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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019

    Default Vehicle Sold (by Me) - Buyer Never Transferred Title

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

    In 2013 I sold a vehicle. I filled out the proper information on the title and had it notarized. The buyer paid me and I handed him the title. Beyond this no further paperwork was completed, no bill of sale, etc. Ohio doesn't require one.

    The other day I was cleaning out my folder of titles/deeds/registrations and came across the old registration to the vehicle (which listed the VIN). Out of curiosity of the old vehicle still being on the road (it was a 1997 with nearly 200K miles on it when I sold it) I did an online title search using the VIN on Ohio's official BMV title search page. I was at first confused when the mileage it listed was identical to the mileage listed on my registration. I then noticed that the most recent title record was dated with the same date that my old registration was obtained on. When I bought the vehicle (used - private seller) I transferred the title and registered it all on the same day.

    I went to the local Clerk of Courts Title Department and explained the situation. They took my drivers license and checked to see what vehicles were currently titled to me. The car in question was still titled to me. I asked them how I should proceed. After consulting their superior they suggested I figure out who I sold the vehicle to, track them down, and make them transfer the title into their name. They had no suggestions on how I should do that.

    I only met the guy a couple of times and it was based entirely around the purchase of the vehicle. He lived a couple of counties away. I can only remember his first name and I don't think I ever knew his address.

    Does anyone have any suggestion on how I can get the title out of my name or at the very least remove me from liability of it? I doubt it still exists let alone being driven, but one can never be certain.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Default Re: Vehicle Sold (by Me) - Buyer Never Transferred Title

    Ohio doesn't seem to have either a process or requirement for sellers to report car sales to the state. There is a not-insignificant chance that a car that had 200K miles on it 6 years ago has gone to that great garage in the sky and is no longer a threat.

    What I would do if I were you is keep anything you have that can be used as evidence that you sold the car and to whom and not worry about it too much. Even if you find the buyer there is nothing you can do to "make" him title the car in his name as the Title Dept. suggested.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Vehicle Sold (by Me) - Buyer Never Transferred Title

    Quote Quoting varian93
    View Post

    Does anyone have any suggestion on how I can get the title out of my name or at the very least remove me from liability of it?
    As a practical matter, you can't.

    This kind of situation is very common and the only way to protect yourself is do it at time of sale. For the future, get into the habit of:

    1 - Bill of sale signed by both parties. Keep a copy.

    2 - Make sure buyer's name and address is in the buyer's space. Keep a copy of both sides of the executed title.

    If you don't have a scanner or copying machine handy you likely have a camera phone. In a pinch you can photograph documents.

    Keep the copies in your permanent files. Get them on to your computer at some point where they can stay forever and not take up too much space.

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