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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    3

    Default Car Title Transfer Problems

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Florida and Ohio.

    We purchased a car on eBay in Feb 2010 from a seller in Florida. During the time, we resided in New Zealand (planned a move to the US in April) so organized transporting the car from Florida to Texas where my parents live.

    The seller mailed the title and bill of sale to my parents house. Everything looked legit at the time.

    At the end of April, my husband and I flew from New Zealand to Texas where we picked up a truck we purchased and the car which we towed to Ohio which is where we are living now. The car had no license plates and was in a much worse state then described by the previous owner and what was on the photos posted online. We took the title which was still in the name of different owner to the Ohio title department which refused to transfer it over to us because the person who is named on the title signed on the wrong place (on the back) and the person who sold to us signed on the wrong place (on the bottom). According to the title departments in both Ohio and Florida (I rang a Florida office for advice), the person who sold to us needs to get the title in his name before he can sell it to us.

    I phoned the seller and explained the problem. He was hesitant to deal with the problem, started complaining that he would have to register the car if he got the title, etc. I sent the title back to him anyway (via certified mail) as it is not doing me any good here in Ohio (made copies of it first). The good news is that a previous lien holder had signed off on the title any liens on the car.

    After a week I emailed the seller, asking if he made any progress. I got a short response that it is 'going to take some time' to figure it out. ???? I suggested going down to the title department and asking their advice. The problem is that I cannot register the car here in Ohio without the title and the temporary tags I purchased run out in 2 weeks leaving me a car I cannot drive.

    Are there any options other than small claims court? Will I have to file a claim in Florida or can I file in Ohio? If I have to file a claim in Florida, do I need to drive the car all the way down to Florida? Finally, can I claim back cost such as transportation cost of the car from Florida to Texas, tow dolly rental (Texas to Ohio), court costs, and traveling costs to Florida?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    3

    Question Suing Someone in Another State's Small Claims Court

    I had post a question about car title problems but received no response so thought I would post something here in the hopes of getting some help.

    Background: Bought used car on eBay for $3200. Paid by bank transfer. Seller (will call MR) held car until we could get it transported to Texas ($400 cost).
    Seller mailed bill of sale and title to location in Texas (we were not living in Texas at the time but in New Zealand so had the car sent to my parent's house).

    April 2010 we picked up car in Texas and towed (no other options as the plates were removed) it to Ohio where we are now residing ($250 for tow dolly rental).

    After arriving to OHIO, the local DMV office refused to sign the title over to our name because it was not in the seller's name. MR had signed on the bottom of the title and the original owner signed on the back, both in the wrong place. So I mailed the title back to MR so he could get the title properly put in his name so he can sign it over to us. I still have the bill of sale document.

    Phoned MR who is now making noise that is going to be too difficult for him to get the title in his name. So we are potentially facing the fact that we will never get the title transferred into our name.

    Problem:
    1. MR sold us the car without the title in his name which is mandatory in both Ohio and Florida.
    2. Our temporary Ohio tags on the car expire the first week of June and we cannot get them renewed. Soon we will have a car that we cannot legally drive.
    3. Florida is a fair ways away from Ohio.
    4. Ohio small claims court limit is $3000 and Florida's limit is $5000.

    Question:
    If we file a claim in the Florida small claims court, can we ask for reimbursement for all the other costs invested in the car (shipping, towing, repairs, etc) which will bring the total cost close to the $5000 amount once the trip to Florida is factored in????? Also, would we need to have the car in Florida on the court hearing which will be a MAJOR problem/expense as by then it will have expired tags???

    Important to know as we are weighing our options. May just take a loss if cannot get reimbursement and file here in Ohio rather than continue to through good money after bad (spend more money getting the car to Florida).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Suing Someone in Another State's Small Claims Court

    I've never had to have a bill of sale to register a title in florida. I'd just take the title to the dmv without the bill of sale if the names are different. Not sure if you can do that in ohio tho.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Suing Someone in Another State's Small Claims Court

    I have already tried 3 different DMV offices in Ohio which will NOT transfer the title into my name. I am hoping that the original owner can sort it out in Florida but I am asking that just in case he does NOT and I am stuck with a car without a title, what are my options?

    Again, what can you sue for in small claims court?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Suing Someone in Another State's Small Claims Court

    I assume the problem here is that the "seller" sold you the car despite not having transferred title into his own name, and now doesn't want to pay the cost of registration (plus possible late fees and penalties) for failing to register the vehicle - but until he has title he's not officially the owner and cannot convey title to you.

    Can you track down the actual title owner and see if that person will transfer title to you?

    If this person's only dealings with you were from Florida, then you would sue him in Florida. Note that if this person is the type who won't use part of the purchase price to register the car he "sold" to you, he is probably also the type who is not going to voluntarily pay a small claims judgment even if you get one. Do not incur any costs, such as transporting the vehicle, as you cannot count on recovering that money in court. Further your lawsuit isn't to undo the transaction - "He gives our money back and we give his car back" - your lawsuit would be based upon fraud or non-delivery as, due to the fact that the car is still titled to another person, it not his car to sell.

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