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Major Title Problems

Hello,
I recently bought a 97 Subaru Outback in CO. The problem starts with the fact that the title was signed over to him but he did not have the title in his name, me, being the optimist, was told by friends and family that he can sign it to me (making me the next designated buyer). As I had secretly suspected, the CO DMV said no way and that the old owners would need to order a new title, send it to the next man, have him order one in his name, then sign it to me as to have it in my possession. 3 titles with 3 names? Sounds complicated. However, the current problem is that I cannot get a hold of the owners after repeated attempts via email, snail mail, even Facebook. A family member said I can request a title in my name via the abandoned title method (note: this member also said that the title would work in the first place no problem). The car is definitely not reported stolen and the owners are mutes. Is there any way to work out a title to me saying the previous people are no-shows? Thanks a lot/

If the “Buyer” space on the title is filled in with a name other than yours, It is no good to you…If the person listed as the “owner” can not be found, you are out of luck. There are lawyers who may be able to get you a title, but it may cost you more than the car is worth…

If the person who’s name is in the “buyers” box is available, have HIM apply for a title and when he gets it, sign it over to you. You then can apply for a title in your name…

What a royal PITA. Where I grew up, they had space for up to three reassignments before needing a new title. I suspect 3 was chosen for common situation where car was traded to dealer, then wholesaled and finally disposed or resold. Although the DMV lost retitling revenue, it wasn’t holding up commerce in vehicles or creating work for their already stretched thin resources.

Where I live now, it routinely takes 1 month to process a title. You can’t go stand in line and get it the same day. Insane.

The only reliable resource for information are the people who hold the power of judgement. The OP should be asking the motor vehicle registration and titling folks these questions. It doesn’t hurt to be humble and plead for mercy. Ask to speak with supervisor if the counter person is unable or unwilling to help.

Colorado titles can be reassigned three or four times but only by licensed dealers…Asking to talk with a supervisor is good…In the smaller counties, the County Clerk handles M/V registrations and can sometimes be helpful in dealing with title “problems”…

Only the person identified on the title as the owner can transfer ownership to you. If you bought the car from someone who is not identified no the titla as the owner, you’ve been “hoodwinked”. If your check hasn’t cleared yet, you may want to put a “stop order” on it and attempt to cancel the purchase.

There’s something seriously wrong with this transaction. There’s a reason you cannot now contact the sellers despite repeated attampts. You may want to contact the police at this point.

You may have been the victim of a curbstoner and while some states have laws against this practice the odds of doing anything about it legally are often slim or non-existent.

OK4450, since the sellers have disappeared into thin air I’m concerned that this car may even be stolen. The cops could contact the owner of record and find out.

I agree with ok4450 and TSM. While it’s possible that your seller is honest and just dumb, this has all the hallmarks of a scam or a stolen vehicle.

i hope i’m wrong but i think mountainbike is on to something

This would assume that the thief is pretty good at forging a title. Most titles these days have some form of protection (watermarks, correct weight and type of paper, complex features, colors etc) that would make an authentic looking one difficult for the lay person.

I’d be more inclined to suspect it’s a case of- your problem pal, I have the cash, you have the car, now it’s your problem…

I hope I’m wrong, and I hope TT is right, but I have to ask…how hard would it be to create a fake title good enough to be accepted by someone who’d hand over cash to a seller whose name is not even ON the “title”?

I gots me a baaaad feeling about this one.

But if someone was going to fake a title, wouldn’t you think they would put their own name (or alias) on it to begin with so it wouldn’t raise any suspicions? Seems too weird to me to believe even the most stupid thief would generate such a messy doc trail and risk scaring off buyers.

Hoping for the best outcome…

Since curbstoning is not a rare thing and in the event that is what happened to you, then you might peruse this thread and see if it applies…

When I sold my Dads car which was the last private party sale I’ve done, we both went down to the local DMV and transfered the title. If there would have been a problem for either one of us, it would have been caught then. Twice in the past I have had to do a “forced title tranfer” in Minnesota because the buyer didn’t transfer the title. So I’m done with that. So I guess after talking to DMV, if they can’t force the title and you can’t trace it through them, you’re going to have to return the car and get your money back. You can’t legally sell a car you don’t have title to, so maybe stop to see the Sheriff at the same time if you have any trouble.

That Carfax article mentions unscrupulous resellers dumping repaired totals and that is something that would fit this situation very well. Not transferring title to avoid the branding…

I would never spend something on the order of $15k for a used car from a private seller (vintage muscle excluded). I don’t like that level of risk. Understand people do it everyday, just not my cup of tea…

TT, if I were going to fake a title to sell a stolen vehicle, my own name would be the LAST one I’d put on it!

The thing that really triggers my suspicions is that the seller immediately disappeared into thin air, never to be found again.

The OP has disappeared…If you read the original post carefully, it sounds like the original owner has disappeared, not the seller…