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Old 11-24-2014, 09:49 PM
Location: Michigan
1,784 posts, read 1,144,124 times
Reputation: 3933


This isn't strange at all, at least NOT in Michigan. People "float" car titles like this all the time, and it's been a fairly standard practice as long as I can remember. I suppose it could be dangerous if a guy wanted to cheat you, but what is more likely is they figured they could make a couple 100 $$$ by buying it first, and floating it to the next guy for more money. It avoids paying sales tax, and the DMV sure doesn't like it for that reason, but as long as the original owner doesn't DATE his signature, and the floater guy doesn't wait too long, it's done very often up here...
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Old 11-24-2014, 10:15 PM
Location: Montgomery County, PA
13,636 posts, read 8,659,415 times
Reputation: 11233
But why would you want to buy a car like that? The OP hasn’t said what his motivation was.
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:05 PM
3,279 posts, read 3,756,513 times
Reputation: 6149
I got a hold of the guy and he said he would sign whatever was necessary. He seemed to question the need to, saying he'd had the car that way for awhile with no problems, but he'd sign whatever was necessary. I guess that resolves the situation? (I'll go to the tax office and get extra clarity on what he needs to sign and make sure he signs what he needs to, and them have them look at it again to make sure.)

I would NOT want to do "shady" business, I guess I just wasn't being thorough. It's amazing how many people post cars for sale and say, as if it's no big deal, that there's no title or there's a "salvage" title or whatever. You hear enough of that, when a car comes along and they have the title, it sounds legitimate compared to the other situations. In that moment, I forgot to be thorough enough so as to check to see that his name itself was on the title.
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Old 11-25-2014, 01:58 AM
Location: Here and there....
224 posts, read 289,900 times
Reputation: 168
I've had cars that didn't get registered or insured for years. No biggie... sometimes they weren't used on the road, sometimes they didn't get used at all. In Alaska there was no fee or penalty, in Hawaii theres a $50 fee for failing to transfer the title within 30 or 60 days, and the registration fees are cumulative. Buying a $500 car from someones back yard that hasn't been drivin in 10 years could carry a $2000 registration bill.
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:06 AM
35,121 posts, read 37,802,296 times
Reputation: 61840
Originally Posted by Bummer View Post

The seller "owned" the vehicle for two years and never processed the title?

What else did he "forget" to do? Did he register the vehicle during those two years? . . . I bet not.

Did he have insurance on the vehicle for those two years? . . . I bet not.

Personally, ShyGuy . . . I would contact the POLICE asap.

I owned a vehicle for 4 years and never changed the title, it was not running and it took that long to get all of the parts gathered up to repair the vehicle.
I didn't have insurance or license on the vehicle because I didn't need to, it was not running and did not require either.
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Old 11-26-2014, 01:29 PM
3,279 posts, read 3,756,513 times
Reputation: 6149
Okay, here's the latest and a further explanation, as I have been quite busy since that day and the details may have been a bit scrambled.

Bear with me in terms of how I explain this. I'm going to use "pretend" names to tell how things are, and obviously not use the real names.

My name is shyguylh. I bought the car from a guy named Tim. On the title, the front has a name of Linda, but she didn't sign underneath. On the back, a guy named Zeke is shown as the last buyer, signed 09-2012 roughly. Tim hasn't signed anywhere, except where he wrote up a bill of sale that only he has.

With me so far? (And yes, you're allowed to think that this is about the stupidest thing in the world you've ever heard of a person doing, in terms of that I actually bought this car.)

The person at the tax office is telling me I need to get a hold of Tim (the seller) and that, if I have this right, Linda needs to sign off on an affidavit that she sold it to Tim and did so with an "open date" so that I don't incur 2 years of $25 a month penalties for the car sitting. Otherwise, it's a bonded title for me. As of yesterday and today, Tim the seller is not returning my calls, when he had on Monday.

With past car papers where I had not yet obtain contact with the person I needed to sign something, I recall someone telling me I could just sign the thing myself, but that sure sounds like a case of fraud and forgery to me, and as much as all of this upsets me, it's not worth risking jail over. Do I assume correctly? Or, is this tax office person wrong and could I possibly get through okay somehow/someway with someone else? Am I making this more complicated than it needs to be? (For the record, yes, I did call the police, got someone who took down my information and said someone would call me back, but they haven't.) If I go the bonded title route, what are the odds that I get nowhere since I have no bill of sale?
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Old 11-26-2014, 01:39 PM
Location: East TX
2,085 posts, read 1,819,168 times
Reputation: 3171
Ok shyguylh - laws surrounding this are varied by state, so you need to get info and advice based on Texas. If this is an honest mistake and you bought the car legitimately from an individual that didn't sign the title, you need to do what the police and the registration office tell you. It may get a little more expensive than you like, but there are no easy answers coming from this forum that are going to help you unless they work for the county office where you live.

If this was an attempt at something curvy on your part, you are likely screwed.

Having just moved to TX and been involved in registering two vehicles here for the first time, I can tell you it is not the easiest process even when all is legitimate and all originals of all paperwork are in hand and signed.

Good luck.
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Old 11-26-2014, 03:59 PM
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,571 posts, read 17,949,017 times
Reputation: 5919
I have bought cars in the past (once had a salesman license in Calif) so have a brief knowledge of what has to happen.

#1 Linda (original owner and named on title) has to sign off a release (liability) (seller)
#2 Zeke (never registered but has signed ? where on the back) as a release. More then one place to sign like a Dlr etc.
#3 Tim (with a bill of sale to you also failed to register the car) He would also have to sign off on the back. (Dlr reference)
#4 OP as purchaser will likely have to complete all of the above. They do in Calif. I know for a fact from experience.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:00 AM
2,025 posts, read 2,752,749 times
Reputation: 2503
The chances of you completing that chain of signatures is likely slim to none. Legally, as of right now, it appears to be "Linda"s car, not Zekes, not Tim, certainly not yours. So you might be wanting to do that bonded title. At least since Linda, the actual legally registered owner, no longer has a title in her possesion, she isn't likely to come back and claim the car down the road within the bonding period.

And let this be a lesson to you all. Don't buy a car with an open title. Yeah we've done it in the past but if it goes wrong you can be in for a big problem. Paying back registraion is the least of the problems....you could be done for fraud.
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