There are many risks involved in buying a car without a title. To illustrate that, we’re going to tell another story from our staff’s collection of embarrassing personal experiences. It’s another edition of Title Gods Stories… at least this one has a happy ending.
It would be easy for us to tell you that buying a car without a title is a risky process, but then we’d be just another clickbait article popping up on your news feed between videos of fast cars and cuddly cats. The Title Gods staff hopes that by telling our personal stories and embarrassing ourselves on the Internet we will help save you from making our mistakes.
Long ago, in a state far, far away, one of our staffers bought a car without a title from a person he’d never met before. He made some easy mistakes while trying to replace the title, allowing the seller to take advantage of him and nearly landing both of them in court. Some say it’s a better story than the Seth Green classic Without a Paddle (2004).
Without a Title: A Title Gods Story
The Risks of Buying a Car Without a Title
Of course, there are those who would rather let someone else handle replacing a lost title. That’s exactly what we do at Title Gods. Our process is quick and easy, and our prices start at just $399. Bookmark our services now in case you ever need to recover a lost title.
Personal details were changed, but this all actually happened.
Our resident car hoarder
Matt works on old Chevys from the 1950s. Original parts are hard to find, so when a good non-running parts car came up for sale Matt was on it like bugs on a windshield. The car was advertised without a title and the seller, Bob, said it had been lost years ago.
Bob’s the seller and Matt’s the buyer. Matt and Bob. Got it? Okay.
Before the sale, Matt ran the VIN number and it came back clean, giving him the green light to order a replacement car title. He then hooked up his trailer and drove several hours to see the car, grinning from ear to ear about how great it would be.
What could go wrong?
The Storm Brews
Matt arrived to find the Chevy exactly as he had hoped. All the parts he needed were in great shape, and the rest of the car wasn’t bad either. It turned out Bob was unfamiliar with the process of title recovery, so Matt explained that it’s cheap and easy to replace a car title you lost. An enlightened Bob agreed to apply for a new title and send it to Matt in the mail as soon as it arrived.
After paying Bob in cash, Matt wrote up a bill of sale. It included the date and amount of the sale and spelled out that Bob would recover the lost title and mail it to Matt as soon as possible. Bob agreed to those terms, both parties signed, and Matt drove away with the car in tow.
The Plot Thickens
A few weeks later Bob called to say he received the title. But there was a problem: Bob wanted Matt to pay him more money before he would send the title. We’re not talking $10 mind you, we’re talking hundreds of dollars. Bob reasoned that the Chevy would’ve been worth more with a title and therefore Matt should pay him the difference.
The Final Act
“Okay, that’s obviously blackmail. Call the police or something. Or better yet, TP his house.”
You’re right, from a factual standpoint it’s pretty clear what happened. Bob realized he had something Matt needed and he took that opportunity to try and make some extra money. But the sale had already been completed and Matt already had the car, and it was all in writing, so what gives?
Some people would just cut their losses and let it go. They’d turn to a company like us, replace the title for less than the blackmail amount, and go about their life. Others would pay the blackmail and be done with it. But not Matt.
Magically, after a polite threat of legal action Bob was convinced he should honor the original deal. It’s a good thing that’s all it took: in a court of law that bill of sale would have proved indispensable in upholding Matt’s side of the story, but the legal proceedings would have taken months to unfold and cost hundreds of dollars – even more if an attorney got involved.
A prolonged lawsuit would have caused Matt undue stress and inconvenience, and he would have been unable to license, insure, or sell that Chevy until the whole process was complete.
And to think it all could have been avoided.
How to Avoid Getting Blackmailed Over a Car Title
In all fairness, Matt took most of the proper precautions for buying a car without a title – running the VIN, writing a bill of sale – but unexpected things can always happen.
Here are a few ways Matt could have avoided this dangerous and risky outcome altogether from our discussion on How to Buy a Car Without a Title.
By not buying the car at all. The wisest path is often the hardest to follow, but Matt could have forgotten all about that Chevy and waited to find another one.
By asking for more details upfront. Matt could have clarified the lost title situation before driving over there, saving both parties time and frustration.
By filing for the lost title himself. He could also choose to replace the title himself providing he had two bills of sale: one from when Bob bought the car and another from when Matt bought it. In most states Matt could give that paper trail to the DMV, explain the situation, do some quick paperwork, and get a new title. The cost of doing this? Usually less than $20.
All very good ways to avoid a lot of trouble.
It All Worked Out in the End
In short, buying a car without a title is a risky process. The real trick to success is keeping the ball in your court. Avoid situations like Matt’s by doing all the legwork yourself, and by preparing as much as possible before the sale takes place. Finally, don’t be afraid to stand tall if you know you’re in the right.
If you have any questions about lost titles or what Matt’s favorite Avengers movie is, contact us and we’ll help to the best of our abilities.