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Old 08-21-2019, 04:20 PM   #1
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RV Purchase Complication

I just purchases a 1986 Ford RV from a towing company. I purchased it from 1800 and signed transfer and reassignment paperwork. The towing company is telling me that they dont have the title because it was abandoned. My question is how to i go about making sure this vehicle i just paid for is actually mine? I need the title in order to register it. I apologize if iam missing any information but if any help can be thrown my way i would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:25 PM   #2
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Sorry I can't help with that! Have fun and keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:33 PM   #3
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Contact your department of motor vehicles.
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:37 PM   #4
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If it hasn’t gone thru the proper process in your state-you don’t. Not knowing where you are from- I’d start with the local or state DMV or sheriff office and they should be able to tell you how (or if) you can get a clear title. It’s usually a long and drawn out process if you can get one at all. I wouldn’t put a dime into it until you get one as the registered owner could show up and take their property back and you’d be out.
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:48 PM   #5
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First question on a vehicle purchase is always "Do you have a clean title ?" If the answer is no I get back in the car and drive away.
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:56 PM   #6
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Contact your department of motor vehicles.

In Florida I'd start with the county Tag Agency.
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:08 PM   #7
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:19 PM   #8
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Depending upon what state the tow company should fill out lien sales paperwork. They should know that! In actuality it is common for tow companies to file lien sale paperwork so they can sell vehicles to recoup their tow and storage fees. It is usually no problem. They should have lien sale paperwork to legally sell a vehicle. Like I said, they should know that.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:19 PM   #9
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Again this varies by state, I have an old friend that owns a tow truck business, who deals with abandoned vehicles all the time (15-20 per year). In my state the process involves him holding the vehicle for I think 6 months, at which point in time he can start the process of filing for the rights to the title, this involves sending a certified letter to the title holder (often a bank), waiting I think 30 days, then I think sending a second certified letter, waiting an additional 14 or 30 days, at which point he files paperwork with the state for right to claim the title. When he sells the abandoned car, he also gives the buyer the certificate from the state for right to claim the title, which they then file with the state at the DMV when they register it, and the state mails them the title in 10-20 days. With this system my friend never has the title to the abandoned car in his name, only a right to claim the title.


I know if the title is held out of state, it somewhat complicates things, surprisingly lien holders seem to almost never want to reposes an abandoned impounded car, particularly if they don't know if it runs. While most of the cars my friend has ended up getting through the process are junkers, there have been a few nice ones, and at least one Harley Davidson Motorcycle that he has acquired for cost of paperwork. Often because the previous owner is currently getting free room and board thanks to the state, someone gets pulled over for a traffic stop, they have outstanding warrants, car gets towed and impounded, time passes, ....
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:25 PM   #10
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here in Oregon the sheriff takes care of getting an abandon title. BUT you had better hope that there is NO lien on the title. I sure wouldn't have put down any money until I knew were the title was.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:52 AM   #11
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A legitimate tow company can get a title for a recovered vehicle - every state I know has a procedure for declaring a vehicle abandoned and issuing a new title. The burden of proof is on you, however, to prove the vehicle is abandoned rather than stolen. Merely finding it left somewhere doesn't necessarily qualify it as abandoned. Check with your state motor vehicle office.


The short answer is that the vehicle cannot be titled to you without some proof that nobody else has any rights to it. That could be a long and maybe expensive process. without getting a title, all you can do is salvage parts.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:03 AM   #12
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Basically what you've done is purchase the towing companies interest in the vehicle for their towing and storage fees. This is a lien on the vehicle that in most states supersedes any other lien, even the banks. Sorta like a mechanics lien oh a piece of real estate.



In Michigan, the only state I am familiar with you had to go the Secretary of State (DMV) and get two forms, one to explain how you came into possession of the vehicle and the other for a police officer to inspect the vehicle. Once that was done I took the paperwork down to the Secretary of State paid some fees and the truck was titled to the company that I worked for. I would imagine most other states are similar. With the age of the vehicle there is likely no other liens so you're probably OK. But like everyone else has said, see the local law enforcement folks and the DMV. The towing company should be able to give you some help on this it won't have been the first time they did this. Good luck.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:03 PM   #13
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I have purchased 3 vehicles from a towing company. Each time they gave me lien sale title paperwork that dmv accepted. The tow company does a title search and notified owners on title. They have the option of paying storage and fees to get the vehicle back. After a determined amount of time the tow company is allowed to sell the vehicle. Paperwork is then given to the new owner. If the tow company follows proper procedure it goes easy.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:16 PM   #14
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I think maniac just nailed it
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