By on November 22, 2013

mustangsplus

I admit it. Every once in a while I buy a vehicle that simply doesn’t work out.

Everything checks out at the auction. But then, I get a birthday surprise.

It could be a transmission that randomly goes out of overdrive after about 20 or 30 miles. Or an engine that has far too many aged wires for me to easily track down a stubborn check engine light.

Sometimes I buy a 4000-pound ATM machine that only allows you to put money into it; a rolling lemon, par excellence. Then I have to figure out how to make it into lemonade, lemon meringue pie, lemon tart, and even repair fodder for the other rides on the road that are still lemon-free.

Lemons are never fun… but every once in a while fate has a wonderful way of smiling on a pitiful set of circumstances. 

Two months ago I bought three vehicles at a sale. One good. Two bad, in their own unique ways.

The good one was a ‘99 Toyota Camry Solara SE in red with leather, sunroof, V6, all the options and garage kept. I managed to steal it for $2400 plus a $200 auction fee. By the time I transported it, replaced tires and did some small recon work, I was still south of three grand on a unit that can be easily financed for around $7k.

It would take two years, and plenty of risk for me to realize the potential return (or loss). And when you finance a car to a stranger, there are always serious risks to consider.

Will that customer be honest? Will that car be cheap to keep? Or will I wind up with a ride that has been all ragged out three states away and worth more in parts than as a whole?

Even the grandest of Olds can wind up with a human hurricane of a customer. This glorified two-door Camry still looked promising enough to buy, though. A popular well-made car that attracts an older affluent demographic tends to work out risk wise, so long as you do your homework when it comes to your customer.

That Solara turned out to be the beauty that was bought between two horrific beasts.

I also bought an Explorer, right after the Solara, which seemed to possess the same qualities of good eye appeal and a responsible prior owner.

It had a rip-free leather interior which is unusual for a 16 year old SUV. The sunroof was fast and didn’t leak, excellent tires, and it had a lot of little things that all seemed to add up.

Over the years, I have found that an owner who spends good money on his rubber tends to be one who likely spent whatever was needed to keep the rest of the vehicle in good running order. This isn’t always true, but the tendency is there and those vehicles wind up on my list for further inspection at the auction.

A car with a service contract issued for it is a big plus. One that comes from a buy-here pay-here lot, especially one that is out of business, tends to be a no-no nadir. Michelin and Bridgestone are good, real good. Tiger Paw, generic Chinese knock-offs, and non-matching tires with unhealthy wear patterns are indicative of abuse and expensive suspension issues.

A lot of little things, dozens of them that become apparent once you inspect the vehicle, tend to add up to a complete overall picture of a car’s condition. With this Explorer, I particularly noticed the parts used under the hood such as several replacement parts from the dealership. The top of the line battery, and hoses and belts that were apparently replaced once those expensive parts needed attention.

I also looked at the personal items and repair histories that were stored in the glovebox. They all give you the little ingredients you need to figure out if the owner and the car were right for each other.

This Explorer had the right stuff: Thousands of dollars spent maintaining it at the dealership; common sense upgrades to the stock radio system; no paint fade after 16 years of Atlanta commuting; only 111k original miles. I bought it for $1650 – about a $300 to $400 premium over the usual wholesale price.

Then everything pretty much went all to hell. Not as bad as a Clinton Era Explorer mated to under-inflated Firestones,  but pretty damn close.

It wasn’t the Explorer’s fault. When I bought the vehicle, the lane clerk on the auction block apparently put it under the wrong buyer’s number. The auction was also short-staffed which meant that after a lengthy discussion with a new employee who didn’t know the auction business, and 20 minutes of loathsome waiting, I said to myself, “The hell with this!”, paid for the other two vehicles, and left.

A week later one of the office managers comes up to me and says, “Hey Steve! When are you going to pay for that Explorer?”

My response, “According to the lady that took care of my check-out, it wasn’t mine.”

With a mild smirk she said, “Let me guess. Late 40′s. Blonde hair. Nice smile. How about if we knock off the buy fee?”

The buy fee was about $200 on the Explorer. I figured that alone would be enough to take care of it all. Sure, why the hell not?

The only strange thing is… once I paid for the Explorer… I couldn’t find it… anywhere…

I looked at the sold lot, the lane where new car trades were lined up for that morning’s sale, and even the temporary junkyard where the true horror stories that don’t run wait to be bought by the local auto recyclers.

I checked every nook and cranny of an auction that I have known for 14 years as a member of the auctioneering staff, remarketing manager, and now, car dealer.

The Explorer was nowhere to be found. Well, I’ll just let the assistant manager know about it and have him/her get the lot manager to chase it down.  It’s got to be here somewhere.

The Explorer was gone. Like a well-oiled politician who has finally been given enough taxpayer largesse to retire in sunny Bermuda, all that was left behind of this SUV was old paperwork and the stale promise of finding my property someway, somehow.

And get this: that Explorer wasn’t the only vehicle that wound up missing.

A 1997 Honda CR-V was gone as well, and this one turned out to be a real stress case.

I had bought the vehicle a couple months back as ‘title attached’, which meant that I would have to wait for the auction to get the title. In the meantime, the auction would hold my check.

A seller has 30 days from the time of sale to submit a good title to the auction that is free of errors and issues. A ‘clean’ title.  During that time, the auction holds the buyer’s check and you, the buyer, pretty much have a car without having to pay for it until everything is right with that title.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that most dealers will wind up putting money into that vehicle in the form of repairs and detail work. Sometimes they will never get the title from the seller.

At such times you are left with only two options:

1) Apply for a bonded title. This cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. And good luck if there’s  a lienholder or two that haven’t been paid off on the vehicle’s balance.

2)  Eat the labor cost of each repair. Eat the transport cost of picking it up and dropping it off, and return the vehicle back to the auction.

I have learned through the hard knocks of this business that the second scenario is hellish. A few years ago I had bought a new catalytic converter for an Audi A4 and did about $500 worth of repair work to it.

This Honda started off harmlessly enough. I got the title from the auction within the required 30 day period… except the back of the title where the dealer writes out who buys the vehicle was completely wrong.

The seller never signed off on the title and the mileage disclosures went from 157,000 miles to 187,000 miles. Even though the CR-V had only about 160k.

I called the auction and was told that they wouldn’t deposit my check for the CR-V until the title got cleaned up.

I sent them back the title and two days later, a check for $2090 went through my bank account. Then I never heard back about the title. So I ended up returning the CR-V to the auction along with the Explorer and a couple of other ‘mistake’ cars I bought a couple months back.

I had gone out to where my vehicles were lined up for the auction. Two parking spaces were empty and those two were meant for the Explorer and the CR-V.

I jogged about a quarter mile to the office. It turned out that the CR-V was never checked into the auction according to their records. It never showed up.  Two phantom vehicles with nearly $4000 invested. Gone.

I went behind the counter with the office manager… looked at the paperwork for the CR-V… something looked fishy…

“Hey. It says here that the last entry to the CR-V was on November 13th. My hauler dropped it off on the 8th according to my records, and how could Cobb County Hyundai pick up this vehicle if it had never been checked into the sale?”

It turned out that the vehicle had the same old bar code on the window from two months back. When the car was brought back to the sale, the car was never given a new one. Hence, no record of check-in. Cobb County Hyundai had picked up the vehicle because it went over the 30 days needed to provide me a clean title.

That solved one mystery. But what about the other…that pesky Explorer?

I found that one behind the repair shop. I drove it back to my other vehicles, and realized that the odometer wasn’t ticking over. So I drove it around more, and more, and more, until I was sure that the car indeed had a broken odometer.

My saving grace at this point is that everyone I deal with at this specific sale is nice and experienced. I can’t tell you how valuable these two qualities are when constantly buying and selling automobiles. So we ended up undoing the Explorer deal and I agreed to put the vehicle under my own name when it went through the block so that it can sell for a decent price.

The Explorer sells. But with the new announcement “True Miles Unknown”, it sells for only $800. I go inside and get my old check for $1650 on the Explorer, and a new check for $2090 on the CR-V. I then thank the Lord for helping me stay solvent in a time of high weirdness, and spend the remainder of my day organizing the 53 other vehicles that are either a repair or a customer away from being sold.

A lot of you have experienced the same scary scenarios of losing everything when it comes to your cars.

Maybe your car could have been lost, stolen, driven through a flood caused by substandard sewer work, or even struck with the white lightning of catastrophe. Feel free to share your story. Since I am most thankfully finished with mine.

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40 Comments on “Hammer Time: Reversing the Clusterscrews...”


  • avatar
    Halftruth

    This one didn’t happen to me but an acquaintance sold a 77 Gran Prix to a young kid in the state of MA. Kid beat the snot out of it and tried to return it within three days. Seller says no way. The kid parks it at the edge of a huge parking lot (near where they passed the orig paperwork) and leaves it there. Neither party budges. Winter comes and with it, snow. Lots of it. Eventually the car is covered as this is where the dozers placed all of the snow from cleaning the parking lot. Come spring, the car is still there and it is absolutely trashed and mangled. They duke it out in court and the seller had to pay the kid back. So he lost the car and the money. Ouch.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      How did he lose the fight on an as-is used car sale? I don’t get that. Is there a 3 day no fault provision where you can return a car and the seller must accept?

      That sounds really antiquated.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        This acquaintance disappeared shortly after this happened so the details went with him. There may be something omitted thru the passing of time but this is pretty much how it went down. It may have been two days or even four but I do remember the car being flat bedded away and it is amazing what all that snow will do to a car underneath it. I don’t live in MA so I am not sure what the used car law is there.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        “The Used Vehicle Warranty Law requires private party sellers to inform buyers about any and all known defects which impair the safety or substantially impair the use of the vehicle. The law applies to all private party sales regardless of sales price or mileage. If you discover a defect that impairs the vehicle’s safety or substantially impairs the use, and can prove that the seller knew about the defect but failed to disclose it, you may cancel the sale within thirty days of purchase. The seller must refund the amount you paid for the vehicle, less 15 cents per mile of use.”

        Also:

        “The Massachusetts Lemon Aid Law allows you to void or cancel a motor vehicle contract or sale if your vehicle fails to pass inspection within seven days from the date of sale AND if the estimated costs of repairs of emissions or safety related defects exceed 10% of the purchase price.”

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        If the buyer was a minor, that’s all it takes. A minor, and/or minor’s guardian, can void a contract between said minor and the second party either before the minor reaches the age of majority, or a reasonable time thereafter. This is true for everything except the “necessities of life”.

        Consider the following scenarios:

        If a Jimmy, a minor, buys a Big Mac and eats it, can the parents demand a refund, because the kid didn’t have permission to buy the Big Mac? No. Since lunch is a basic necessity of life, and a Big Mac is not an extravagance, the kid’s parents would likely not prevail on such a claim.

        Jane, a minor, buys a $20K mink coat with the inheritance she got from her grandmother. Could the parents make the seller take back the coat? More than likely, even if Jane tore the coat at a Justin Bieber show. Yes, but isn’t a coat considered a necessity of life in a places where winters are cold? Yes, if she bought it from Old Navy. A $20K mink would be considered an unnecessary extravagance.

        I know this because this was a lesson I learned early in life. When I was 21, my 20 year old friend sold his Kawasaki dirt bike to a 15 year old. After the kid tacoed one of the wheels, the kid’s father called my friend and demanded that he take back the bike, and return all the money, or he would file a claim against my friend in court. My friend called his older brother who was a newly minted lawyer at the time. The lawyer told him to refund all the kid’s money and be thankful the little POS didn’t break his neck on the bike.

        Moral of the story: Never do business with underage kids.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    This is why I only pay scrap value for used vehicles and typically re sell in the low end , all cash market ~ once it’s gone , it’s _gone_ .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Holy cow, when do you find time to actually sell cars?!

    Interesting read. I would love to see a narrative some time that takes the reader through the entire process of you buying a car, sprucing it up, advertising it, then all the way to the final sale/financing.

    Of course, without giving away any of your secrets!

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Well I don’t know the end of this story yet .Bought an Olds SUV and hadn’t quite gotten it home when the check engine light came on. Turned out to be the transmission. Put it in for a rebuild and when the mechanic did the test drive the CEL came on again. The electronic block was selecting two gears at the same time. Now he is putting in a transmission for the second time.

    I know the front end alignment turned into control arms and a hub so I’ll be sinking about $2500 into it before I drive it much. Got it pretty cheap and bought in order to help out a daughter. I plan to drive it for about 5 years and normally figure It will pay off in this way. May be the last “second car” I buy.

    I normally buy, sink money into them, and drive the wheels off. So far it has worked. YMMV

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      That’s the risk with some cars. My brother’s Mercedes ate its transmission, but the real cause of death was the control module that commanded the trans to do things it could not. $5K later the car ran again. At 66K miles. What a disaster.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I bought a Beetle before I got my license. My sister dropped me and friend off and promptly dissappeared (this was way before cell phones). On the way home we stopped for gas but didn’t have any money at all so we had to scrounge through the seats looking for change. About a mile from home it died. Turned out there was no oil in it, towed it to a VW specialist. They put a breaker on the engine and couldn’t turn it at all. DOA. $250 down the drain.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I recently bought a car with a $10K deposit. There were some errors in the contract so the deal had to be rewritten. This dealership was 90 miles away so as a courtesy they sent a rep to me with the new car and we rewrote the deal with a new $10K deposit. I mentioned to the rep that he hadn’t brought my old deposit check with him, but he assured me it would be destroyed. Yep, you guessed it both $10K checks were deposited reeking havoc to my checking account causing everything to bounce.

    Now, here’s the thing, dealers are programed to take money, not refund it. Everyone I talked to agreed the error was their’s but no one seemed to know how to back it out, hmmm. Now this is a huge Chicago dealership group that own seven separate dealerships and they don’t know how to cut a $10K check? (bounce, bounce, bounce more big fees)I’m now a little frustrated and decide to track down the guy who’s name is on the marquee, well, he just died, serious, a month before the owner dropped dead of a heart attack at 56. The operation is now run by his widow and his mother, wonder how that’s working? Anyway they had just hired a new operations manager and I was his first problem. It finally got squared away and they paid all fees and charges, but it was a horrible week.

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Once bought a 95 Aurora with the intent of repairing it and selling it. 140K on the odometer, but it ran nice and the paint cleaned up well. Bought some wheel center caps and replaced the CD/stereo so that the message center would work. Still needed wiring repair at the driver’s door as the window would only operate when the door was open, as well as a front wheel bearing.

    Then I spot an ad for a local Chrysler dealer offering $2K over book value for trade ins. Maybe the Aurora is worth more as a trade since I only paid $500 for it. The dealer looked it over and made me an offer that I could refuse. So I went home, bought a wheel bearing to replace the bad one, and parked the car in the driveway.

    A week later, I got up on a Saturday morning and looked out the front window. Saw tire tracks through the puddle at the curb in the outward direction, but couldn’t see the Aurora since it was hidden by my garage. Figured it was the guy who delivered papers coming and going out of the driveway. Two hours later, a friend came by and said “Where’s the Aurora?” It was gone. I had all the keys on a chain in the house, so it wasn’t my fault. Maybe someone at the dealer had made a copy of the key and came and stole it?

    I reported it stolen, but the cops were intent on blaming it on something I had done. A week later, they sent me a letter asking me if I had found the car. If not, they weren’t going to look for it anymore. So much for the “Auto Theft Taskforce” BS.

    Oh well. At least I was only out about $700 in total. I took the wheel bearing back for a refund since I never put it on the car. I would have been really mad if I had.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I suppose I had this happen. I bought a 2002 Golf TDI in June 2011 that had ~200000 miles on it. Paid $4400. I put new tires on it (and bought alloys for it from Tirerack), replaced all the suspension components, did the full timing belt kit, and drove it for a year. With everything said and done, I had probably put about $6500 into it. Drove it for a year and then decided I wanted a new car because it was 9 years old and who knows what else might need replacing in the future. So I bought a new Jetta wagon. Sold the Golf for $4600 so I pretty much broke even – if I don’t think of all the time and money I put into it in that 1 year period. Oh well, lesson learned.

    And I agree with your assessment of tire purchases. People that buy decent name brand tires typically care about their car and their safety (and the safety of drivers sharing the road around them). I recently spent about 2 months researching tires. I think I might have spent more time researching tires than a lot of people do before having kids.

    Also, I’d love to see a post like what kosmo describes. It would be very interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      I put in my time researching tires as well, but always end up buying the nice Michelins (for the past ten years). Pilot Super Sports for my beasts and Latitude Tours for the wife’s CUV currently. Don’t know why I still bother looking elsewhere.

      I notice that guys who wheel and deal in cars tend to judge a potential purchase just as much by the tires and replacement parts as by the running condition, just like Steve here.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        It’s true. My soon to be 22 year old station car sports Michelin MXV4 Energy tires, Koni struts and upgraded rims, seats and swaybars. Amazing how a bit of extra care makes a car last.

        • 0 avatar

          Yep. I keep good Michelin LTX tires on my 320,000 mile 95 Explorer, and lots of people always comment on how nice and new it seems. It’s funny when tell them the age or the miles on it and their jaw just drops. They think its an unreliable pile of junk, and then I tell them that I’ve only been under the hood of it once this year for an oil change.

          Even my ratty old ’77 Chevelle wears a nice set of Uniroyal ww tires that have outlasted the Coopers I put on it 4 years ago, which replaced a set of random assortment of mismatched sizes and brands

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    And here I was thinking the article was going to be about how you had to demolish half the interior to replace the blower motor on something you bought, just because one of those speedy screw clips stripped so you couldn’t remove the console.

    • 0 avatar
      Omnifan

      The clips usually don’t strip out. The one installed in the most inaccessible location breaks on the end so the whole screw just rotates endlessly. Removing it then requires 72 hours of labor taking the car apart to get at it.

  • avatar

    One of the first cars I bought when I was 19 was a 74 Alfa Spider. It wasn’t running, and the seller claimed he owed the PO $500 to get the title. But he would take my money, get the title, and also help me get it running.

    Of course I never got the title. When I went and talked to the PO directly it turns out he never got anything from the a-hole who sold it to me, so I would have to pay him $1500 to get the title.

    I ended up selling it to a wrecking yard as a parts car and lost about $1000 and a bunch of time. The upside is that I learned a valuable lesson young, for not a lot of $. And I did learn a ton about wrenching on cars getting that Alfa running. And I still like Alfas, go figure.

    That which doesn’t kill you…

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    Steve, how do you do transport, tires, and reconditioning on the Solara all for less than $400? That’s amazing!

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Not really. I typically pay $50 to $60 per vehicle for transport. I replaced two tires for about $150, and a good detail job is about $50, and the pdr work was about $100.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        Cheapest tire that I have been willing to put on a family member’s car was $100/tire new. Decent detail jobs start around $200 here. Not sure if we are taking apples-to-apples here since you’re trying to flip a car and I’m trying to maintain a car for family use.

        • 0 avatar
          Steven Lang

          If your family bought over 100 tires a year, they wouldn’t be paying $100 per tire.

        • 0 avatar
          Flybrian

          I can attest to that is about average ‘cheap’ recon spend.

          I can chalk myself up to:
          $50-70 detail
          $40-100 transport (depending on distance, of course)
          $30/tire for good used take-offs; $60-100 for new
          $30 Oil/Filter Change
          $100-200 panel for bodywork
          $30/panel for PDR

          Plus I have a porter on staff for a few hundred a week who can do window motors and light recon, etc.

          A lot of times I have my friends help transport from the sale because there is apparently some desirable allure about driving a used sled for free.

          When you have to run with low overhead, you’ll be surprised at how cheap you can get things done for. And at good quality, too.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            $30 a panel for PDR is a good deal. I guess it works out when you have a lot with many panels. But even when I was a PDR guy full time, I wouldn’t do it that cheap.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Steven also said he avoids cars that have been in the possession of BHPH lots.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    If I had to document how many times an auction has put the screws to me, I’d still be writing…

    Latest one was a repossessed 2008 Ford F-250 Crew Cab Lariat Diesel 4×4 with 81k miles we purchased on Simulcast. Announced as ‘ALTERED SUSPENSION: LIFT KIT”, we paid $25,4…all the money and then some, imo. Get the vehicle back and – lo and behold – its not a Lariat. Its not even an FX4. Its an XLT that’s been badged up as a Lariat. This was done either by the previous owner or possibly by the previous retailing dealer to powerbook the vehicle as a Lariat to score a large advance (trucks are notorious for having vague VIN decodings and this was a Westlake repo on top of it).

    Also, the truck did not have a life, merely blocks under the rear springs, and also was missing catalytic converters. So are 9 out of 10 used Diesels on the market, but it has to be announced.

    Anyway, I contact the fleet/lease rep. “What can we do to keep the deal together” How about a $4000 adjustment? “No, just send it back.”

    Truck gets returned to the sale Thursday morning. That afternoon, I’m at the sale again looking at cars and the truck is being run again – this time properly announced as an XLT with missing cats. We still want the unit, so I wait until someone opens, and high-bid at $20,800. Rep is about to sell it, looks up from his sheet, sees its me bidding, and goes “No sale.”

    WTF? Like I’m trying to scam something? Like the sale should’ve known better?

    So I ask what it takes. He goes, “Close to what you bid the first time.” Ah-herp-derp-derp. Asshole.

    I try to pick up a ’13 Accord LX from the same lane a few cars down. High bidder again and he refuses to sell.

    I guess I made a new friend…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Good article Steve, its so nice to have you back.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Thanks. I’ve had more than my share of run-ins with bad reps.

      But on the other side of the fence, I have also been the rep who was given the thankless task of breaking up collusion between sellers. Even if it meant no-selling a ton of cars and running the bid up to reflect the prices that thse vehicles brought in other markets.

      I remember one guy in Lakeland had the nerve to go up to me in front of everyone after I no-saled a car, pointed his finger at me, and said…

      “I buy cars from you!”

      I didn’t react, and just kept on doing what I was doing. By the end of the sale vehicles were going at or above their usual prices. I credit at least part of that to my ability to simply say, “I need XX,XXX” without emotion, and not register a reaction to the local irritant.

      Flybrian, if I were you, I would just try to have a casual conversation with the guy next time without bringing the event up. 95+% of the guys in the rep side of this business just want to avoid taking those $4k+ hits (he may have been reamed by his boss for missing the fact that it was an XLT) and have an easy going time of it.

      The one constant in this business is that there are always more cars. They may not be good… but they are always there.

      • 0 avatar
        Flybrian

        If your ‘friend’ in Lakeland was a 49 year-old dressed like he was wearing a mediocre Magnum PI Halloween outfit with deep-tinted glasses, dyed spiked hair, and a dyed mustache, then it was my old G.M. ’cause it sure sounds like something he’d do. If it was, he probably told everyone what a ‘f*ggot’ you were, went to the bathroom to do a bump, and return 15 minutes later to pay clean book for a rough 120k-mile Expedition.

        As far as my ‘friend’ the rep goes, I’m going to let it subside for a sale or two and take your advice. I understand the situation he is in, but I would hope he fully understands mine as well.

        And you’re right – there’s always another piece of metal down the line.

  • avatar
    April

    In April 2012 my then girlfriend gave me her 1997 Honda Accord sedan with 177K miles. While I got it for “free” I ended up putting quite a bit of money into it. Front engine seal, timing belt, spark plugs, plug wires and battery. A few thousand miles later I replaced the steering rack and front struts plus four new tires. By the time I was done I put about $3K into it. Right now it shows 204,000 miles and it’s a pretty decent driver. Hopefully I can keep it going for another year or two without any major expense.

    P.S. In spite of the car we are still friends. :)

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    Is a free car like a “Free” puppy as in there NO free puppies?

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Never had any real post-purchase problems of my own, although I had a post-sale issue once (actually, only once because virtually none of my cars have survived me).

    Sold a ’97 Cavalier to a coworker’s friend for $100, signed off on the ownership, and proceeded to not think about the car again. That was until I got woken up by a call from the police on a Saturday morning. Apparently one of the new owners never got around to legally certifying and registering it, just slapped some plates on it and got themselves pulled over. The police were fairly sure I had nothing to do with it (thanks to the signed title), but suggested I went to the ministry and signed off on it no longer being my car.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      The state of Washington has a Report of Sale form that you, as a seller, should always fill out. This will prevent the scenario of the buyer failing to transfer title and running up a bunch of tickets that come to you.

      Years ago I bought a car from a guy I know, and after trying to get a title from him, went to the previous owner whose name and address were still on the registration and asked him to fill out a lost title form. I went ahead and transferred the title. A couple of years later I bought another car from the same guy and sure enough, no title. So again I went to the previous owner and asked him to fill out a lost title form. Again, he did quite willingly, and told me that he had not been paid the agreed amount that he’d sold the car to my seller for, and that guy wasn’t going to get a title from him until he got paid, or hell froze over.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Are Uniroyals really that bad? I haven’t owned any myself, but it always seemed like a respectable tire manufacturer to me.


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