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Hey everyone, new forum member here. I will be starting to ride next week, and just purchased my first bike off of Craiglist for cheap, a 1998 750CC Honda Shadow ACE. The bike needs some repairs, and a new battery but should be functioning well otherwise. The original owner was an NY resident, im an NJ resident and the issue is that he did not have to title to the bike, though did have a registration and proved that the bike was not in fact stolen. I dealt with the owner's brother for the sake of the deal, as the owner was at work on Long Island at the time.

Without the title, I cannot register the bike in NJ, even with a bill of sale. The owner, displeased that I talked his brother $300 down from the initial price due to the fact the bike wasn't funtional when he showed it to me, and has more cosmetic damage than initially detailed, is refusing to try to get me the title and insists I have to get one from Broadway TItles, whom would charge me $895 to get a title made.

My question to you all is what should I do in this situation? THe brother is going to try to go to the DMV on friday to request a title, but otherwise I am not certain if there is another course of action I can take here.
 

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Gone
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Never buy a vehicle without a title.

Never. Ever.

That being said, there should be a procedure to go through to get a replacement title. Of course, it's probably required that it can only be sent to the owner listed on the title, and he would have to voluntarily sign it over to you. Technically, he could deny that the sale was ever completed and you are in possession of his property and demand it be returned.

Check with your local DMV to see what steps must be taken to replace the title.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I do have a bill of sale signed by him, as well as a mostly filled out request form, and the registration for the bike. When I went to the DMV, they did say I flat needed the title, and would need him to get one from the NY DMV.
 

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Troublemaker
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The guy that has his name on the registration is the one that should get the title, then it can be signed over to you.
 

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Pale Rider
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I went through something similar with a motorcycle trailer... No clear title, as the seller bought it from a friend, and they never transferred the title -- to save a few dollars in fees and taxes.

Long story short: he avoided my e-mails for several weeks, until I presented him with three options: 1) he fill out the necessary paperwork and return it to me (not a title, just his signature on a form, along with the titled owner's signature on said form); 2) I meet him, and he returns my cash, and I return his trailer; 3) I file suit in Small Claims Court ($600 for said trailer). I gave him one week to respond.

He suddenly overcame his "illness" which prevented him from answering my e-mails; I mailed him the form, he returned it with the needed signatures, and the State transferred the title to me. Due to my State's licensing office practices, the title was in limbo for roughly six months -- glad to hear things are moving much faster for you.

You have few options, especially having crossed state lines. Small Claims Court is far from perfect, but it may be your best option. Good luck. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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I do have a bill of sale signed by him, as well as a mostly filled out request form, and the registration for the bike. When I went to the DMV, they did say I flat needed the title, and would need him to get one from the NY DMV.
Welcome to the forum. I had a similar situation, although I had a title, a lien was not taken off the motorcycle properly 2 owners before me. The previous owners never titled the bike in their own names. I wound up offering the last owner to hold title, money for his time and effort to get a duplicate. (finally tacked him down on FB) You may go back to the original owner and see if you can work a deal for $300.(much cheaper than the using one of the services) Years ago I use to be able to get titles for old bikes I was flipping through NH, those days are long gone!
NJ motor vehicle commission in general sucks! They employ thousands who are incapable of solving problems, they only will do what is required of them and for the rest you are on your own.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I went through something similar with a motorcycle trailer... No clear title, as the seller bought it from a friend, and they never transferred the title -- to save a few dollars in fees and taxes.

Long story short: he avoided my e-mails for several weeks, until I presented him with three options: 1) he fill out the necessary paperwork and return it to me (not a title, just his signature on a form, along with the titled owner's signature on said form); 2) I meet him, and he returns my cash, and I return his trailer; 3) I file suit in Small Claims Court ($600 for said trailer). I gave him one week to respond.

He suddenly overcame his "illness" which prevented him from answering my e-mails; I mailed him the form, he returned it with the needed signatures, and the State transferred the title to me. Due to my State's licensing office practices, the title was in limbo for roughly six months -- glad to hear things are moving much faster for you.

You have few options, especially having crossed state lines. Small Claims Court is far from perfect, but it may be your best option. Good luck. Cheers!
:coffee:

Im curious, what was the form you had him sign off on? I currently have his brother that actually met with me in person when i bought the bike whom is going to go to the DMV on Friday to request the new title. Assuming he can't get it, I may have to present this guy with the same options here. The bike was registered in NY, but sold to me in NJ where I live, so I assume the processes should be very much the same as what you had to do, I just want to be sure.
 

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Lets say that you win in court. An award in your favor does not mean much if the person that you are to collect from is an ass. You could put the account up for collection, ask for another court appearance to make him appear for a creditors exam, and the list goes on. If the guy has and wants to keep a good credit score, you can point out to him that your efforts can make everything he buys, including car insurance cost more and his little hissy fit in not giving you what you need can cost him big if he wants to continue his childish behavior. If he is at the bottom of the pile credit wise, it is just a waste of your time and money.

The final option is a wage garnishee, but you have to know where the guy works. I have had to wait ten years on one ass who chose to tear up an apartment because of breaking doors and walls when fighting with a girlfriend. His name and more importantly his place of work finally showed up in court records when another landlord garnisheed his wages. He finally 'grew up" enough to get a good enough job that instead of quitting a job and skipping every time creditors came after him, that he finally has to have 25% of his wages confiscated with every paycheck . The money will not buy as many groceries as it did ten years ago, but there is interest to add and ten years will make some of it back.

Karma. Three thousand dollars worth....
 

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Im curious, what was the form you had him sign off on? I currently have his brother that actually met with me in person when i bought the bike whom is going to go to the DMV on Friday to request the new title. Assuming he can't get it, I may have to present this guy with the same options here. The bike was registered in NY, but sold to me in NJ where I live, so I assume the processes should be very much the same as what you had to do, I just want to be sure.

I would imagine you will have to have him get a duplicate title from NY, or the last state that issued a title for the motorcycle.


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Good luck in your title quest,I went through something similar on a boat and it sucked,that's why I will never buy anything without a clear title in the guys name that I am buying from.i have passed on some pretty sweet bikes because of no title,it just isn't worth the hassle to me.
 

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Pale Rider
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Fenixvale,

It was a form the State gave me. I filed the "correct" paperwork in December, along with my check to the State of Minnesota, and then I waited... Finally, four months later, I went in to ask where my title was? It took me several visits to the License Bureau office, along with several phone calls, before I got the form. I used the legal phrase, "I acted in good faith with the State." That caught her ear, and she knew I was frustrated -- not with her, but with the State, who sat on my paperwork, and kept my money, without issuing a title. She understood I was ready to take the State to court. Once they gave me the form, my only option was to take the seller to court, if he failed to comply.

Slumlord is correct: if the seller wants to be a dick, your options are limited, and potentially expensive, to try and recover your money, or the title. A legal threat, however, will carry a lot of weight, if he has any decency in him -- if not, well... Winning in Small Claims Court is not a slam-dunk victory. In Minnesota, you have to go to District Court, with your Small Claims Court victory in hand, and file suit again, before you can begin the wage garnishing process. Most folks don't know this, so it might work for you.

The fact that you are dealing with two States, makes it worse. Start with your State's Department of Motor Vehicles, and work from there. Every State has slightly different procedures, and regulations. You could also call your local PD, and explain you might have purchased a stolen motorcycle, and ask how to proceed. They will either tell you to go to court, or they will open an investigation of a potential inter-state sale of stolen property (might qualify as a federal crime -- could be a great bar for leveraging the seller to get you that title...). Best of luck! Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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Fenixvale,

It was a form the State gave me. I filed the "correct" paperwork in December, along with my check to the State of Minnesota, and then I waited... Finally, four months later, I went in to ask where my title was? It took me several visits to the License Bureau office, along with several phone calls, before I got the form. I used the legal phrase, "I acted in good faith with the State." That caught her ear, and she knew I was frustrated -- not with her, but with the State, who sat on my paperwork, and kept my money, without issuing a title. She understood I was ready to take the State to court. Once they gave me the form, my only option was to take the seller to court, if he failed to comply.

Slumlord is correct: if the seller wants to be a dick, your options are limited, and potentially expensive, to try and recover your money, or the title. A legal threat, however, will carry a lot of weight, if he has any decency in him -- if not, well... Winning in Small Claims Court is not a slam-dunk victory. In Minnesota, you have to go to District Court, with your Small Claims Court victory in hand, and file suit again, before you can begin the wage garnishing process. Most folks don't know this, so it might work for you.

The fact that you are dealing with two States, makes it worse. Start with your State's Department of Motor Vehicles, and work from there. Every State has slightly different procedures, and regulations. You could also call your local PD, and explain you might have purchased a stolen motorcycle, and ask how to proceed. They will either tell you to go to court, or they will open an investigation of a potential inter-state sale of stolen property (might qualify as a federal crime -- could be a great bar for leveraging the seller to get you that title...). Best of luck! Cheers!
:coffee:
NJ is probably one of the most difficult states to get a problem like this resolved in. I would try to get the owner that last held title to work with you, offer him the 300 for his time, and see if he can get you a duplicate title from NY, might cost you a little, but probably will be less than going through one of those companies. I would save the threats for absolute last resort as it will burn any bit of bridge you may have left. but worth a try at that point.
NJ will assume the worse and make you miserable trying to satisfy this.
 
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