Warning! never give your car away to a person::

There is a new racket where by an individual will accept your car. Do what ever repairs are necessary and then sell it to someone who will NEVER SMOG it, INSURE IT or REGISTER it which will leave you on the registration and responsible for it. Here is my story::

In September 2004 I put an ad in Craigs List offering my Subaru for free. I had 42 responses and gave it to the first person who called me. He accepted it and signed a receipt accepting the car and acknowledging that I was no longer responsible for parking tickets. IN less than an hour I had mailed the DMV notice of change of ownership as required.

About six weeks later I received the first parking ticket. I made a copy of the signed receipt and sent it to the Daly City parking police and then went back in person to DMV to ask why I was getting the notice. They told me that there was no record of my filing the change of ownership notice so I filed it again.

More tickets followed with the same result. The in Feb. 2006 the car (with 20,000 more miles on the odometer) was wrecked and abandoned. I got the notice from the towing company and sent them a copy of the receipt and told them I was not responsible for the car. I am still getting notices from collection agencies and now they claim I owe them over $3,100 for towing and interest.

Then, on Saturday, I got a legal notice saying that I owed over $7,000. for damage to the other guys car. This is an unending nightmare.

WARNING:: Never give your car to an individual. Give it to a wrecking yard or a widely recognized charity and most important, get a RECEIPT!

You have found out how true the old adage ?no good deed goes unpunished? is.

This surely is a horror story. Good intentions end up backfiring on good people. However, the lesson to be learned here is that our “connection” to cars must be severed officially and completely before we can say we are no longer responsible.

Did you also give the person your license plates, or did the individual drive it with no plates or stolen plates? You did not mention the title, what happened to that?

Something is missing here. The thing is, you have to go down to the DMV with the person and transfer the title right then and there, period. Then its done. That’s the only way to do it now.

I had a problem with two cars. The first, I got a notice of a ticket. It cost me a day but there was no problem. I had to sign an affidavit that I had sold the car. Then at DMV, they did a forced title transfer. DMV should have done that for you and all you have to do is provide an affidavit to whoever wants money from you with who and when you transfered the car to. Also might add in the statement that you expect to not be harmed by the claim and that you will hold them liable if you are harmed. Anybody can claim anything.

The second one, after 6 months the guy still hadn’t transfered it so we did a forced transfer on that one too. This is one way for people to get by without insurance and love cars with a lot of license plate time left before renewal.

I thought having a bil of sale does it. In CT you had to take the license plated off and turn them in to the DMV. I liked that system better, it forced the new owner to go to the DMV and get a license. When you turned the plates in they would take it off your name and you were done. Now in CA things are more shady b/c the license stays with the car and you are at the mercy of the buyer to register it. Most people don’t have time to go to the DMV for one full day to transfer a beater to someone else.

This same thing happened to me! Only I salvaged the vehicle. And followed the procedures required to transfere title.

About a month after the vehicle was salavaged, I started recieving notices from another city about unpaid parking tickets for the vehicle. I contacted the state DMV and asked if they had a record of the vehicle title ever being transfered. Their records did not. I explained the situation, and was told I could do is what is called a Forced Transfere of Vehicle Title. As long as I had prof on who took ownership of the vehicle and when, I was off the hook for any outstanding tickets or other costs related to the vehicle.

So if you can prove who took ownership of the vehicle and when, see if your DMV has a Forced Transfere of Vehicle Title.


Another method to help ensure that the deal doesn’t go awry: Let’s say you make the deal and don’t want to go to a notary or the DMV (say it’s Sunday, for example.) Draft a bill of sale and let the other party have your car for $1. Give them a copy of the bill of sale, you keep a photocopy of the signed title (in Oregon, the seller signs off on the title and it is the new owner’s responsibility to register the car in their name).

This gives you a firm leg to stand on it something goes wrong later down the line. You have very good documentation that the car no longer belongs to you. Some record that it was removed from your insurance policy might be handy, too.

Giving the car away was OK, but I suspect you gave this person your license plates too. THAT’s where you made the mistake.

The safe way to do it, give the person the signed title but not the keys. Ask him to go down to the DMV and buy a plate, regular or temporary and when he returns with the plate give him the keys.

Giving a car away is fine…you just did it wrong. You did NOT transfer the title correctly. And I’ll bet you left the tags on the car too??

You need a lawyer. ASAP. You are “in” too deep at this point. Unless you get a lawyer to get this resolved, you’ll end up soon getting calls from bill collectors and your credit rating will begin getting “tagged”. Once that begins it becomes a real nightmare. Then you’re trying to get the problem resolved with parties that are a step removed from the original claimants and it gets 100 times worse.

Sorry to tell you this, but it’s important that you know.