Car title woes
April 17, 2018 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Help me get this car off my hands. Why is it so hard to prove sole ownership of my car so I can simply sell this car with its released, out-of-state title, and plenty of supporting documentation, too?

After much effort, I finally got possession of my car and its title awarded to me in my divorce. My attempt to sell it to a certain Nirvanic online national car sales service ended up wasting a bunch of time and energy, involved me talking and emailing and texting with several different people at this company for a period of over a week, and resulted in them declining to accept my title. Which is perplexing.

I recently temporarily moved to a new state. The title is from the prior state. (This is kosher for now according to the new state.) My title was deemed in writing by my prior state’s DOT licensing official (via email) to be a released title in my name only that is perfectly valid for the immediate sale of my vehicle anywhere in the US.

The title is in my name and the name of my ex spouse with ex spouse’s release signed and dated at the bottom; hence on its face the title states I am now the sole owner. The title has no liens on it, and has never had any liens. In further support of my having clear, good, saleable title to my car, I also have a divorce decree stating I was awarded this car, an executed Bill of Sale for the car from my ex spouse releasing their interest in it, a copy of my email conversation with prior state’s DOT official explaining it’s a valid title since ex spouse signed the release, and proof that I have been solely insuring this car.

Nirvanic Car Company’s ultimate issue for not accepting my title was that they believed (erroneously) that my divorce decree does not contain the vehicle’s VIN number— but it does due to the Bill of Sale addendum to that decree which clearly shows the VIN number. They suggested I upload a copy of my ex’s ID and then have my ex spouse present at pick up. Then they suggested I go back to court and get my decree changed to show the VIN number of the car (....but, but my decree already does show the VIN number like I have been telling them after uploading a 30 page document and pointing them to the section that shows this.)

So. I would love to try to sell my car with another car buying service where I can upload everything online, and that would come pick it up from my house. But after my surprising time-wasting experience with that company, I want to be sure I’m dealing with a different company that understands I actually do already have sole, saleable title to my vehicle. Any suggestions??
posted by edithkeeler to Technology (7 answers total)
Not exactly what you're asking for, but can you go to your (temporary) state's DMV and have them print a clean title with only your name on it?
posted by jon1270 at 8:48 AM on April 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Seconding jon1270's idea. Depending on which state you're in now and the state it was originally titled in, it might be easier to do locally or via mail, but getting a new copy of the title is the easiest option. I paid off a previous car I owned and technically you're supposed to go in and get the title lien officially removed, but few people do. The same goes for other minor title changes -- you technically are in the right with the stack of documentation, but getting a fresh title issued collapses it all back to one piece of paper and it's easier to deal with.
posted by mikeh at 9:14 AM on April 17, 2018

Is there a reason you want to go with the online car company? You might have better luck doing this locally. Big national companies are not always good at handling anything nonstandard, whereas a smaller local buyer might be more willing to make a judgement call.
posted by mskyle at 9:15 AM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thirding just get a title in your new state.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:35 AM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would love to try to sell my car with another car buying service where I can upload everything online, and that would come pick it up from my house.

Per mskyle's comment, this may be the sticking point. If convenience means more to you than final sale price, you might check in with a local, independent (i.e., not a dealership) car lot. These folks are acquainted with all the ways you can get this car off your hands. You might luck into a buyer who would come and pick up the vehicle. In any case, you would get good advice.

Remember, also, that although it may appear inconvenient, dealing with someone face-to-face on detailed paperwork like this can often be easier than attempting to do it online.
posted by John Borrowman at 9:36 AM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

It sounds like the car company believes that they themselves would have to spend a lot of time verifying that all of your legal documents are legit, and that they don't want to spend the time.

Nthing that the easiest thing for you to do might be to just get a clean title in your current home state.
posted by vignettist at 9:37 AM on April 17, 2018

Thanks, all! I’m going to have the title flipped over to a new title in the new state, which, in this state, means I have to show up in person with the vehicle at a government office (because: laws), but at least I should now be able to get this car off my hands soon once and for all. This is harder than it needs to be. Thanks again!!
posted by edithkeeler at 12:16 PM on April 17, 2018

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