Possibly Screwed?
October 2, 2012 12:44 PM   Subscribe

My best friend bought a motorcycle out of state (seller in OR, we're in WA). Seller claimed to have 'misplaced' the title and would send it to friend ASAP. Trusting the guy, my friend didn't even get a Bill of Sale. Two months later, tabs have expired, no title and seller AWOL. I suspect he bought a salvage title bike and since he (facepalm) didn't get a Bill of Sale, he might be out several thousand dollars. Does anyone know of any action my friend can take?
posted by black8 to Shopping (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd enter the VIN here and see whether it pops up as stolen or salvaged.

Was it a cash transaction?
posted by jon1270 at 1:05 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I emailed my friend. He says that the guy he bought if from's family owns a dealership. He called the dealership and they confirmed that the seller bought the bike there and had some work done on it, so he doesn't think it's stolen. I'll pass along the VIN check, just in case.

I'm more worried that he got sold a salvage titled bike. But he says he was able to insure it. Wouldn't his insurance company check the VIN to make sure it was legit?

I told my buddy to check the engine and frame numbers to make sure they match and send a Affidavit in Lieu of Title to the guy by registered mail. I don't know what else to tell him...He's one of the smartest people I know (really!), I guess he just was entranced by Ducati lust and lost his damn mind.
posted by black8 at 2:29 PM on October 2, 2012

Sue the dealership for the title or to undo the deal and get his money back.

Next time, you can't let him out without his keeper.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:32 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have owned in my lifetime a number of vintage Vespas. These are bikes whose registration has long expired, paperwork has been thrown away, etc.

It really depends on what state you're in, but I think the best thing to do is get a bonded title. Basically, you get a title through an insurance policy stating that the bike is not stolen or abandoned, TO YOUR KNOWLDGE. First step will be to check the VIN number, obviously. In Texas, if you have the bonded title for 2 years and no one else makes a claim on the bike, it's yours. You can then use the bonded title to get a proper title.

But there should be no reason why, if he's still in contact with the seller, he can't get the guy to write up a bill of sale. This will make things a MILLION times easier.

Here's a link to a generic bill of sale. These generic forms are readily accepted in Texas.

Here's info on getting a bonded title in Texas. You can probably find same for your state via google. Note that in Texas you have to follow all the steps as outlines in the link in the EXACT order, unless you want to waste a week of your life at the DMV.

And tell your friend to get a bill of sale next time.
posted by Brittanie at 3:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

More info explaining exactly what a bonded title is. Basically, just like a bail bond vouches that you'll make your court date, the title bond vouches for you that you are indeed the owner of the vehicle, in the absense of a normal title.
posted by Brittanie at 3:43 PM on October 2, 2012

In wa, bonded titles are three years. You have the vehicle inspected by the state patrol, you get the bonded title, and you wait. Your local DMV can fill in the details, call not at 4:00 on a day near the beginning or end of the month for less harried help.
posted by maxwelton at 4:08 PM on October 2, 2012

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