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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    3

    Default What to Do when Seller Does Not Transfer Title of Vehicle

    My question involves vehicle registration or title in the state of: CA

    I purchased a used car on May 21,2008. The seller had a loan out still so the deal was to take my cashier's check, pay off the loan, and send me the title as prompt as possible. I know I know, never buy a car w/out the title but I am too trusting and I sold a car the same way so didn't think anything of it. Well it's been 3 months and still no title. I have a bill of sale w/ his signature, DL, old address (he moved) and phone number but it has since changed. We keep in email contact and it's always one excuse after another why it is taking so long (his ex took $ out of his account, he fell on bad times etc etc, and he promises he is working hard to pay off the loan and get me the title). Problem is, the Reg is now up and I cannot register the car w/out the title. Or can I? What can I do in this situation? Why am I still holding on to the belief that he may come through still? I managed to call the Loan company and was at least able to find out that a title does exist in his name for the VIN. So he simply has not paid it off. What can I do here? I'm driving on pins and needles hoping not to get pulled over. Thank you for any help at all!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,894

    Default Re: What to Do when Seller Does Not Transfer Title of Vehicle

    Virtually anyone can pay the registration. Title should not be necessary for that.

    You and he DID complete a release of liability document, right?? If not, then he's an idiot and is still entirely legally responsible for the car as far as the DMV is concerned.

    Until the vehicle is repossessed, he still has a loan on the vehicle and does NOT have title to it. The lien-holder will have the title, not him ... unless he took out a loan using the vehicle as collateral, as opposed to purchasing it on time and financing it.

    If he holds the title land is legally able to transfer it, you might be able to take him to court. If he does NOT hold the title, you may have to work out a deal with him and the finance company to take over the loan so that you can get title.

    This could get sticky if something happens to the car.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: What to Do when Seller Does Not Transfer Title of Vehicle

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    Virtually anyone can pay the registration. Title should not be necessary for that.

    You and he DID complete a release of liability document, right?? If not, then he's an idiot and is still entirely legally responsible for the car as far as the DMV is concerned.

    Until the vehicle is repossessed, he still has a loan on the vehicle and does NOT have title to it. The lien-holder will have the title, not him ... unless he took out a loan using the vehicle as collateral, as opposed to purchasing it on time and financing it.

    If he holds the title land is legally able to transfer it, you might be able to take him to court. If he does NOT hold the title, you may have to work out a deal with him and the finance company to take over the loan so that you can get title.

    This could get sticky if something happens to the car.

    - Carl
    First off, thanks so much for your reply. He did fill out the release of liability but he is the only one that has the copy as that was his to take to DMV. The only thing I have is my portion of the Bill of Sale. When I called the lienholder they did confirm they still owned the title so I at least know he has not paid it off. My understanding is that you cannot fully register the vehicle if you do not have the title? I believe I need the title if I wish to register in my name. I should not have to take over the loan as I paid him the full amount already so that he can pay off the loan and have title transferred over to me. Still stuck...any more advice would be appreciated. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,894

    Default Re: What to Do when Seller Does Not Transfer Title of Vehicle

    Quote Quoting scionhelp
    View Post
    My understanding is that you cannot fully register the vehicle if you do not have the title? I believe I need the title if I wish to register in my name.
    Registration does not require the title. The other guy does not have the title yet he has the car registered to him, presumably. You get the bill of sale, the release of liability from him, and fill out the proper forms and you can have it registered to you.

    Here's the DMV link to sales:

    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/topbuysell.htm


    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: What to Do when Seller Does Not Transfer Title of Vehicle

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    Registration does not require the title. The other guy does not have the title yet he has the car registered to him, presumably. You get the bill of sale, the release of liability from him, and fill out the proper forms and you can have it registered to you.

    Here's the DMV link to sales:

    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/topbuysell.htm


    - Carl
    Thanks again for the quick response. So I get the bill of sale to DMV to register it. I doubt I can get the Release of Liability from him since he's proven to be a flake thus far. But let's say I get it registered somehow, how and when will I ever get the title and truly own the car if he completely defaults on his loan?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,894

    Default Re: What to Do when Seller Does Not Transfer Title of Vehicle

    Here is the link for buying a vehicle at the DMV webs site - it should answer your questions:

    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures...cts/ffvr32.htm

    You may have to work out a deal with the lienholder to avoid losing your car. My suggestion would be not to actually put anything in your name until you have an agreement with the lienholder, or, until he has clear title of the vehicle.

    You can also see about taking him to small claims court for selling you a car you may not be able to legally own.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

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