Private Party Long Distance Vehicle purchase on ebay. Paperwork.
March 20, 2014 6:37 PM   Subscribe

Private party Car sale on eBay. FL Resident Buyer. PA Resident Seller. Car to be shipped. Buyer will not be traveling to PA. Please explain the title paperwork as if you were teaching a five-year-old. Full info and more inside.

For a friend.

"I am a resident of Florida. I would like to buy a car listed on ebay that is titled and located in Pennsylvania. Clean title. no liens. Title in buyers possession. Car fax checks out. I have had Pennsylvanian friends inspect and drive the car, view the title, and it is a very good buy.

Because of work and schedule obligations for the foreseeable future I can not travel to PAto pick up the vehicle. I would arrange for a professional auto transport to pick up the car in PA and deliver the vehicle to me in FL.

What is the specificprocess both me and the buyer must do in PA and FL for me to legally have the title signed over to me long-distance. Specifically the process in PA and the process in FL.

P.S. I have AAA"

Thanks in advance, gang. :-)
posted by sandra_s to Law & Government (3 answers total)
1) This will only work if the deal is sensational. And that said, if it's too good to be true, be very suspicious.

2) Please consider hiring a mechanic that the seller isn't affiliated with to look at it.

3) How good are your friends who looked at it? If they don't know what to look for, then there approval is only worth so much (could look stunning with a new high dollar clean, but also have a serious operational problem under the shine).

4) AAA will be able to tell you the answer to your question

5) If they can't, then look at both the PA and FL DMV site to make a list of all required paperwork and forms.

6) If this is daunting to you, then you HAVE NO BUSINESS DOING THIS. It seriously wreaks of a bad idea. I would run from this. If you know nothing about buying used cars, you might consider hiring an expert or experienced friend to help you. Also consider buying a new car that will retain it's value well (like a Honda or Toyota which you can always sell easily if you change your mind). Currently, all of the money to be made in car sales comes from the used market (because there is a lot of cars with issues and a lot of suckers who like to buy them).
posted by Murray M at 1:52 AM on March 21, 2014

I bought a car (local in FL) which had a California Title in a private sale. It was a classic car, so no plates and it was never registered in FL. A simple matter to sign it over and obtain FL title and registration along with an official bill of sale.

On every car title I've seen, there's a spot on the title for the seller to sign, and the buyer to sign with the accompanying purchase info, effectively giving you ownership until you can get the title transferred into your name officially at your DMV.

I kinda agree with Murray though. Buying a car sight unseen from another state isn't the best idea in the world, but I can definitely understand the sentiment. If you really want to go ahead with this and have a warm, fuzzy feeling with no alarm bells:

I would put the money for the car into escrow, and once the buyer is notified the money is present, the buyer could sign and FedEx me the title and notarized bill of sale. Once I have the title in hand I would have the car shipped down, preferably having my friend who test drove it in PA present when the car is loaded to ensure against unlikely shenanigans and more importantly to make sure the VIN matches what's on the title.

If I could negotiate with the seller to not release the funds from escrow until the car is inspected by me and/or my mechanic in FL, that would be even better, but that might be a stretch to expect.

Once I have the car and title, I would go to the DMV and register it.

If everything goes smoothly, and I receive what I expect, no problem. Of course, if I am delivered a car that is damaged or somehow unsatisfactory, the buyer will likely place blame on the carrier (or tell me to suck it) and vice versa. It's a risk, likely small, but it depends on your personality and how lucky/unlucky you feel about this purchase.
posted by Debaser626 at 7:26 AM on March 21, 2014

I just realized that this was a purchase on Ebay. Not sure if PayPal will do escrow-type services, as I try to stay as far away from Ebay as possible*.

*(personal resentment against their customer service, nothing bad against products purchased)
posted by Debaser626 at 7:33 AM on March 21, 2014

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