Buying a Scooter with out a title!
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Enthusiast
Red 2004 ET4
Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 98
Location: Portland, OR
Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:57 pm quote
FYI (This was posted on Craigs List here in Portland...)

"I recently had a chance to buy a scooter in California that didn't have a title. Then there was a Vespa for sale here in Portland this week that didn't have a title. The owner claimed that getting a title was "very easy. He had a friend that told him, "All you have to do is go down to DMV and they "look it up" and in a few weeks you get a title."

I see on eBay that many sellers tell you, "it comes with a Bill of Sale." In most states a Bill of Sale is required ONLY to prove how much you paid for the vehicle so they can charge YOU the right amount of tax. It has little , if anything, to do with passing legal ownership from one individual to another.

Fortunately I was smart enough to call the DMV first (it's actually not that difficult to get them on the phone). I was told that in the case of California, the purge their databases every 4 years if a vehicle goes unlicensed. So if you buy a VEHICLE OF ANY KIND in California without a title that hasn't been licensed in at least 4 years, the chances are excellent that you will never be able to get a title and, as a result, a license plate and tags to be able to legally drive it in Oregon. The lady at the DMV was very nice. She told me, "every state is different."

When it comes to any issues about titles, licensing requirements, required documentation, check with our DMV FIRST. What a seller might tell you is going to be in his best interests, not yours. How can some guy selling his 25 year old Honda that he got from his brother-in-law in South Dakota (without a title) have the knowledge necessary to satisfy DMV. And if he tells you, "I called them and this is what they said," I'd be particularly suspicious because that tells me he's not sure either.

I was told that without a properly signed off title from the seller, you are likely never going to be able to legally drive the thing on the streets in Oregon. And especially beware of these foreign imports (you know, the scooters they are rebuilding in Viet Nam and Indonesia. In addition to having absolutely terrible reputations as mechanical nightmares, getting them titled can be impossible.

Even if you eventually find a lost title to that 1962 Vespa, how are you going to find the guy that last owned it LEGALLY so he can sign off on it? It might have been sold 20 times in the last 45 years and half the people that have owned it are dead or have moved on.

I told a guy in an E-mail that was selling this Vespa in Portland without any documentation about this. He said, "I had a neighbor go down to the DMV and they sent him a title in 2 weeks."

CHECK WITH THE DMV BEFORE BUYING ANY VEHICLE WITHOUT A ORIGINAL, SIGNED OFF TITLE. Better yet, get the seller to go down with you to the DMV and show you how easy it is. Better be safe than sorry. Boy, am I glad I didn't spend $3,000 on that Vespa in California. In addition to a big chunk of change to get it shipped here, there was no legal way I could get it licensed in Oregon.

Check DMV first. (Sorry this is so long....you can lose a lot of money this way).

Thanks!
Michael"
Hooked
1962 Lambretta TV175, 2001 ET4, 1972 Honda CB350 1969 Honda CL350
Joined: 10 May 2006
Posts: 327
Location: Folsom, CA
Sun Sep 24, 2006 9:24 pm quote
Completely wrong! I have registered non titled vehicles before. In fact I'm doing it again tommorrow. Main thing to remember. Run the VIN's by the DMV to make sure they haven't been reported stolen. Also get a bill of sale. Heres how it works. In my case I will use my 1973 Honda CB350G that I'm going to reg. tommorrow.
1.) Verify VIN with DMV (motorcycles have 2, engine # and frame #.) If it's stolen don't buy it. In my case it has fallen off of the records due to not registering it for many many years.
2.) CHP inspection. Get the correct forms from the DMV and take the bike to the CHP for an inspection. If everything goes as planned go to step 3.
3.) Take the signed CHP papers, bill of sale, and new registration papers to the DMV. Pay the fee and get your title. NEVER, EVER, bring an old license plate to the DMV.

Like I said, I'm doing this tommorrow, I'll let you guys know how it goes.
Addicted
Piaggio BV500, Genuine Stella, P200e
Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 821
Location: Atlanta, GA (Milton)
Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:02 am quote
This is the same process you have to go through with the off-brand Chinese scooters. I've put up a page on the process in Georgia, which is similar to most states I've heard.

It boils down to getting the VIN certified, and having a Bill of Sale & Certificate of Origin if it's new.

http://web.mac.com/dru_satori/iWeb/Words%20of%20a%20Geek/Scooter%20Registration.html
Ossessionato
Piaggio BV 250
Joined: 01 Jul 2006
Posts: 2348
Location: Alameda, CA
Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:40 am quote
I think the important thing to note is that, as D45 said in the original post, check with the DMV first - make sure you know what the rules are in your state. Every state is different and I am sure that some of them have wacky rules with regard to this. What is correct in CA may be out of wack in OR, etc.
Ossessionato
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 2670
Location: pacifica,ca.
Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:48 pm quote
chris666 wrote:
Completely wrong! I have registered non titled vehicles before. In fact I'm doing it again tommorrow. Main thing to remember. Run the VIN's by the DMV to make sure they haven't been reported stolen. Also get a bill of sale. Heres how it works. In my case I will use my 1973 Honda CB350G that I'm going to reg. tommorrow.
1.) Verify VIN with DMV (motorcycles have 2, engine # and frame #.) If it's stolen don't buy it. In my case it has fallen off of the records due to not registering it for many many years.
2.) CHP inspection. Get the correct forms from the DMV and take the bike to the CHP for an inspection. If everything goes as planned go to step 3.
3.) Take the signed CHP papers, bill of sale, and new registration papers to the DMV. Pay the fee and get your title. NEVER, EVER, bring an old license plate to the DMV.

Like I said, I'm doing this tommorrow, I'll let you guys know how it goes.
why not ever bring a license plate to the dmv?
what if it's a really old one and you'd like to use it on the bike/scooter it came on?
Member
2002 Vespa ET4
Joined: 16 Feb 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Cerritos, CA, USA
Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:27 am quote
Re: CHP inspection--What do they look for?
Regarding CHP inspection - what do they check for? Which locations of CPH do this service? What is the service fee? Jay
Veni, Vidi, Posti
BV 350, Aprilia SC 300, LX150ie, Buddy 125
Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Posts: 6047
Location: Oregon City, OR
Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:41 am quote
You are right to warn folks about the retitling of a used vehicle. After all, if it were so darned easy to retitle a vehicle with no title or a lapsed title, why doesn't the seller go do it. Vehicles without titles sell for much less than vehicles with a current title for good reasons. One of many possibilities is a lien on the title before it lapsed. Many of the same comments can be made about salvage titles. In Oregon, for example, a salvage title is forever. No upgrade to a clear title. No insurance coverage. Very difficult to sell at even deep discounts for these reasons. Don't get into this "no title" or restricted title problem just thinking that it will all work out. Do your homework!
Molto Verboso
Joined: 24 Jan 2008
Posts: 1743
Location: Santa Margarita,Ca.
Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:54 am quote
Re: CHP inspection--What do they look for?
jayrama wrote:
Regarding CHP inspection - what do they check for? Which locations of CPH do this service? What is the service fee? Jay
The chp records on stolen vehicles go back at least 25 years. That is what they are looking for. Just coz the dmv doesn't have record of the vehicle doesn't mean it's good to go.

To sellers that say getting the title is easy, why don't they do it? DUH, there is a problem.
Destroyer of Worlds
Beverly 125, Vespa GT200
Joined: 12 Aug 2007
Posts: 1937
Location: London, United Kingdom
Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:34 am quote
My P didn't have a title when I bought it, and it was off the DMV records. I just had to get the VIN inspected (any police officer can do it, even most DMV offices have a VIN verifier), fill out a new title application, and attach the bill of sale and a Statement of Facts attesting to the vehicle's history (saying that the vehicle had been stored in the back of a garage in pieces for 20 years, so that registration fees were not due for all that time.)

I got my plate on the spot, and the title came two weeks later. Possession really is 9/10 of the law. If you have the bike in your possession, and it hasn't been reported stolen, then chances are you'll be able to register it just fine. In many states, when ownership is questionable, the DMV will require that you get a title bond for some percent of the value of the vehicle, in case someone makes a claim against you. Or, they'll issue a "non-transferable" registration without a title, so you can pay the fees and legally ride the bike, but you can't sell it until you prove ownership.

Of course, this is all just my experience in California. Your mileage may vary.

http://scoot.net/faq/Register_a_barn_find

(edit: Also, it's extremely important when dealing with DMV to refer to your 150cc or bigger scooter as a MOTORCYCLE, not a scooter. Even 125s can get away with this. Otherwise, they'll think it's a moped and get confused.)
Ossessionato
2010 Vespa GTS 300, 2007 Vespa GTS 250, 2007 Vespa GTV, 2002 Bajaj Legend 150 and a bunch of broke down vintage scoots
Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Posts: 2848
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:25 pm quote
vespa auntie wrote:
why not ever bring a license plate to the dmv?
what if it's a really old one and you'd like to use it on the bike/scooter it came on?
In California, if the registration is off the books and you don't have any paperwork proving that that plate (1963 or newer) was registered to that bike, the DMV will not let you re-register the bike using that plate, and the DMV will likely insist that you surrender the plate to them before you can get your new registration, and bye-bye cool old plate. Hang the plate on the wall in your garage and tell the DMV you don't have a plate when you go to register the bike, so that you can gaze lovingly upon that cool old plate for many years to come.

However, if you have an old CA registration card or CA title showing that the plate was issued to your bike in the past (i.e., showing both the plate number and VIN on the same piece of paper), the DMV will begrudgingly allow you to re-register that plate to the bike, even if the registration has been off the books for years. That is the only way to re-register an old plate, and there's no way in hell you can register an old plate to a bike that wasn't registered to it originally, with the exception of a personalized plate. 1962 and older plates can be registered to a vehicle of that year under the YOM (year of manufacture) program, which gives a really nice touch to a vintage bike. Hope this helps!
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