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What can someone do with a title search report


jackofalltrades70
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I have a car for sale. It is a Project car with a clear title, in my name. I have a "interested" buyer that wants to see a copy of a clear title history report and then he will buy it. Car is listed on Craigslist and hasn't been seen in person. Only pictures on craigslist.

My question is, can someone try to apply for a lost title/salvage title in their state with the information of a report of this nature and try to take my car? This just seems really weird to me.

Maybe I am just reading too far into this also.

Comments......

Thanks

Matt

Edited by jackofalltrades70 (see edit history)
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I have never had anyone ask for a title history on an old car. If buying anything modern it is a no brainer but for classic cars most people know that any accident damage or salvage history probably won't show up anyway. I would be prepared to run the report but now until he is standing in front of you with the cash. If it is that important to him then send him the VIN and let him run it himself. They are only like $10-25. If you have a clear title then no one can take it from you. 

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In Oklahoma you cannot get a title history report as such records are maintained by the Oklahoma Tax Commission and are not open public records. They will only give limited current information to the registered owner. I have a 54 Healey that was in storage for 30 years. I last tagged it in 1982. The original title was lost during one of the many moves I made during that time. I sent in a request for a duplicate title and furnished the serial number and last tag number. I was informed that records that old have been destroyed and I will have to apply for a new bonded title. Interestingly, I requested a duplicate title for a motorcycle at the same time and they have a record of it and sent me an application form to take to a local tag agent and get a new title.

 

Anyway, I find that a request for a title history for a car is unusual and most likely unobtainable.

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I get requests all the time for oddball information, but I've never heard of a "title search report." I usually have to divine what the guy is really asking for in those cases. They don't know what they are asking, they only know that they should ask for something. I suspect that all he's asking for is whether it has a clean title, unless a "title history" is something commonly available in your state--it isn't in Ohio. I often wonder when guys ask for this kind of thing what, exactly, they're expecting to discover. Holy cow, this car was owned by Frank Sinatra!

 

I'm also amused by guys who get fussy when I tell them there's no CarFax available for a car built before 1988 or so. For reasons I can't explain, they find it difficult to wrap their heads around the fact that nobody was putting service records into a computer database in 1948.

 

I don't see any harm in giving him a scan of the title to show that it's got no liens on it and that it's in your name. Sure, if he's got a lot of free time he could make some mischief for you by somehow making up a fake title and then calling the sheriff to try to claim the car, but I'm guessing the risk:reward ratio is all out of whack on that. More than likely he's skittish about buying on Craig's List and is just trying to do his homework, even if he doesn't know what the homework should be.

 

Or blow him off and move on to the next buyer. Some guys are more trouble than their money is worth.

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 I have found that many people on Craigslist are only fishing for your email address to sell to advertisers or something else, especially if they state that they will buy it sight unseen.

 

 I will only respond through craigslist mail. I state it in the ad.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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Have both bought and sold cars with Craigslist. I also use their anonymiser for e-Mail.

 

Have found that if a response never mentions what the item is or just copies the title, it is probably a troll.

 

ps this kind of thing is why Florida also requires a Bill of Sale for a title transfer. For a potential buyer it is also important that the title be a clear regular title that is free of liens and is NOT a "salvage" or "rebuilt". "Certificate of Destruction" COD is even worse, it cannot be registered. 

 

pps I would not even consider a car without being able to check the VIN first.

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Show him a copy of the title. That should be more than enough.  Many states do not support a title search in any event.  Privacy laws have put the ca-bosh on most of that.

 

While we are on the subject,  can somebody explain to me the reason behind blocking out the license plate number in for sale pictures?

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While I agree that a valid state-issued title is all the proof the buyer needs, I also think we sometimes are a little too cautious. I find it hilarious, for example, when people cover their license plate in photos in car ads. Do you cover it when you drive? The whole world can see it when the car is on the street. Every 1968-newer car has the VIN visible through the windshield whenever the car is parked. "Abundance of caution" is really just another way to say "lack of common sense".

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OTOH the license plate can have a lot of information about the car such as country or residence and whether the car is a rental.

Also anyone with a LEO connection can get the registered owner and address from the plate.

BTW in Florida the plate is registered TO a car but belongs to the OWNER. When registering a car in Florida and not having a plate, there is a $225.00 "initial registration fee".

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Many states do not support a title search in any event.  Privacy laws have put the ca-bosh on most of that.

 

While we are on the subject, can someone explain to me why real estate records are easily found on line while title searches are blocked because of 'privacy' ?

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Like others, I have never heard of getting a title history for a car in PA.  For a house, yes it is a requirement to have a title search done.

 

I never deal with Craigslist.  

 

Never looked at it to buy or sell anything, as I have read to many stories about scams.

 

I have also read that if you are using it to sell something directly to a person (not shipping it) to meet them at a police station, since people have been setup and even murdered by perspective buyers.

 

I don't need any of that or what they are selling.

 

I agree with Joe's comment about people covering license plate numbers.

Edited by Vila (see edit history)
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I occasionally block the license plates when sellers ask me to. I think it's odd, but if they're paranoid (a lot of guys don't want everyone knowing who they are or what they have) I'm happy to oblige. I point out this very fact to them (the plate is visible while they drive) but in almost every case, they're older folks who are terribly frightened of mischief on the vast, dangerous, unregulated intarwebs. They're just sure there's a scammer out there who will get that information, find them, kill them, and steal their car. So I block out the plate if they ask. If they don't, I don't.

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The plate thing gives me a chuckle every single time.   Also, when people are terrified to give out their account info to do a wire transfer.  They seem to forget that it is also printed on the checks they throw all over the place.  Irrational fear blinds people to the real risks in life.

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Here in Ontario Canada, every time a car changes hands the seller must pay the DMV $20 for a complete history of the car, back to when it was first registered. Supposed to go to the buyer, who throws it in the garbage.

 

When they first introduced this "service" it was voluntary but no one bought it so they made it mandatory.

 

In other words not only is your car's history an open book, it is required by law.

 

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/used.shtml

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 Also, when people are terrified to give out their account info to do a wire transfer.  They seem to forget that it is also printed on the checks they throw all over the place.

 

In addition to their address, and often their phone number.  Yet checks are "safe" and Paypal is "dangerous".  :blink:

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In Wisconsin all you know is whose name is on the title, period.

In the case of buying an in-state car where the seller never registered the car, I have twice, and the name on the title is the third party I left out the middle man, sent in the titles with the required fees, including sales tax, and got the titles without a hitch.

Sort of a "Don't ask don't tell" deal........actually that's exactly the way I handled them.......  :rolleyes:

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In Wisconsin all you know is whose name is on the title, period.

In the case of buying an in-state car where the seller never registered the car, I have twice, and the name on the title is the third party I left out the middle man, sent in the titles with the required fees, including sales tax, and got the titles without a hitch.

Sort of a "Don't ask don't tell" deal........actually that's exactly the way I handled them.......  :rolleyes:

 

That's how it is in most states. What you're describing there is called a "title skip" and technically it's illegal (remember how they finally prosecuted Al Capone). Now, I'm not going to get into a discussion about whether it's right to be collecting sales tax every single time a used car changes hands, but I will say that it's one of the things that the powers that be are monitoring as closely as possible. Whether they're able to actually catch anyone (where's the evidence?) is up for debate, but they know it's happening frequently in the old car world and they want it to stop or at least make sure they're getting their cut of the pie. Be very careful if you've got a title from someone who never technically took ownership of it. I know paying taxes sucks, but it is what it is and the tax man, he don't give up so easy.

 

And if such a title gets kicked by your DMV, then what? You're two owners removed with no legal recourse and in many cases, the guy whose signature is on the title is unavailable, unwilling to help, or, God forbid, dead. Good luck registering your car with that...

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No sales tax in Oregon.

One might send a registered letter to the name and address on  registration and it get returned as not at this address or similar then you have done the search.

I have a friend that deals in antique motorcycles and he is always finding some piece with no paper work. He uses the registered letter trick often. Sometimes he has to do it more than once as the letter gets claimed but the owner is gone or dead. So he befriends the current resident and slips them a favor to refuse the next letter.

 

Talk about don't ask don't tell.

I shy away from no title deals, but as discussed here it there is a title and the numbers match and the seller is not the registered owner I have no problems with that.

 

I am sitting on a 30 Dodge right now that has an Idaho title that I hope I can sell, and I plan on handing that Idaho title over to the buyer.

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Twice I have had problems with titles that took up to a year to resolve but both times I knew there was an issue. That said at least in Florida a complete record of the title and registration is kept at least to 1970. Transfer is usually very simple. Difficulty can be for a citizen to gain access however the name and address of the registered owner is on the title.

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Jack,

 

Not trying to contradict your "registered letter trick," but don't you mean Certified letter? Registered mail is used for mailing valuables like jewelry or cash. Certified mail verifies that the piece was delivered and with a return receipt request, the PO will return a small postcard sized mailpiece signed by the recipient. In case of the recipients moving the First Class mail piece will be forwarded and delivered but in this case there will be no update provided of the new address.

 

As an aside, the PO provides a service available to all First Class mailers, the ability to receive the new address of someone who has moved. For the price of the first class letter, with type written wording "Address Service Requested" placed under your return address on the mail piece, with a small space between the return address and the endorsement. That mailpiece will be forwarded to the addressee, and a form 3547 will be returned  to you with the new address affixed to it. In order for this to work the addressee must have filed a change of address with the PO, and the Address Service Requested must say exactly that and be typewritten on the mail piece. There is an incidental charge for the service but well worth the price! This service is most often used by the large mailers of identical mail pieces, so they can updated their mailing lists. I don't have a typewriter so I have used a copy machine to make a copy of the service endorsement  "Address Service Requested," or you could even make a copy of this, cut it out and tape it to the mailpiece. Take a minute to think about how this service can help find someone whom you had lost track.

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That's how it is in most states. What you're describing there is called a "title skip" and technically it's illegal (remember how they finally prosecuted Al Capone). Now, I'm not going to get into a discussion about whether it's right to be collecting sales tax every single time a used car changes hands, but I will say that it's one of the things that the powers that be are monitoring as closely as possible. Whether they're able to actually catch anyone (where's the evidence?) is up for debate, but they know it's happening frequently in the old car world and they want it to stop or at least make sure they're getting their cut of the pie.

 

They got their cut from ME and they sent me clean titles.

In the first instance I talked with a man at the MVD, with some common sense no less, who told me to get a bill of sale and send in the paper work.

I suggested to him about eliminating the middle owner and just sending in the paper work leaving the middle man out of it.

I could hear him smile at the other end and he advised me to "go for it" which I did.

Edited by cahartley (see edit history)
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Jack,

 

Not trying to contradict your "registered letter trick," but don't you mean Certified letter? Registered mail is used for mailing valuables like jewelry or cash. Certified mail verifies that the piece was delivered and with a return receipt request, the PO will return a small postcard sized mailpiece signed by the recipient. In case of the recipients moving the First Class mail piece will be forwarded and delivered but in this case there will be no update provided of the new address.

 

As an aside, the PO provides a service available to all First Class mailers, the ability to receive the new address of someone who has moved. For the price of the first class letter, with type written wording "Address Service Requested" placed under your return address on the mail piece, with a small space between the return address and the endorsement. That mailpiece will be forwarded to the addressee, and a form 3547 will be returned  to you with the new address affixed to it. In order for this to work the addressee must have filed a change of address with the PO, and the Address Service Requested must say exactly that and be typewritten on the mail piece. There is an incidental charge for the service but well worth the price! This service is most often used by the large mailers of identical mail pieces, so they can updated their mailing lists. I don't have a typewriter so I have used a copy machine to make a copy of the service endorsement  "Address Service Requested," or you could even make a copy of this, cut it out and tape it to the mailpiece. Take a minute to think about how this service can help find someone whom you had lost track.

 

Funny thing, The post office has to educate me on this just about every time as I don't know the difference.

Thanks for the correction.

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The plate thing gives me a chuckle every single time.

 

Same here ... lol

 

 

Matt (jackofall), wonder if we were contacted by the same interested buyer.  I had someone ask me the same thing for the 1989 Caprice Classic Brougham I sold a month ago now.  Luckily, at the time of the request, I already had someone who was planning to buy it, so I just told him it was sold & didn't deal with it.  Car sold a day later.  I found it a bit odd, too, but then realized he was probably (as others have mentioned) just doing his homework in making sure it is a valid car, etc.

 

 

Cort :) www.oldcarsstronghearts.com
pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve | 1979 Caprice Classic (awaiting new owner)

 

"Every second counts on a clock that's tickin'" __ The Script / Kris Allen __ 'Live Like We're Dying'
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Like others, I have never heard of getting a title history for a car in PA.  For a house, yes it is a requirement to have a title search done.

 

I never deal with Craigslist.  

 

Never looked at it to buy or sell anything, as I have read to many stories about scams.

 

I have also read that if you are using it to sell something directly to a person (not shipping it) to meet them at a police station, since people have been setup and even murdered by perspective buyers.

 

I don't need any of that or what they are selling.

 

I agree with Joe's comment about people covering license plate numbers.

I have bought cars, trucks, tractors, crawlers and probably 75+ chainsaws off Craigslist without ever laying eyes on the item. Only got burned once on a $100 chainsaw in Dallas.

 

Look at Craigslist every day for items and will continue to do so, it is a great marketplace.

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