car registation nightmare
October 2, 2008 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Help me get my car registered in the state of California.

I am at a loss. Here is the history:

Car was purchased new in the state of Minnesota.

Car loan was paid off while living in Massachusetts.

I now live in California, and am attempting to register the car here. The title was lost in the move (and I can't remember which state was listed on the title). According to the DMV here in CA the car can't be registered here without the title (if someone knows that to be false, let me know).

I applied for a duplicate title from the state of MA. They mailed the request back, saying "[loan company] must release the title." I called the loan company, and they said "all we can do is send you the lien release." I received that, but a rep from the state of MA on the phone still says the loan company has to "release" the title. I can't get anything beyond this conflicting info. Anyone have an idea of what to do here?
posted by MillMan to Law & Government (3 answers total)
The car was purchased in Minn. I suggest you check there. The dealership you bought your car from should be able to help.
posted by JAD'E at 12:49 PM on October 2, 2008

I think "release the title" = "lien release" -- you get that to the MVA in MA, then they can get you a copy of the title.
posted by KAS at 1:42 PM on October 2, 2008

You send the "lien release" to the state that holds your title, and they generate a new title without the lien on it, and send it to you. Then you take that to the CA DMV.

Make sure the VIN on the lien release exactly matches what your title says, or the state will reject it. I once made the mistake of not filing the release with the state as soon as I got it. By the time I did, and they sent it back because one digit was off, the loan company had gone bankrupt. It took a lot of work to track down someone legally responsible for the bankrupt company's obligations, who could re-issue the release with the correct VIN on it.
posted by nomisxid at 2:03 PM on October 2, 2008

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