. Having issues with your title can ruin buying a new car. My buddy can't register his vehicle because of title issues so it just sits in his backyard, doing nothing. He got it cause it was a steal but having a car doing alot of nothing sucks.
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:56 PM
792 posts, read 1,056,472 times
Reputation: 1087
It may be legit, however it sounds like he is trying to "skip" the title. That is usually done to avoid paying sales tax, as when a title is applied for, his State of residence would require any sales tax paid. It depends on his State of residence, because many States no longer charge sales tax on a private sale...

There is also a time factor....if he had just purchased the vehicle, and decided to sell it, perhaps he did not want to get tied up waiting for a new title, as he would have had to surrender the old title when applying for a new one....and some States can take 6-8 weeks to provide a new title.

As long as he has a valid title from the previous owner, signed over to him....(check the VIN #) closely, I sense you are fine....good luck
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:24 PM
268 posts, read 380,637 times
Reputation: 165
I've sold a ton of cars that I never bothered to title to myself. Of course, I don't accept titles that are filled out with anything other than a signature. I tell them I'll take care of it and if they don't like it I'll buy somewhere else, the end. I then leave everything blank until I'm ready to title it. If I sell it first, the next guy has no problems because he just throws his signature on and is good to go.

I've never had anyone try to give me a title that was filled out and NOT in their name, but I don't think I'd take it until they got a fresh one. Just too many possibilities with shady people.
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