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Title transfer issue?

Guys, help me out, please — First of all I’ve been kind of stupid to have bought this car in the first place because I asked for a copy of the title before I bought the car and I had an inkling that the it was kind of odd. But I loved the car so much that I decided to take the chance. Man, am I regretting the decision now?

Now the issue is - I bought this car from NY. The car had an Oklahoma title. The NY owner did not register the car because he himself was a car-dealer and was using this dealer-plate to run the car around, though he used the car for his personal use. In the title it says it was initially transferred to the NY dealership and in the re-assignment column he put my details, which seems all right me. In short, it was like buying the car from a second-hand dealer. The next day, I went to the DMV and tried to register the car in my name. Here starts the problem, the clerk sitting at the counter either had a very bad day or did not like me at all, he put the title under a microscope (literally) and declared that the odometer reading in the title seems to be altered. Well, in fact one of the number was a bit thick and written over (you know when we write with a dry pen and it don’t write clearly some digits and then you overwrite it). He said that voided out the title and I needed to get a new title. I went back to the seller and asked him to get a new title. He said he would fix everything and would get me a new title within 2 weeks. But it had been more than 4 weeks since and he has been saying he is in the process of getting a NY title only in his dealerships name. I have got a feeling that he doesn’t want the car back (though he said he would get my money back if he couldn’t get a clear title). Every time I contact him he says that he is waiting for the new title.
I know I am in trouble, but how deep- Will I be able to get a title at all? Is there a process to get a title only in NY, like the seller says? If it does, how long will it take? He said he put in an application for a ‘Rushed Title’ (whatever that means) and it would not take more than 2 weeks. What are the legal options available to me?

Note – I have verified that the car is clean; it is not stolen, no accidents/salvage, no lien.

I’d call the state Attorney,s office and see if they will investigate. One letter or call from them and he might get a fire lit and get something done.

If you still have that copy of the title, why not try going back to the DMV and see if you can’t get a different clerk or ask for a supervisor.


I do not know what the laws are in NY about such things but living here in OK I can tell you that if someone sells a car and cannot provide a title (no matter the reason) they can get in a ton of trouble.

You may not be in trouble as much as the person selling the car if they can’t produce.

So you’ve actually had the OK title in hand with no liens showing on it and you’re still driving around on a temporary paper plate? Most of those temporary plates are only good for 30 days and I do not believe there are any states where a second plate can be issued because of a delay.

I ran into something similar in MA where the original owner screwed something up something really minor on the title and the guy behind the counter at the RMV was being a real jerk about it saying I had to go get this and that notarized by the seller. I took everything back and started down that road but said why not just try another RMV office. I didn’t say a thing, just put the same paperwork in front of the guy at the counter. This time no issues whatsoever and it went through smoothly.

That’s what I was thinking @Twin Turbo; Some of these people seem to get these jobs and instantly get an authority complex. Every Tee has to be crossed and every I dotted or it’s rejected.

I’d laugh if the problem was that the title stated 97.018 miles but it looked like the eight was once a six. Common sense…nobody’s cheating at two miles.


While I have no way to know w/any certainty, I expect what he says is actually the problem. He’s simply waiting for the new title. When he gets it, he’ll give it to you. You’ve been to the DMV, so you well know this kind of thing could well take 2-3 months. Give it a little more time. You maintain possession of the car, right? You’re just in a DMV paperwork jam is all. People are all the time trying to scam the mileage reading on the titles, so the DMV staff are probably required to view the title under magnification, and if anything looks askew, to require a new title be printed up before they’ll process your registration.

From what you say I think you need a little DMV humor. This is a true story. When I moved from Colorado to California I had to re-register my truck to have Calif plates. I waited in line an hour or so, finally I got to the front. The DMV clerk looked through my paperwork, then asked me which color of plates I wanted. She showed me a brochure, two choices. One version was yellow letters on a blue background, the other was black letters on a white background. I told her I wanted the “yellow” ones. She looked at me like I’d asked her to jump to the moon! Like what I was asking was impossible. She gave me a dirty look and asked me again, “these are the only ones available, what color do you want?” This time I simply pointed to the one I wanted, the one with yellow lettering on a blue background. Then she said “Why did you say you wanted the yellow one? You want the gold one”. … lol …

Yep try another office or clerk, then ask for the supervisor. That’s silly.

Year, make model of the car?

Thanks guys, thanks for all your advice. I think I will give it some more time before thinking about other means of solving the issue. Note - The DMV wrote something like ‘Odometer Issue’ on the title itself thereby taking away my chance of going to another DMV.

Take away from the story - If you plan to get a used car make sure (double sure) the title is as clear as the car itself. Ask them to email a copy of the title and go through it like you are trying to find some issues.

I ran into this sort of DMV purgatory once myself.

On a car I’d just bought, there was some discrepancy between the VIN on the title and the VIN on the loan paperwork. I think one had a “0” (zero) and the other had an “O” (letter). Two trips to my local DMV office didn’t get me anywhere. Finally I tried another DMW office. Much to my delight, they zoomed through the registration process and told me how much I owed in fees and taxes. That day I set a personal speed record in both writing a check and getting out the door!

Good luck to you.

That day I set a personal speed record in both writing a check and getting out the door!


If a new title is prohibitive, the OP might ask the DMV if it would be acceptable to get a notarized statement from the seller that indicates the correct mileage. This is akin to what was being asked of me but I was able to avoid that extra work. Since they marred the title, this may now be the path of least pain…

In reply to TwinTurbo -
I skipped a couple of steps in my post to make it less boring. In fact, I went to the DMV three times. The first clerk in the DMV told me a notarized Odometer Disclosure Statement would be enough. I got that from the dealer in NY. The second/third time I went to the dmv, it was different person and he said I needed a new title altogether (remember its an Oklahoma title). I am in the process of getting a new title

Before states began having the seller record the mileage on the back of their titles, there used to be a federal form called a mileage odometer statement. It seems to me one of those should suffice to correct the price. They must still exist for cars with very old titles.

The OP states it has an OK title. OK currently and as long as I can remember mandates by law that an odometer mileage statement go with the title on any vehicle newer than 10 years old and this applies especially to any type of automobile dealer.

OK titles also have 2 separate places on the back where a car can be assigned to a dealer during a trade-in and then reassigned to another dealer without the car ever being put into either dealer name before resale to a customer.

It could be that during the bureaucratic shuffle the odometer statement vanished and even that statement is not gold as one line states “to the best of my knowledge”. The proverbial out… :slight_smile:

@vodooman–Let us know how this comes out. As the corporate trustee for my church, I am trying to transfer ownership of two trailers from the scout troop the church sponsors to the church so that the church’s insurance carrier will insure the trailers. The scouts lost one of the titles and the VIN on other title doesn’t match the number on the registration. Fortunately, the license branch here in my location in east central Indiana has always been very helpful to me.

There are no temporary paper plates in NY. NY is dead set against letting you register a car that has no title signed to YOU by the last registered owner. Unless the intermediary was a registered dealer they suspect the car may have been stolen or operated without registering it, or insuring it and depriving the state of the registration fee and the sales tax.

In my county the sales tax is 8 3/4 %.