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Old 02-15-2011, 06:54 PM
 
2,566 posts, read 3,601,983 times
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Default Car Title Transfer - Question about Error

I have not yet spoken to the Raleigh NC DMV but I'm hoping one of the smart folks here may know.

I sold my car via private party sale about a month ago. When I took my title to get it notarized I started to fill out the form incorrectly, putting my own name (first name) on the line intended for the buyer's name. We caught the mistake and the notary told me to cross out my printed first name, then initial it, and then she notarized the title. There is plenty of room left on that line for the buyer to write their name. All else is fine including my signature in the proper 'seller's field' and the document is properly notarized.

My car's buyer is now attempting to register (and transfer the title) the car in Ohio. He says that Ohio is refusing to accept this title document because it has that error on that one line. He's telling me I need to obtain a replacement title and get it notarized...basically starting from scratch.

Seriously? No error can ever be made on a form, even if it's initialed and notarized? I really don't see why this is my problem and why I have to go to the time, expense and hassle of doing this.

Does anyone here have any advice on how to best handle this? The guy who purchased the car has the physical title in his possession. The title is in my name on the face of it, along with an old address of mine. The back of the title form is where a seller signs it over to a buyer. That's the side that is notarized, etc.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
590 posts, read 1,952,427 times
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I would ask your buyer to try again with a different person at the title office, or maybe a different title office. If that doesn't work, then I would do as he asks and get him a replacement title without any mistakes. It's your problem because it was your mistake, no?
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:16 PM
vq1
 
Location: Western NC
134 posts, read 374,812 times
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Default Same thing

Almost the same thing happened to me. Rejected at the local tag office, so drove to DMV on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh and got a "rejection letter" with the two requirements necessary to cure it:

1) The notary had to write an affidavit stating that you had appeared in front of her; the Seller's name was accidentally written in the Buyer's space; when it was noticed, the Buyer's name was crossed out and initialized; and then the Seller's name was written in the space. The notary will have to sign this note and have it notarized by another notary!

2) The notary will also have to state that both the Seller and the Buyer appeared in front of her to sign respectively as Buyer and Seller.

With these affidavits, my local tag office (after checking everything else very carefully) accepted the paperwork and Raleigh issued the new title last week.

Another possibility would be to get a re-issued title for $15, but both parties would have to be in front of the same notary to do the transfer. Since your Buyer is out of state, not easy to do.

So, I would have the Buyer ask the local tag office if they would accept the independently notarized affidavits from the notary.

Fortunately, you didn't "wite-out" or completely black-out the mistake. That would have made the title void and you would have had to get a title re-issued.

Seems so complicated.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:27 PM
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
8,764 posts, read 9,500,587 times
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I can tell you in that in NY (where I recently moved from) that no title is EVER accepted with a cross out or error. Period end of story,

If you tell NC DMV that you need a dupe title to settle a claim they will probably get it to you ASAP.

When I worked in claims in NY this is why we always made people bring their titles in to sign them - people are not capable of reading even a simple document clearly and are always tempted to sign in the wrong place.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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I know the fee to get a replacement title is $15 to the DMV and one has to fill out a form and get it notarized first. Then the DMV will mail out a duplicate title in about 2 weeks. I will call them to confirm.

Serious question: what if a seller, after selling a car and transferring title to a new buyer, had died and there were no heirs or family or anyone else to 're-do' the paperwork for the buyer? And if there was this same error on the title paperwork...would the car never be able to be registered anywhere?

Quote:
Another possibility would be to get a re-issued title for $15, but both parties would have to be in front of the same notary to do the transfer. Since your Buyer is out of state, not easy to do.
Actually, both parties do NOT need to be in front of the same notary to do a title transfer in NC. When I had the original title notarized, as the seller, only I was there and there was no problem getting the notary to do her thing.

Last edited by lottamoxie; 02-15-2011 at 07:47 PM..
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:26 AM
 
Location: Mid-Town
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I did a similair error on a car I bought. Wrote in the county where the seller lived and not the notary..Notary crossed it out and signed it. When I arrived at NC DMV there was a huge discussion about accepting the title and if I needed to get the seller to apply for a new title. Finally, after 15-20 minutes they decided the title was "ok" this time, but I was told now I know and it would not be accepted again...ouch...
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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Update: got an answer from the NC DMV!

It does NOT require a new/replacement title.

What she instructed:

1. Get back the title from the purchaser
2. Cross out all of 'section A' on the back -- that's the section in which the error occurs in the field.
3. Fill out Section 'B' (it's the 'dealer' field) just as one would have done for Section 'A'. She said not to worry about the fact that section B is for a 'dealer.'
4. Have the title notarized again, with proper signatures.
5. Write a note explaining the error that was made, why/how it was made, and have that note notarized as well, at the time the title is being re-notarized.
6. Make and keep copies of everything.
7. Give updated notarized title and notarized note to the purchaser of the car.
8. Purchaser should be able to get the car title accepted in NC or any other state in which they choose to title the car. She said another state will look to see what is acceptable in NC and go by their rules. That's what NC does and that's what other states do too.
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Wilson NC
74 posts, read 247,449 times
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Default re: title error

Quote:
Originally Posted by vq1 View Post

Another possibility would be to get a re-issued title for $15, but both parties would have to be in front of the same notary to do the transfer. Since your Buyer is out of state, not easy to do.
Not quite, I've sold several vehicles over the years, I signed my part of the title and had my signature notarized, then mailed the title to the new owner, they filled out their section and had *it* notarized. No biggie.
Some people tend to get notaries who seem to think they are god or something. It's none of the notaries business what they are notarizing, their job is to verify that the person listed on the form is you and that it is your signature. You could take a piece of toilet paper into a notary, sign your name on it and have them notarize it. It's none of their business what you do with it afterwards, they are just verifying that the signature on the paperwork is indeed yours. Yes, notaries are allowed to charge for notarizing something, I think the rate in NC right now is up to 5 dollars per signature.
Interesting to note: A Notary cannot notarize anything that their name appears on.

Any error on a title in NC makes it voided, you will have to pay for another, then follow the steps above.
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Winston-Salem
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Default Notarial Seals and Mistakes on Titles

Quote:
Originally Posted by V65Ozzie View Post
You could take a piece of toilet paper into a notary, sign your name on it and have them notarize it. It's none of their business what you do with it afterwards, they are just verifying that the signature on the paperwork is indeed yours.

Any error on a title in NC makes it voided, you will have to pay for another, then follow the steps above.
I'm my opinion only and not as an attorney or for the purpose of expounding legal advice or to appear as god- I'd make a small correction - 8 years ago, you may could sign a piece of toilet paper and get away with it. Now, Notaries are required to determine if the signer is competent, signed a document voluntarily and if the document is "known to be false." That last bit allows and prods Notaries to refuse to notarize (and it's a voluntary job anyway) a document in which blanks are left on the document. They may review the document, at least in content, not accuracy, to determine that the principal (Seller) signing can swear to their certification of the validity of the document. If the Buyer's name is blank, then you can't affirm that you're transferring title. If the toilet paper is blank, same problem. So the Secretary of State has not recently made notaries more godly, just more liable.

In other words, a car title is a Certification and thus a affidavit in which not only must the Seller sign that they are transferring the title to a new owner (Buyer), but the Notary may refuse to notarize if the Buyer's name is not indicated or if the Notary believes the Seller is not the owner, is signing in duress, or is not competent to sign or knows what they are signing. This is in part to help stop "stone-walling" and "straw-man" transactions of auto and real estate matters or coercion of transfers.

A Buyer doesn't have to be physically around or even be aware of the transfer of title (that would be odd and not likely as ultimately a Buyer must sign the bottom as new owner and get notarized as well), only that the Seller must put a Buyer's name in the Buyer's spot at the top of the title before a dutiful notary seals the Sellers signature. Notary can insist the odometer be referenced as well, not prove accuracy, just referenced, if they wish. Again, it's a voluntary position and a Seller can find another notary if preferred.

The Secretary of State now puts more responsibility on the Notary to take the hit for notarizing any questionable certifications. Thus raising our fee from $3 to $5 to help pay that liability Insurance. Of course you can find that favorite Notary who will stamp anything, from a car title to toilet paper. That's to the Notary's liability. It doesn't make the Notary Public valid, just a party to fraud.

Generally, at the bottom of the top section (A) of the Auto Title it has the additional "Buyers name" and "Buyer's Signature". But this is UNDER the notarial seal and the Notary is NOT notarizing a Buyer's signature at that time. It's just a better means of a Buyer acknowledging the Odometer reading and the Sellers statements (as some states specifically reference on their title) and that Buyer is in agreement to accept the title. It's a poor-man's " Bill of Sale".

Speaking of which, a car title or property deed is not a contract or Bill of Sale. Neither party has agreed to any compensation or provisions of the transfer, so it's best for a Buyer to ask to include a Bill of Sale to show the transaction completed.

To this, in response to the original question and in agreement with V65Ozzie, you make a mistake on the title, initials mean nothing to the DMV. It's not like loan documents or other where the docs (and mistakes) are initialed in front of the Lender or insured Attorney or on a contract between two parties. Initials on titles aren't notarized (or even recognized) so the mistake is a mistake. You may need to start over with a re-issuance of title first, but could depend on the discretion of the DMV officer. Especially if sending out of state, they have no idea of the transaction and why a name was marked through. The notarial seal doesn't make the mistake waivable.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:16 AM
 
2,566 posts, read 3,601,983 times
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Fortunately, now 9 months later, there hasn't been any issue and according to the state of NC I no longer own that car.
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