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Old 04-27-2012, 07:44 AM
 
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,090,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fighter 1 View Post
The laws are in your favor because a person can't legally enter into a contract to sell something you don't own .
But I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the OP doesn't have a bill of sale or any evidence a sale took place other than verbal agreements. That can make it difficult, wouldn't you say?

Pratt96, do you have a bill of sale or something in writing?
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
8,880 posts, read 15,624,346 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cittic10 View Post
But I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the OP doesn't have a bill of sale or any evidence a sale took place other than verbal agreements. That can make it difficult, wouldn't you say?

Pratt96, do you have a bill of sale or something in writing?
Check out posts 15 & 16.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:37 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,490,118 times
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Titles in TX are a little fuzzy in how they are transferred, but you may not even need to deal with the owner to get this resolved. The current owner can/should have simply done a "Vehicle Transfer Notification" to the state. With that complete, your name is listed as the new owner and then you can go to the Texas DMV and apply for a new title.

They have a hotline you can call if you do not receive a new title when you bought the vehicle, that number is 888-368-4689. You may also be able to simply force the transfer by presenting the bill of sale and showing that you have possession of the car. The "notification" is basically a form they fill out or a letter they send in that says I sold XYZ car to this person. Since you have a bill of sale and possession of the car, you can probably just go to DMV, pay the $5 fee for the "notification transfer" and then pay the new title and registration fee.

Failing all of that, you may ultimately have no choice but to apply for a bonded title and you can do that with the help of a titling agency. This will put the car in your name with a title. The only catch is that you will need to issue a 3-year surety bond attached to the title which insures past and future owners against theft. The cost of that bond should be very minor considering the low value of the car.

The TX DMV page on titles has an extensive FAQ where I pulled that info from.

Title FAQs

I also got it off the FAQ page of a title service in TX.

Auto Title Services - Q & A

Basically, there are a lot of remedies that don't involve courts, cops and attorneys. I would start by calling the DMV hotline and seeing what they say and if that gets you nowhere, find a local titling agency and see what they have to say.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:54 AM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Titles in TX are a little fuzzy in how they are transferred, but you may not even need to deal with the owner to get this resolved. The current owner can/should have simply done a "Vehicle Transfer Notification" to the state. With that complete, your name is listed as the new owner and then you can go to the Texas DMV and apply for a new title.

They have a hotline you can call if you do not receive a new title when you bought the vehicle, that number is 888-368-4689. You may also be able to simply force the transfer by presenting the bill of sale and showing that you have possession of the car. The "notification" is basically a form they fill out or a letter they send in that says I sold XYZ car to this person. Since you have a bill of sale and possession of the car, you can probably just go to DMV, pay the $5 fee for the "notification transfer" and then pay the new title and registration fee.

Failing all of that, you may ultimately have no choice but to apply for a bonded title and you can do that with the help of a titling agency. This will put the car in your name with a title. The only catch is that you will need to issue a 3-year surety bond attached to the title which insures past and future owners against theft. The cost of that bond should be very minor considering the low value of the car.

The TX DMV page on titles has an extensive FAQ where I pulled that info from.

Title FAQs

I also got it off the FAQ page of a title service in TX.

Auto Title Services - Q & A

Basically, there are a lot of remedies that don't involve courts, cops and attorneys. I would start by calling the DMV hotline and seeing what they say and if that gets you nowhere, find a local titling agency and see what they have to say.
Am curious how these laws would apply re the possibility that there is a lien filed on this car. The seller can only assign title to the extent of their financial interest in the car, right? and the state cannot give clear ownership to a buyer if there's a pre-existing lien on the vehicle.

So how can a Texas buyer get clear ownership of the vehicle, even with a bonded title, other than to pay off the lien which would show up in a title search by the state for the buyer's title applicaton?

As I see it, the only way this buyer can get a clear Texas title would be if the seller had no liens on the car. If a lien existed, then the buyer would have to pay off the lien and then seek those funds from the seller ... which means heading to small claims court if the seller doesn't willingly refund that portion of the money paid to them by the buyer.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:05 AM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 38,288,152 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Am curious how these laws would apply re the possibility that there is a lien filed on this car.
Or if there are a few other guys who also "bought" that car.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:48 AM
 
450 posts, read 899,192 times
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Default Bummer deal!!

Buyer beware!! It's a sad thing that you have been ripped off. I do not buy a car in a private deal before I see the title and physically match it to the vehicle ID number on the plate on the top of the dashboard. I also never give more than a minimal deposit for the seller to hold for any reason. I did get scammed once, 20 years ago on a Mustang for only 50 bucks though. If a seller is for real, and the numbers match, we meet at my credit union, where he receives a check, the credit union receives the title, and a notary public is there to legalize the deal. If the seller can't comply with that arrangement, we don't do business. Sadly for you, even if you do bring a lawsuit and win a judgement you may not be able to collect a cent. Have you checked to see if the seller has any outstanding warrants? He may be a thief or con artist.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:14 PM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,490,118 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Am curious how these laws would apply re the possibility that there is a lien filed on this car. The seller can only assign title to the extent of their financial interest in the car, right? and the state cannot give clear ownership to a buyer if there's a pre-existing lien on the vehicle.

So how can a Texas buyer get clear ownership of the vehicle, even with a bonded title, other than to pay off the lien which would show up in a title search by the state for the buyer's title applicaton?

As I see it, the only way this buyer can get a clear Texas title would be if the seller had no liens on the car. If a lien existed, then the buyer would have to pay off the lien and then seek those funds from the seller ... which means heading to small claims court if the seller doesn't willingly refund that portion of the money paid to them by the buyer.
If there is a lien on the car, the owner should not have had a physical title in their possession, it would have been held by the lien holder. Assuming that the OP saw a real title with matching numbers, then there is a pretty strong case there wasn't an active lien, but short of a title search no one can be sure. At least by contacting the DMV, the OP can figure out what the status of the title is and what their options are.

In fact, if there is a lien, but the owner somehow had a physical title as well, that may be what the hold up is as it can take (according to TX DMV site) up to 20 days for a lien to be cleared and a new title issued. Overall the situations messed up and the OP definitely made some mistakes with the transaction, but I wouldn't go lawyer/court route until I talked to the DMV and a title agency to see if there is an easier way to get this done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manderly6 View Post
Or if there are a few other guys who also "bought" that car.
That's of course one of the concerns as well, that the entire thing was a scam. The other possibility I thought of was that after selling the car to the OP, the guy went down and used the title to take out a loan. Most of those places don't require you to actually present the car, just the title. In some cases you keep the title and they just put a lien on it, in other cases they keep your physical title in their paperwork. Kind of slick if he could have pulled that off and didn't give a crap about his credit. Sell the car for $3,700, turn around and get a loan for $3k secured against a title for a vehicle you no longer have.

That then takes up back to sunsprit's points. If the above happened and there is a lien (or there was just a lien on the car to begin with), I'm not sure what can be done in small claims court to help the OP. They'd probably win a judgement hands down, but that doesn't mean they get their money back if the guy is broke. At best they might eventually be able to get a garnishment. The car would also be lost as the lien holder would have first right to the car and unless the OP paid off that amount and then tried to recoup that through the seller (again, good luck with that), they'd have no choice but to surrender the car.

For the OP's sake I hope all this conjecture is just that, because it is going to be real messy getting that straightened out and the OP is going to end up out more money that they may never get back or end up out the cash and have no car. Expensive way to learn a lesson.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
1,936 posts, read 3,338,388 times
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How do you get a car licensed, and insured without a title?
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:19 PM
 
Location: U.S.A.
3,306 posts, read 9,006,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topher5150 View Post
How do you get a car licensed, and insured without a title?
This is what I was wondering as soon as I read that the OP had gotten into an accident.

If there is a lien on the vehicle you are pretty much screwed until it is released. Never hand over any money until all documentation is verified. I recently dealt with some guy that towed a vehicle back up from Fl. He was trying to "skip" the title and showed me a title with a sketchy looking release signature. I wanted the car and probably wouldn't have had any issues but I wasn't going to take a gamble with this scumbag and walked away from the deal.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:01 PM
 
1,649 posts, read 3,045,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topher5150 View Post
How do you get a car licensed, and insured without a title?
All you need is the VIN, especially if you are good with your insurance agent.
I just brought over two brand new cars from California to Texas from a Cali dealership. I needed my insurance to show the two cars and their vins before i could apply for the 30 day temp tags here in texas. No problem, just emailed the vins to my insurance agent. Then took the temp insurance card to the tax office and got my tags. No title, MSO or even purchase paperwork.
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