I sold my motorcycle in the state of Montana with a Montana Title in February of 2009. The title was signed over to the new owner there was no bill of sale as Montana does not require one and there is also no requirement or method to report a vehicle as having been sold. I let the owner ride the bike home with my plates under the condition that he return them which he never did (I know I should have hunted him down but at the time I didn't think it was a big deal).
Now fast forward to this summer I was contacted by the towing company Evergreen State Towing who said that my motorcycle was in an accident and that I needed to come claim it. I stated it was sold some time ago and that there wasn't a bill of sale ect. I pulled a copy of the check that I cashed for the motorcycle and faxed them the information with a signed statement that I was not the legal owner of the bike. They said that they had already sent a certified letter to me but that I should not be liable for the bike. A month or so later I receive a notice from a collections agency that I owe $1,500. The notice says that I can notify them within 30 days in writing to dispute the claim which I intend to do but from what I've read so far today about collection agencies I don't think dealing with them is going to help my situation any.
So my questions are how do prove that I don't own the motorcycle? Whose law applies, the motorcycle still had/has a Montana Title but was crashed in Washington and I still live in Montana? The police and tow company have the name of the rider, should I try to get that information? If I have the riders name is there anything I can do? I know that the rider is not the same as the person I sold the motorcycle to. All I really have is a cashed check.
Thank you for any information you can provide.
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I have contacted a lawyer and now have a consultation scheduled in a few weeks (soonest available). They did have a $50 consultation fee which from what I've read is not the norm. Should I be worried that they don't offer a free first consultation? Should I look for another legal service in my area?