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Why is there no national database in the US that keeps track of antique car sales?


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I sold this 1960 Edsel Ranger in 2016 to a guy in the San Jose, CA area but don't have his name and address. Every year when I pay the registration fees for our other vehicles I have to pay for the Edsel too since there apparently is no national database that shows that he registered it in California. I don't have any proof that he actually did except that he said he would and I saw a pic of it on a tour out there with California plates on it. The guy at the vehicle registration office here in Kentucky said that even if he did register it there is no reciprocal agreement (or something like that)  between CA and KY which would show that it was registered out there and that I needed to give them his name and address. I don't remember much about the buyer except that he owns some other Edsels and I believe that he is active with other Edsel owners in the SF Bay Area. If someone knows who he is please send me a PM. Thanks....

 

PS..............In this day and age you would think that there would be a national database in the US which shows when someone registers an old car so that the previous owner can stop paying annual registration fees for it. Why isn't there?

 

 

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Edited by Lebowski (see edit history)
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There is usually an a form to fill out while selling a car. It says that you sold it and no longer have the obligation of registering it. Most states have this form on their titles. Did you do that? We in Oregon MUST let the state know that we sold a vehicle or this stuff can happen.

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What if you just don't pay the registration fee?

 

Here in WA, where we have historically had the most draconian vehicle laws in the country, there is a "release of interest" form that you send the state when you sell a car. It is a tear-off thing attached to the title. It is not for the state's benefit, it is for yours. If the car is involved in an accident, the state already has it on record that you do not own it. If it incurs parking fees, abandonment fees, etc., the state knows you don't own it. Also, the new owner is required to transfer the title within a certain period of time. He could incur fees if he waits too long and you have already sent in your release of interest.

 

They really require you to register cars you don't use? I thought only California did that.

 

EDIT: dc-8dave responded while I was typing. Yes, many people don't bother. Some ignore it intentionally to give the new owner more time. As long as there is no wreck... no harm no foul.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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The DMVs all talk to one another now. So if he registers it, your state will know and it should work itself out.

 

Of course, there's no guarantee he will register it, because that means he'll have to pay his sales tax like every other responsible adult. Everyone wants to dodge sales tax. I bet he asked you to just sign the title and leave everything else blank for him, didn't he? Or put down some crazy low number to "help him out on taxes?" Yeah, that's a problem. Most guys seem to just throw the titles in a file and drive around on an old plate they had laying around and never register the car. Then someday in the future, someone sells that car and hands the third or fifth or tenth owner after you your blank title with your signature on it. Fifteen years from now, some poor schlub who thought he was buying a car on a "good title" will call you and ask you to make him a bill of sale so he can register the car you didn't sell to him.

 

But this is a different thing than a database, I guess.

 

Making a database to track who owns what car, well, I suppose I'd be in favor of it if we can do it for all the guns first. No? Why would doing it for cars would be any more palatable? Especially if it's searchable by just anyone. Club directories are bad enough with bottom-feeders calling owners trying to buy special cars, but letting any jerk with a computer find out what I own? No thanks.

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45 minutes ago, 39BuickEight said:

All you have to do is fill out an incomplete title transfer form.  I did this with a motorcycle that the person never registered.  I am in KY also.

 

I asked about that the last two times that I went in there and was told that they need the name and address of the buyer. When I go in again next February I'll specifically ask for an "incomplete title transfer form" and see if they have even heard of it. In the meantime I was hoping to get the name and address of the buyer like they told me to do. By the way, I'm not losing any sleep over this since the annual fee for the Edsel is only 68 cents but it's just kind of annoying to be told that I have to pay it year after year....

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There very well could be a national database to track registered/titled ownership of all cars/vehicles, antique and modern, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's only accessible by LEO and may even require a court order to obtain information from.

 

OTOH, if the vehicle is not registered or even titled to current owner/possessor ...

... and if OP didn't bother to obtain/verify buyers information and notify his local authorities promptly, well...

... who's fault ? 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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All we need is more government data bases to protect people who do not follow procedures.  Yes we should have more government databases so we can complain more about big brother. 

In over 70 years the biggest problems that I have seen in person and in print has been caused to themselves or others by not following directions or by trying to circumvent the rules and regulations that are already there to protect us.

 

Cave venditor is as important in life as caveat emptor.

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When I sold my Honda S2000 and my 49 Ford pickup I lived in Lexington Ky. The goofy state of KY makes you and the buyer go into the county office and do the transfer paper work. Even if you are selling it out of state. The only way you are going to get it solved is going in with a notarized bill of sale and a copy of the new owners CA registration. That goofy state even tried to give me static when we moved out of state and they tried to tax me for our current cars. I’m sure You can thank Mitch and Rand for how messed up the state is but be careful Rand may take a swing at you. 

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I have to admit, I don't have the name and addresses of people I sold cars to. In my state, however, you can keep a car unregistered - without fees - by submitting an affidavit to the DMV. This is designed for people who maybe want to store old cars that aren't road ready, but could possibly be used for a situation like the OP's.

 

Having to pay registration fees on a car you don't own is just wrong. The gov't shouldn't get away with that.

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All you have to do is fill out an incomplete title transfer form.  I did this with a motorcycle that the person never registered.  I am in KY also.  If 39BuickEight is correct then the Government in KY is not doing anything wrong and they are not trying to or getting away with anything.

 

Follow the directions

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47 minutes ago, keiser31 said:

There is also a YouTube video of that car. Did you make the video?

 

That video came from the YouTube account of someone named Duder Lebowski. Does that name sound familiar? That was me of course. I ended up buying another 223 Ford straight six from a guy near Erie, PA. I mentioned on this site that I had never done an engine swap and was contacted by Junkyard Jeff who made a total of 5 (or was it 6?) trips here from Dayton, Ohio and we got it swapped in and the new engine didn't smoke at all. Here's a link to the video if you want to check it out for a few laughs. Thanks to Detective Keiser for finding it.... :)

 

 

 

 

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58 minutes ago, keiser31 said:

Looks like it's for sale again or is this your ad?....https://1car.one/1960-edsel-ranger-coupe-41509.html

 

I think that's an old ad from a couple of years ago but the name Ted sounds familiar. Salinas isn't too far from San Jose but 415 is a Bay Area area code and doesn't cover Salinas but I may call it tomorrow and see what happens....

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31 minutes ago, Lebowski said:

 

I think that's an old ad from a couple of years ago but the name Ted sounds familiar. Salinas isn't too far from San Jose but 415 is a Bay Area area code and doesn't cover Salinas but I may call it tomorrow and see what happens....

 

The 415 area code is San Francisco. But with cellphones and number portability that doesn't mean much nowadays. My house phone and both my wife's and my cell numbers are in the 408 area code (“Silicon Valley”) but we’ve been living in the 916 area code for several years now.

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In Calif there is a Release of Liability form that you complete and submit to the DMV that releases you from any DMV fees and liability should the car be involved in an accident or a crime.

I never let a car leave my driveway with the new owner unless one of those forms are completed at time of sale.

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For peace of mind and to limit your liability for tickets, accidents, etc. under the new owner, you might want to take care of this sooner rather than later. The downloadable Incomplete Transfer form and related instructions can be found on the Commonwealth's website at: https://drive.ky.gov/motor-vehicle-licensing/Pages/Vehicle-Titling.aspx under the heading Selling a Vehicle to an Out-of-State Resident. It looks like specific questions should be directed to the appropriate county clerk's office.

 

A seller can almost never count on the buyer following through, for whatever reason. For the last car that I sold, I met the buyer at AAA (some here in CA offer DMV services at their offices) and did the cash/title exchange while waiting in line to turn in the Seller's Release of Liability form and have the buyer transfer the title. I had marked up the sale price of the car to cover the smog inspection and transfer fees, then took care of those for the buyer so that the buyer couldn't claim they didn't have the funds to transfer the title into their name. I walked out with the cash, buyer walked out with the car keys and registration in her name. 

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30 minutes ago, Brass is Best said:

Ohio makes dealers put the car in the new owners name to avoid problems like this. 

 

I think that's good, but a good number people lose their minds when I tell them that's what we have to do. Several guys have even dropped the deal when I told them they weren't getting a blank title. They just want me to sign the title, leave everything else blank, and let them have it to do whatever they want. Um, how about no? How about I don't want to be responsible when you kill someone with your unregistered car? How about I don't want someone calling me 15 years in the future demanding that I fix a title with my name on it that subsequent owners never bothered to transfer? How about you act like an adult and actually own the car you paid to own? Waaa waaa waaa, I don't wanna pay sales tax. Too bad, we all have to live with it (I even title my personal cars in my own name instead of the dealership, and that means I'm paying sales tax as well). Man up or get out of the hobby if you can't afford to play by the rules.

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I don't think I've ever had an insurance company ask to see a title when taking out a policy. I pay my elderly father's car insurance for him as part of my policy and they never asked for anything but the VIN.

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I haven’t sold a lot of cars in my life, maybe 5 or 6 at most. But everyone I’ve sold I write up a bill of sale with all of the buyers info (complete name/address info) and even his drivers license number. I have a place for signature and date for both the seller and the buyer. I usually do it in duplicate - one for the buyer and one for me. 
it protects me in case the buyer causes an accident or hits someone, he may even use it as a get away car in a robbery for all I know and I don’t want to spend any time explaining it wasn’t me. 
Common sense protect yourself! 

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1 hour ago, Peter S said:

The liability issue is both the elephant in this room and a problem with a double edge. How can the new owner insure the car without holding a valid title? 

 

My insurance company simply wants a phone call to let them know I'm buying the car. I don't recall the exact amount of time, but I do have some time before they want all the details like VIN, etc.

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The problem is that states don't always share their registration information.  Every time I sold a car, it was up to the buyer to re-regisdter it.  If they didn't or registered it in another state, i would see the vehicle still on my list with the state of Florida.  I would tell them each year which cars I no longer owned and they were fine with that and didn't send renewals to me.  States are suposed to notifiy the prior state of registration, but they don't always do it.

I once had a guy buy a car and 10 years later call and say I never gave him a title and asked me to get a duplicate.  I asked Florida and they told me the car was registered in New Hampshire.  Then the buyer admitted that it was and told me he was selling the car and New Hampshire would not give him a duplicate because he no longer lived there.  (It was a resident only courtesy)   The power of the clerk sets the rules!

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Here is the California DMV VIN lookup tool. If the VIN is active in the system it will tell you how much the fees to purchase it would be, including back unpaid registration fees if any. So it may be useful if you want proof your car was sold to a California buyer, it will tell you if the VIN is active in the California DMV computer system.

 

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/wasapp/FeeCalculatorWeb/usedVehicleForm.do

 

Gives you a result like this. All I did was put in the VIN for my car, nothing else, no owners name or anything. It gives the Make, year, and transfer fees due if I were to buy it.

 

 

Screenshot (109).png

Edited by mike6024 (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I think that's good, but a good number people lose their minds when I tell them that's what we have to do. Several guys have even dropped the deal when I told them they weren't getting a blank title. They just want me to sign the title, leave everything else blank, and let them have it to do whatever they want. Um, how about no? How about I don't want to be responsible when you kill someone with your unregistered car? How about I don't want someone calling me 15 years in the future demanding that I fix a title with my name on it that subsequent owners never bothered to transfer? How about you act like an adult and actually own the car you paid to own? Waaa waaa waaa, I don't wanna pay sales tax. Too bad, we all have to live with it (I even title my personal cars in my own name instead of the dealership, and that means I'm paying sales tax as well). Man up or get out of the hobby if you can't afford to play by the rules.

 

So let me get this right.

I buy a car from Matt, I have to pay Ohio sales tax and register and title the car in Ohio?

In Oregon we don't use a sales tax, but we do have to pay a state income tax. Therefore we have already paid local taxes on my money when we earned it rather than when we spend it.

So now I pay an Ohio sales tax on money I have already paid my local taxes on. Along with Ohio registration at an address that I don't have?

Being neighbors with Washington state I can buy just about anything and the retailer has a form to fill out when I present my Oregon ID. This way Oregonians aren't being taxed twice on the same money if they make a major purchase in Washington (including vehicles). Washington dealers all do this. I would think that Ohio should as well.

How do you ever make an out of state sale?  Every out of state sale will be paying double taxes as most states charge a sales tax when they register a recently purchased car.

 

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3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I think that's good, but a good number people lose their minds when I tell them that's what we have to do. Several guys have even dropped the deal when I told them they weren't getting a blank title. They just want me to sign the title, leave everything else blank, and let them have it to do whatever they want. Um, how about no? How about I don't want to be responsible when you kill someone with your unregistered car? How about I don't want someone calling me 15 years in the future demanding that I fix a title with my name on it that subsequent owners never bothered to transfer? How about you act like an adult and actually own the car you paid to own? Waaa waaa waaa, I don't wanna pay sales tax. Too bad, we all have to live with it (I even title my personal cars in my own name instead of the dealership, and that means I'm paying sales tax as well). Man up or get out of the hobby if you can't afford to play by the rules.

 

So let me get this right.

I buy a car from Matt, I have to pay Ohio sales tax and register and title the car in Ohio?

In Oregon we don't use a sales tax, but we do have to pay a state income tax. Therefore we have already paid local taxes on our money when we earned it rather than when we spend it.

So now I pay an Ohio sales tax on money I have already paid my local taxes on. Along with Ohio registration at an address that I don't have?

Being neighbors with Washington state I can buy just about anything and the retailer has a form to fill out when I present my Oregon ID. This way Oregonians aren't being taxed twice on the same money if they make a major purchase in Washington (including vehicles). Washington dealers all do this. I would think that Ohio should as well.

How do you ever make an out of state sale?  Every out of state sale will be paying double taxes as most states charge a sales tax when they register a recently purchased car.

 

I have to add that the other way around, (Washington residents often cross the border for everyday purchases) Oregon does not get any funds from out of state buyers.

Unfortunately this is often a bone of contention when we realize that we are not collecting any sales taxes from tourists as they pass through or any "under the table" monies.

The typical honest working guy pays his state income taxes as he earns money rather than when he spends it.

DMVs here don't collect any sales taxes.

 

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21 minutes ago, JACK M said:

 

So let me get this right.

I buy a car from Matt, I have to pay Ohio sales tax and register and title the car in Ohio?

In Oregon we don't use a sales tax, but we do have to pay a state income tax. Therefore we have already paid local taxes on my money when we earned it rather than when we spend it.

So now I pay an Ohio sales tax on money I have already paid my local taxes on. Along with Ohio registration at an address that I don't have?

Being neighbors with Washington state I can buy just about anything and the retailer has a form to fill out when I present my Oregon ID. This way Oregonians aren't being taxed twice on the same money if they make a major purchase in Washington (including vehicles). Washington dealers all do this. I would think that Ohio should as well.

How do you ever make an out of state sale?  Every out of state sale will be paying double taxes as most states charge a sales tax when they register a recently purchased car.

 

 

Not quite. Out of state residents do not pay Ohio sales taxes. As a dealer, the law says I have to provide you with a fresh Ohio title in your name with your out-of-state address. I can't just sign the old title and give it to you for all the reasons we've described in this thread--Ohio doesn't want other people running around with unregistered cars still in someone else's name, and neither do I. It's no big deal, you just take that Ohio title to your local DMV and turn it into a local title. It's actually a lot easier that way since the title is already official and in your name so you won't have the usual problems with out-of-state titles. A vast majority of our hassles come from out-of-state titles that have been signed incorrectly or in the wrong place or by a guy who omitted his middle initial or was signed 45 years ago by a dead man, and the DMV rejects it. This eliminates all of that.

 

We (or you) do not register the car in Ohio, but we do provide a 45-day temporary tag so you can drive the car immediately upon arrival wherever you live. Ohio temporary tags are valid in all 50 states.


I've had conversations very much like this in the past and I don't quite understand why it makes people so angry and confused:

Me: We'll also deliver a fresh, clean Ohio title already in your name.

Buyer: But I don't live in Ohio. I live in Tennessee.

Me: It will have your current Tennessee address on it. You will take it to your local DMV and they will give you a Tennessee title. It really is easier that way.

Buyer: Then I have to get Ohio license plates on my car. I live in Tennessee. I don't have an Ohio address. Why would I want Ohio license plates? I need Tennessee plates.

Me: You don't register it in Ohio. The title will have your Tennessee address on it. Go to the Tennessee DMV and they will give you a Tennessee title and Tennessee license plates.

Buyer: Why can't you just give me a Tennessee title and license plates?

Me: We can only issue Ohio titles and we can't issue license plates. That's a separate step. You can take this title and turn it into a Tennessee title at your local DMV.

Buyer: But I don't live in Ohio. I live in Tennessee.

Me: Sigh.

 

It would be really nice to have a national title with a uniform set of rules and a consistent form and procedure. Doing it 50 different ways is a real pain in the ass.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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4 minutes ago, mike6024 said:

The way Ohio does that makes sense. If the sale takes place in Ohio the title transfer should happen there. And no sales tax till you get it back to your home state.

 

It is a good idea, I misunderstood when Matt said "Waaa waaa waaa. I don't want to pay taxes"…..

My bad.

 

Question then, How does that work with a private sale? In Ohio, is the seller required to do that title transfer?

I never sell a car without sending the info card that is attached to the Oregon registration. (maybe its attached to the title),  but I always send it in with the buyers info.

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Just now, JACK M said:

 

It is a good idea, I misunderstood when Matt said "Waaa waaa waaa. I don't want to pay taxes"…..

My bad.

 

Question then, How does that work with a private sale? In Ohio, is the seller required to do that title transfer?

I never sell a car without sending the info card that is attached to the Oregon registration. (maybe its attached to the title),  but I always send it in with the buyers info.

 

I said that about sales taxes because almost every buyer wants me to falsify the documents to say they paid $25 for the car instead of $60,000 so they can dodge their taxes. Or just give them a blank title so they can lie and thereby implicate me in their crime. Anyone remember how they finally brought down Al Capone? Yeah, I'm not risking my business to help someone commit tax fraud.

 

Private sellers can still do whatever they want. They aren't licensed by the state so they simply hand over a title with their signature on it. Ohio titles need to be notarized, so that needs to be done before it goes to the buyer or else he's going to have a hell of a time transferring it. A lot of guys will let it go blank, but the notary is supposed to make sure everything (including price) is filled out before they'll notarize. They don't always do that, however.

 

States are increasingly contacting previous owners to ask about the sales price and if the numbers don't jibe, people get in trouble. There are still plenty of morons who will buy a car for tens of thousands of dollars and try to tell the DMV they paid $50 for it--the DMV isn't falling for it and I've heard of at least one local guy being implicated in fraud charges because he and the buyer pre-arranged to report a lower price on the sale which is technically conspiracy to commit tax fraud, a fairly substantial crime. The DMV has control over the dealers so they exercise it by making us do the title transfer, but private sellers are still largely unregulated. There are checks being done, the various states' computers now talk to each other, so it's getting risky to skirt the rules.

 

 

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