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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Seller Will Not Deliver Title; Now Motorcycle Has Been Stolen an Insurance Won't Pay

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Kansas and Missouri.
    My son purchased a motorcycle in the State of Kansas from an individual on Craigslist. He paid cash and has a Bill of Sale signed by the Seller. The Seller showed him the title and said he had just bought the bike and had to get title transferred from the person our Seller bought it from and that he would mail the title. This was in March, 2012. Since then, my son has insured the bike (with liablity and comprehensive) and has been contacting our Seller asking where the title is. The Seller had many excuses, including he could not transfer the title because he had to show proof of insurance in Kansas and didn't want to put insurance on it just to transfer the title. We are residents of Missouri and have the bike insured in Missouri. Meanwhile, my son has put approximately $700 in new plastics and lights for the bike. Even worse, now the motorcycle was stolen from my son's driveway. We have made a police report and made a claim on the insurance policy; however, the insurance company is telling him that they will not pay the claim because we do not have the title. We do have a Bill of Sale and the Seller says he mailed the title to us, but of course we have not received it. What do you suggest we do to get paid on the insurance claim???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Seller Will Not Deliver Title; Now Motorcycle Has Been Stolen an Insurance Won't

    If your son was never given title to the motorcycle, he can sue the seller in the state where the sale occurred (presumably Kansas) for rescission or, if we're at small claims level, a refund of the purchase price. Your son can be held responsible for both the mileage he put on the motorcycle and for the damage he has caused to the motorcycle. So if the motorcycle cost $1,000, will cost $700 to repair, and has an additional 1,000 miles on the odometer, the most he would recovery is $300 further reduced by depreciation due to the additional mileage. If he's suing only for money damages, which is normally all you can do in small claims court, that amount would likely be further reduced by the salvage value of the wreck, unless he works something out where the seller agrees to accept return of the wreck. He can restore the motorcycle to its original condition, removing his parts and restoring the parts he originally purchased, before returning it. As you can see, the dollar amounts (which we do not know) can significantly affect whether it's still worth pursuing the seller.

    It is not wise to put money into a vehicle you don't own. It's unlawful to drive a vehicle that is not properly registered. You should never, ever "buy" a vehicle without getting title.

    I expect the insurance company is stating that your son had no insurable interest in the motorcycle, not just that it wasn't titled over to him. I am not sure that they will change that position even if he acquires title. He may want to discuss the reasons for denial with the adjuster.

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