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Discussion Starter #1
I hope this is the right place to post this.....

There has been some recent talk here regarding the use of "Title Companies" to obtain titles on old finds.

Some states make it fairly easy to re-title a bike, in other states (like Indiana) it's almost impossible.
Worse yet, still other states (like Wisconsin, I think) actually title on engine numbers.

As I understand the way these companies work, they title the bike in an "easy" state under their own name, then transfer it to your name in your state.
I'm not a lawyer (thank God), so I can't comment on the morality or legality of this procedure.

You should just be advised that, if the rightful owner ever presents themselves, you WILL lose the bike - you will NOT be compensated for any work, money or time you've put into it, and you may even face litigation by the State.

Do a Google on the late Boyd Coddington of American Hot Rod fame (God rest his soul) - he got into some very ugly litigation regarding this, and lost his shorts a couple of times when previous owners suddenly appeared to reclaim expensive restored/customized cars, which he had re-titled using one of these companies.

So, just be warned - the decision is yours, of course.
But, like Steve, I won't even consider an un-titled purchase.
 

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Sensei
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OK....Just so you don't think I'm totally against transfers without signed titles.... I have and will accept a sworn, Notarized, bill of sale and/or "other" transfer under at LEAST two, preferably three of the following circumstances:
(1) The bike is inexpensive enough to "lose" IF the "real" owner is found, and wants the bike back (see #3)
(2) I have the numbers "run" through NCIC and they are "clean"....(A friend who is a police officer helps)
(3) I "run" the numbers through the DMV (Costs $15 and takes 10 to 15 days) and the last owners name, last known address, and lien status on the vehicle are available.... In Virginia, the DMV notifies that person (s) of the location of said vehicle, and they have 30 days in which to retrieve it...If they fail to do that, the state considers the vehicle "abandoned", VOIDS their title and issues me an original, valid title to the bike... (this only applies to vehicles originally or last titled in Virginia)
(4) The title is correct, but was never transferred to the present seller,(open title) and the sale date is blank or under a year old, the purchaser information is blank, AND the seller will also sign a notarized bill of sale.
(5) The named owner is deceased. I get a copy of the death certificate, and a notarized Bill of sale from the exectutor of the estate in addition to the title.

If they can't provide legal documentation, simply don't buy it!

I KNOW this all sounds like a pain, but if we make it harder for undocumented bikes to be sold, we are really protecting the ones we have..... ALWAYS get a Notarized bill of sale EVEN if you get a signed title, IF you have no way of verifying who actually signed it..... Basically, C.Y.A....Grand Theft is a felony!

I have only had to "return" one bike in the last 10 years, and the notarized BOS kept me from any legal ramifications..... And, it was due to a lien being on it, NOT because it was stolen... I could simply have satisfied the lien, but it was for way more than the bike was currently worth...and Banks have no sense of humor about THEIR money...

Forgive the lecture, I've had bikes stolen from me..... Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'v had bikes stolen too, Steve - it's definitely a major bummer.

My experience in Indiana:

Someone gave me a '79 CB400T2, less than 3,000 miles, they wanted it out of their barn.
They had purchased the farm 20 years ago and had no idea where it (the bike) came from or who it had belonged to. The previous property owners were long gone and forgotten.
The bike had an old Indiana plate on it.
I did a State search, Indiana could find no trace of the bike's VIN or the plate !!!
So I ran a Search in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan, same story.
I talked to a State Trooper buddy, his opinion was to forget about it.
By then I was out close to $100, and no closer to a title, possibly even further away.
So I took his advice and cannibalized it for parts.
 

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All good opinions, I'll run the vin in TECS, NCIC and LEADS "Illinois info system" tomorrow and see what I come up with.
 

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I'll be interested to see if that title service "flies" with Illinois' Secretary Of State. I do know one thing for sure- a bill of sale will NOT get you a title, no matter what motivated sellers tell you! Sellers without titles always tell you how easy it is to get a title using one of these services. Then why didn't they use it before putting their junk up for sale? If the bike is legitimate, previous owner should apply for lost or duplicate title. Somebody legally owned the bike previously...
 

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Hmmm......

I've dealt with a few non-titles vehicles over the years. Yep, it's a pain. I pretty much don't even bother anymore, other than for parts.

But, a few of you (and MORE than a few title agency clerks), seem to feel that there is no possible scenario by which one could legitimately come to be in possession of a title-less vehicle. And such people just never must deal with the lower echelons of society. Some lower echelon folks just aren't too bright. They'll 'legitimately' lose the title in a move from one low-rent apartment to another, or lose it when they move (or get thrown) out of their woman's apartment. Or, the owner will spend 90 days in the county lock-up and she throws all his stuff in the dumpster... Then, such a guy is generally leery of police or government agencies in general, so they'll not get a replacement. Then, the vehicle gets used to pay off some debt (legitimate or otherwise...) and the vehicle is on it's way to being title-less. Or the fellow, bumping along on the bottom rungs of the ladder has some work done to it (by perhaps a fellow who ALSO is bumping along the bottom rungs of the ladder), then can't pay it off (spent his paycheck somewhere else...). Or, makes some bad choices re: driving it with an expired tag cause he doesn't know how or is afraid to get title. And then, such owners can easily change locations and nearly completely vanish from local legal authorities. NATIONAL authorities, no, but local county agencies - sure.

And on and on...

SOMEHOW there should be a legitimate means of re-establishing a title for said vehicle, rather than consigning it forever to be just a parts machine.

But, that's just my opinion. And, as I said, I've dealt with such vehicles over the years, and after all this time, I just don't usually bother anymore...

Just my two cents.

Kirk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
kirkn said:
Hmmm......

But, a few of you (and MORE than a few title agency clerks), seem to feel that there is no possible scenario by which one could legitimately come to be in possession of a title-less vehicle.
Kirk
Kirk -

I don't believe I gave that impression - if I did, I didn't mean to.
Hell, I'm probably a "lower-echelon" type myself. Most of us here have known hard times, and I personally have a real nice boat I'd like to sell, but can't for the life of me find the title.
Titles do indeed come up missing, to a variety of people for a variety of reasons.

I was only trying to speak to the realities of dealing with situation you find yourself in when you get a bike with no title.
In my state, at least, it ain't a good thing......
 

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No, Bill, I didn't mean to criticize you, or anyone in particular. I've read two or three threads in the last few months on various different boards on title-less vehicles and they're all kind of jumbled in my mind. But, clerks, on the other hand... whew, you'd think one was asking about having sex with their child or something. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
kirkn said:
No, Bill, I didn't mean to criticize you, or anyone in particular. I've read two or three threads in the last few months on various different boards on title-less vehicles and they're all kind of jumbled in my mind. But, clerks, on the other hand... whew, you'd think one was asking about having sex with their child or something. :lol:
Understood Kirk - this here particular forum is about the friendliest, most flame-free one out here, for sure.
Most of them (internet forums) are absolute flame-pits, full of arrogant, elitist young kids, who've never had a hard time in their short, slef-entitled lives.
It's "funny" (not really) how the anonymity of the internet emboldens people to write and act like idiots.

And clerks??
Well, nothing really needs to be said there - they have their little check lists on their clipboards, and if all the right squares aren't checked, you're SOL....
 

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I didnt have good luck with International Title Service. The State of Ohio DMV here in my area didnt acknowledge their paperwork as legal and wouldnt issue an Ohio title with it. I got some pretty shitty treatment from the ITS guy when I finally got him to answer my phone calls to make sure that he got my money and paperwork after it took a little longer than the website said it would take.
I ended up selling the bike and was out the ITS money that I paid them. They did send me a plate from another state that I rode the bike on for a year though so it wasnt for nothing. But it was an expensive year of riding my Honda 305 Dream the few times I rode it. If i had known it was only going to be for one year I would have ridden it more.
No more title services for me, it will be the legal way for the State I am living in or I wont buy the bike without a title. Think about it, the only reason you are going to a title service is because you dont know how to make it happen in your state or it is next to impossible. Check with your DMV before you throw your money away.
IMHO.
Don
 

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dlslick said:
I didnt have good luck with International Title Service. The State of Ohio DMV here in my area didnt acknowledge their paperwork as legal and wouldnt issue an Ohio title with it. I got some pretty shitty treatment from the ITS guy when I finally got him to answer my phone calls to make sure that he got my money and paperwork after it took a little longer than the website said it would take.
I ended up selling the bike and was out the ITS money that I paid them. They did send me a plate from another state that I rode the bike on for a year though so it wasnt for nothing. But it was an expensive year of riding my Honda 305 Dream the few times I rode it. If i had known it was only going to be for one year I would have ridden it more.
No more title services for me, it will be the legal way for the State I am living in or I wont buy the bike without a title. Think about it, the only reason you are going to a title service is because you dont know how to make it happen in your state or it is next to impossible. Check with your DMV before you throw your money away.
IMHO.
Don
Wow, Thats unreal.
I would have thought, because of their being a company doing interstate business, they would have a disclaimer saying which states their services/titles are not recognized in or they are not able to do business in. You dropped 100 bucks or what ever, for them to provide the service of suppling you with a usable title. As the state will not recognize their supplied title, I would think that they could be sued in small claims for failure of performance, ie..paying for a service not recieved.

I'd write them a letter, explain to them your situation, ask them for a refund, due to lack of performance, give them a time frame to give you a written response or a refund in, cc: a copy to the BBB and your states Consumer Advocates Office and send it to them certified mail.

If that doesnt fly, I'd sue em just to be a pain in their a$$.....It'll cost them that 100 bucks just to respond to the suit. You'd at least get your money back or know you caused them grief.
Go back and re-read their fine print. Start there....It doesnt cost a lot to file a small claims suit. Heck, I'd do it just on principal.

Henry
 

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They're SUPPOSED to get a title in their state, right? Then transfer that title into your name. That would essentially mean you bought the bike from them, from their state, and could transfer it to your state? I thought that's how the process was "supposed" to go??

GB :mrgreen:
 

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Bird76Mojo said:
They're SUPPOSED to get a title in their state, right? Then transfer that title into your name. That would essentially mean you bought the bike from them, from their state, and could transfer it to your state? I thought that's how the process was "supposed" to go??

GB :mrgreen:
Yeah, but what he's saying is that Ohio wont recognize their stuff and wont transfer the title to an Ohio title. Least thats the way I understand him to be saying.
Henry
 

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Naaah, I don't think you get a genuine out-of-state title. I think you get a bill of sale from a state where they don't require titles on vehicles older than 19xx and you get a copy of that state's law. YOUR state is SUPPOSED to recognize & respect that other state's laws and go ahead and issue you a title in your state.

I'm not sure where the second state gets off denying people titles. To me, it seems a legitimate loophole. However, lots of folks are reporting that their state does, indeed, deny titles when handled by some of these companies.
 

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I would've went to EVERY SINGLE DMV in the surrounding 50 miles!!! I can't stand that place. I think we may have a DMV worker here, so no offense if so. Nothing personal.

GB :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Bird76Mojo said:
I would've went to EVERY SINGLE DMV in the surrounding 50 miles!!! I can't stand that place. I think we may have a DMV worker here, so no offense if so. Nothing personal.

GB :mrgreen:
In Indiana, you have to use a DMV office in your county of residence...
And transferring any out-of-state vehicle requires a physical inspection by a State Trooper.

I don't even bother with untitled bikes anymore, not in this state anyway.
 

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It wasnt a title it was more like a bill of sale. I dont know if I saved it but I could look to see if I still have it. All that I would suggest if you are going to deal with ITS is to contact them and try to talk to them to see what you are actually going to get.
If I remember right the paperwork came from some trucking company.
It looked and felt sleasy to me.
I am past it now and really dont want to steer people from ITS. I have heard that quite a few people have used them and are satisified with their service. It just didnt work for me in Ohio and if I ever consider a bike without a title again I will try to go the up front, legal, and safer way by using the proper procedures of the State that I live in at the time.
If you sell a stolen motorcycle to ITS and then they sell it back to you........ YOU get to return the motorcycle to the rightful owner. ITS still gets to spend your $.
 

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Good Points!
Kirk-I have bought bikes without titles and would consider each on a case by case basis. My one neighbor died at about 91 and they found two bikes in her chicken house (was she riding late at night and is that why she was always happy?)My other neighbor has a 350 Honda from my house that the renter said he would “pick up later”- I moved in ’88! I sold the first neighbor’s bikes for parts and as of now still waiting on the renter.
Bill- I think the FBI used Boyd as an example to the collector hobby. Good example .
Steve- Do they still let you do # 3 in Virginia (something about that doesn’t sound right)? I thought they stopped that procedure.
 

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Sort of....I havent actually done it in several years, but as I understand it:...You now have to request the information on an "abandoned vehicle" through the DMV, and pay a fee... They research the info and send the certified letter to the previous owner (you used to do this part yourself).... Once they get confirmation the letter was recieved, and no one shows or claims it in 30 days, they issue you a title after the numbers are verified by the state police, and you pay for the title and the transfer fee.......Sounds easy, but the vehicle must have been originally purchased and registered in Virginia .....If out of state, you must do the research and also provide the DMV with verification as to why the vehicle is in your possession... Signed work order, tow authorization, out-of-state title,or whatever paperwork you get from the "previous" state, and you must have a current business license for that type of business...whereupon it becomes a "mechanics lien " situation...You usually need the valid business license to get the info from ANY state.... This also can apply instead of the "abandoned" situation for a Virginia vehicle..... It's ALL about the state getting their fees....
 
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