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Old 09-11-2020, 10:36 AM   #1
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Angry The dealer.... lost the title?

So we finally found a short bus that we loved and fit our qualifications (76" ceiling height!). Went through a negotiation with the dealer (a transportation company) and sent them a 10% deposit to lock things in. Now when we went to schedule the pick up (bus is about 2hrs drive away), they said they "lost" the title and will need to get a new one from the DMV, which could take up to 6 weeks...

We're already feeling the time crunch with winter coming and don't think we could wait that long (also was just excited to finally start the conversion!). We had also been waiting on getting the title in hand so we could get an in-transit tag from the DMV and take the bus home legally. So now we're considering 3 options:

1. Wait for them to get the new copy of the title and do everything by the books (i.e. wait up to 6 weeks)

2. Ask them to let us take the bus now, drive it home without tags, and withhold a portion of the $$$ until they mail us the new title

3. Get our deposit back (they offered to do this) and just find another bus.

We're seriously considering option 2 with the risk of driving it home with no tags, but we're not sure if having the bus without a title might put us at risk in some way. If we get stopped could the cops take the bus from us? Anyone have any wisdom or advice on what they would do in this situation?? Much appreciated!
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Old 09-11-2020, 10:54 AM   #2
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If you do number 2 I would get a bill of sale, or ask them to deliver the bus to you, as it is only 2 hours away, offer to drive the driver back to sweeten the pot.
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:51 AM   #3
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With a current Bill of Sale and insurance you should be fine getting it home. Nobody ever got pulled over for not having a title.
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Old 09-11-2020, 12:53 PM   #4
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My advise is never buy a vehicle of any significant value without the title.
It can have a lien on it, meaning previous owner owes money on it, and you will have to pay their debt to keep it. It can also be salvaged which reduces its value.
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Old 09-11-2020, 01:15 PM   #5
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I only pay scrap price without a title.

I have heard way too many stories of titles next week, month, in the mail, waiting to talk to...,,??? Not worth the gamble, stress, headache and loss IMO.




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Old 09-11-2020, 01:19 PM   #6
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My advise is never buy a vehicle of any significant value without the title.
It can have a lien on it, meaning previous owner owes money on it, and you will have to pay their debt to keep it. It can also be salvaged which reduces its value.
That makes a lot of sense, thanks! They say they have a lien release letter from the bank (I just asked for it) - you think that and maintenance history would show the title is clean? Of course I expect that I will get a clean title from them eventually, I just dont want to wait 4-6 weeks to bring it home...
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Old 09-11-2020, 01:54 PM   #7
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I only pay scrap price without a title.

I have heard way too many stories of titles next week, month, in the mail, waiting to talk to...,,??? Not worth the gamble, stress, headache and loss IMO.




Depending on age and whether it requires a title or not makes a huge difference. I've gotten amazing deals on motorcycles and other vehicles because many passed because it had no title. Title is meaningless in many cases.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:03 PM   #8
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Depending on age and whether it requires a title or not makes a huge difference. I've gotten amazing deals on motorcycles and other vehicles because many passed because it had no title. Title is meaningless in many cases.

I have also got some great deals on stuff without titles. Great parts cars and baja madmax toys. I know a couple of people that got some nice $800. buses that are workshops and storage units.

The title only means something when you want some legal plates on the vehicle or resale value.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:14 PM   #9
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I have also got some great deals on stuff without titles. Great parts cars and baja madmax toys. I know a couple of people that got some nice $800. buses that are workshops and storage units.

The title only means something when you want some legal plates on the vehicle or resale value.
I don't see why not having a title for a vehicle that is in a state that doesn't require one due to age should effect the resale value. The item doesn't change because you don't have the piece of paper. You don't need a title to get legal plates in many cases. I bought one bus that NEVER had a title.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:27 PM   #10
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All states require titles on road vehicles now, they also have a list of states that did not require them and when that requirement changed, yes you Can get a title on one of these with a bill of sale done properly,,but a dealer is required to get a title to sell a vehicle if it never had one
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:59 PM   #11
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The title only means something when you want some legal plates on the vehicle or resale value.

NO, NO, NO...the title is "PROOF OF OWNERSHIP"!

If you cut up/dismantle a car without proof of ownership or reasonably verifiable documentation that you are the new owner, you are legally opening up yourself to a potential case of auto theft.

True that you need the title for registration purposes but that is because with the title you are proving that you are the owner!

If you buy a car with no title and only have a bill of sale, make sure the seller is properly identified on the BoS with at least his drivers license number or a photocopy of his DL.

Could you imagine buying stolen vehicles with just worthless Bill of Sale?

BTW, I am in the towing business and I can speak first hand what it is like when the auto theft detectives come in and want to do a routine inspection on all the cars on my lot!
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:11 PM   #12
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I don't see why not having a title for a vehicle that is in a state that doesn't require one due to age should effect the resale value. The item doesn't change because you don't have the piece of paper. You don't need a title to get legal plates in many cases. I bought one bus that NEVER had a title.
As I am sure you know, There is two basic kinds of vehicle sales Private Party & State Licensed Dealer

Private Party is cash for the vehicle with the title being proof of ownership. If someone does not have a title they do not own the vehicle. If you buy a vehicle without the title and the seller does not get it to you, you are screwed.

In the world of finance no one really owns anything..
With a State Licensed Dealer they do financing so most sales are thru banks the bank owns the title the “buyer” gets papers to register the vehicle. If the title gets “lost” the title holder is probably a lending company that can be made accountable, the bank has insurance, the dealer could be made accountable, etc.

I imagine if someone “buys” and “sells” in the world of state licensed dealers and lenders. You don't really get the title, Your lender probably has it in a file cabinet. The next state licensed dealer can contact the lender and make up some more papers.

In Private Party sales you are going to have a very hard time selling something without the title. Before I show stuff almost always the buyer double checks “Do you have a clean title in hand ?” As a buyer I do the same.
Without a clean title 99% of the time a finance company owns the title. As a buyer you would have to trust a stranger to take your money – pay off his loan – get the title – then send it to you = No thanks.. call me when you have the title/own the vehicle.


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NO, NO, NO...the title is "PROOF OF OWNERSHIP"!

Could you imagine buying stolen vehicles with just worthless Bill of Sale?

BTW, I am in the towing business and I can speak first hand what it is like when the auto theft detectives come in and want to do a routine inspection on all the cars on my lot!
I agree it is a very real risk buying stuff without a title.. Most junkyards will not touch stuff now days without a title.

Back in the day when I was young and build cars I would buy "parts cars". Looking back.. I might not of bought some of them.
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:55 PM   #13
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In the world of finance no one really owns anything..
With a State Licensed Dealer they do financing so most sales are thru banks the bank owns the title the “buyer” gets papers to register the vehicle. If the title gets “lost” the title holder is probably a lending company that can be made accountable, the bank has insurance, the dealer could be made accountable, etc.
Let me help clarify this just a liitle bit,

As I said earlier I am in the towing business, well to be exact I own a collateral recovery agency (repo company) and have been licensed as a recovery agent for twenty years now.

On financed cars, thru a bank, credit union or whomever, you the purchaser are legally the owner of the vehicle, not the bank!
It is a conditional ownership though.

The bank is only listed as a "Lienholder" meaning they hold a "lien" on the unit financed.
Being listed as lien holder only means that they have a financial interest in the property. You as the owner can still legally sell the property but you must first either get the permission of the lienholder to continue their lienholder position with the new buyer. Most if not all banks will not do this.
The second way to legally sell and transfer ownership is to payoff the lien, the amount due to the lienholder.

What allows a lienholder to recover or repossess is Article 9 of the U.C.C. (Uniform commercial code). Their is one federal U.C.C. code but each and every state will either adopt that code as their state code or one very similar to the federal code with some changes.

Losing the title, that can be viewed two ways.
In todays market most if not all financed cars and trucks will be filed as an electronic title with the state DMV. Since it is electronic their is no way to physically "lose" a title.

The other way to lose a title is in the paper form but this is no problem because as the last legal owner on record you can simply apply for a lost / duplicate title. In Florida it costs $100 bucks.

The last way title can be lost, so there is actually 3 ways, is when a mechanic shop or a tow yard puts a mechanics lien on the unit.
This process usually requires certified letters going out to the last owner on record as well as any lienholders along with a notice of sale pending in a newspaper.

If neither party satisfies that mechanic / tow lien then the unit can be sold at public auction which in essence wipes out the lienholder status as well as the last owner (meaning you) on record.

Here is a very usefull link, for Colorado, where you can check a vin number on something you may want to buy.

https://secure.colorado.gov/apps/dps...blic/entry.jsf
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Old 09-11-2020, 04:37 PM   #14
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I do have to note one other thing, because of covid we can not go to the DMV here in Virginia to get a title replacement without an appointment. These are 6 weeks or more from now. So the easy to do transaction of getting the replacement title for a lost one is still easy just have to wait a long time to go there. I bought a pickup early this summer and it and it was August when I had my appointment to transfer the title. So the dealer may well be on the up and up, just covid is slowing everything down.


By the way Vermont does not have titles for anything over 15 years old. Check out the thread on this forum about Vermont registration.
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Old 09-11-2020, 04:52 PM   #15
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Let me help clarify this just a liitle bit,

Thanks for clarifying. Finance and loans are not my thing and it can be a grey and murky realm.
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Old 09-11-2020, 06:03 PM   #16
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As an adder to Ronnie's post, NH doesn't require title for anything 1999 and older.
Don't know what year the bus is that you've made your deposit on but if it's older than 15 years, or made before 1999, you have other options.

The main thing is whether or not there is a clear title to it. IF there is a lien on it, circumventing the title app process and registering it in VT or NH might lead to bigger headaches than what you have currently!

If it was me, option#3 is where I'd be. There are simply way too many other busses out there with less "baggage".

Good luck and post pics if/when you do take possession of a bus...
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Old 09-11-2020, 06:37 PM   #17
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My advise is never buy a vehicle of any significant value without the title.
It can have a lien on it, meaning previous owner owes money on it, and you will have to pay their debt to keep it. It can also be salvaged which reduces its value.
i lost a motorcycle that way did not get any money back either. the bill of sale was no good it only keeps you out of jail
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Old 09-11-2020, 07:12 PM   #18
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You know I have to ask if you were to wait till they get the title, does that really make a difference? If it is a bus you really like, and you let it go, how soon will you find another? You might be running around trying to save time and end up taking just as much time as just waiting it out on this one.
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:21 PM   #19
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Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies! Update on our situation: turns out the title has now magically re-appeared so we're going to pick it up this week!

We did have them send over the full maintenance history and a copy of the lien release from the bank just to be safe. Thankfully it seems like everything checks out, although would of course love to hear anything else we should be cautious about on this front.
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:56 PM   #20
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Dealers lose titles all the time and it’s easy for them to replace one. I’ve lost a title or had one destroyed more than once so I just went and got a new one
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