Dealer unknowingly had me sign void title

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by puma1552, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. puma1552, Mar 21, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011

    puma1552 macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    So I bought a car recently. The dealer (a legit Ford dealership in Iowa, not some shady used car place on the side of the road) sent me the title (I live in Japan but bought a car for my return later this year so I have something right away), I signed it to transfer ownership, and they sent it in to Minnesota (where I will be) to get it registered and transferred over to me. So basically I bought a car from out of state, no big deal, happens all the time.

    Well, the license plates showed up for it, and it's registered and legal to drive now in Minnesota as it should be, registered in my name, also as it should be as my name was on the registration app.

    However, the state rejected the title transfer. They said that the Iowa title submitted was void, because there was a newer Iowa title in their database. They sent me a letter saying that I need to sign and submit that most recent Iowa title instead, at which point they then will issue the proper Minnesota title to me.

    I contacted my salesman on this, and he had no clue what to do, so he has forwarded this issue onto the sales manager, and I'm waiting to hear back.

    So, in short--I bought a car, but the title that they had me sign was not the most recent one, and since the newest title always voids previous versions, that means the title I signed was void, so the state won't give me a new title in my name until I/we submit the most recent title. Truthfully I'm not sure how this slipped past the dealer when they took the car in on trade. The car has a clear title, but I'm surprised the dealer was able to take it in on trade on an older title (their name is on the title I signed, from when they took the car in on trade) instead of the most recent one.

    My guess is the previous owner probably thought he lost the title and applied for a duplicate to replace it, then somehow found the older one and accidentally traded the car in with the older title by accident instead of the newer one. If the previous owner can be contacted and locate the newest title, I guess that would be the best...but if not, then where are we at?

    I've got a paid for car sitting in the old man's driveway with current plates and registration in my name, but I don't yet own it legally since the title hasn't been transferred yet. What would happen? Would the dealer have to take the car back and refund my money or what? What about the registration in my name, even if they did that?

    Mistakes like this shouldn't happen at a major dealer, IMO.
  2. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Is this a used car (I think it is).

    It could be a re-build, and the wrecking yard has the valid title.

    I hope I am wrong, but it does happen that cars are written-off, sold for scrap, but repaired.
  3. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    Yes, it's used, but to my understanding dealers cannot legally sell a vehicle with a rebuilt/salvaged title; they have to, by law, be clear-title vehicles for them to be sold, meaning they won't/wouldn't take in a car with a title issue on trade.

    In fact, damage disclosure statements signed at the time of trade in would prevent the dealer from being able to take a salvaged/rebuilt car in on trade even if they wanted to, not that they would want to deal with those at all, as far as I know.

    The State of Minnesota did provide me with the Iowa title number of the most recent title that they need, not that I have any way to verify if a title is clear or not based on number.

    FWIW, the title I signed was dated 2/08, and the newer title that they are looking for was dated 4/08, not that that really says anything I guess.
  4. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Has it ever been titled in another state? Different states have different title laws.

    That said it sounds like a mistake. Is the dealership working with you or telling you to go pound sand?
  5. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    Yeah it's an Iowa car and is now being titled in Minnesota.

    The manager of the dealer said she was going to try to get in contact with the previous owner to locate it, otherwise they will file for a duplicate from Iowa and then submit that to Minnesota. As long as whatever title they come up with, be it the previous owner's or a duplicate, as long as it's clear then we are fine.

    But I did tell them that in no uncertain terms will I be keeping the car if the new title turns out to be rebuilt/salvaged.

    This is just retarded, because it already takes 8-12 weeks for MN to issue a title, so who knows how long it takes Iowa. Then they have to send it to me in Japan to sign, and I have to send it back. I'm not really going to be too happy if it takes 6-7 months from now to get a title in my hands, when as it is I paid for the car in full February 7th. I told them I'd take the car on January 31st, paid them February 7th, signed everything via them sending it the slowest possible method to me (two weeks) , then got the run around on delivery until it was finally delivered March 14th. Got plates this past weekend finally, and now I have no title and won't for probably six months. I'll be lucky to have a title before I get back to the US in September.
  6. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    Well, the office manager emailed me to let me know she got the title from the previous owner already. It's actually newer than the one MN is requesting, and thankfully it's clear so I guess we are fine.

    Luckily I don't need to sign it, they said that's just for the odometer statement but the car is old enough that it's exempt, so they can just send it in to MN, though they were willing to send it to me here to look it over if I wanted. She also checked with Iowa to verify that this is the most recent title on file, which it is so MN should accept it.

    So I guess I am fine, whew.
  7. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    Hey, the dealer scanned in a copy of the title for me to take a look at, but I'm not sure what I should or shouldn't be looking for, because I don't know if titles explicitly say if they are clear or not.

    I can't find anything wrong with this one, aside from the fact that maybe the dealer should've checked disclosures 1 and 2 under the "first reassignment by licensed dealer" section on the back, and also it looks peculiar that there the inquiry at the bottom shows a security interest (a title loan of all) but the title itself says that has been canceled?

    What do you guys think?




    (Obviously I've erased personal info from the title).

    Thoughts? I think it's ok but I'm not sure.
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Ask the DMV, they'd be your best resource right now. It sounds like the dealer, albeit not some "shady roadside dealer" is a tad bit inexperienced to deal with the resale of old used cars acquired from parties who were able to provide title at time of trade (opposed to those who trade cars with an active lien). I'd also start blocking out all info on the title or remove the scans. You may have protected yourself, but you did not bother to protect other people's information.

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