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Thread: Bike without a title advice.... HELP!

  1. #16

    bike title, etc..

    Also, as for stolen... the bike was wrecked.... so either the guy wrecked the stolen bike and then put it in a truck to try to sell it, some one else recovered it and tried to sell it or the police made a record of the stolen bike after the accident and it went to the salvage yard... but I would think that once the police got involved they'd realize it was stolen... and someone who steals a bike probably wouldn't try to sell it after they wrecked it(unless he was really dumb)... so if it was stolen, I would guess it was someone who found the bike and wanted to get a couple of hundred dollars by selling a bike that wasn't his...... that sounds like a lot of work and risk for a couple of hundred dollars.... and most junkies don't have pickup trucks....

  2. #17
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    I have just gone through something similar to this with a good friend. She dropped her '87 K75C and chipped the fairing by the turn signal and slightly scratched the engine case, unfortunately she dropped it on her leg and broke it in two places. She filed a claim for the bike and for her medical and they came back with a total loss. She elected to keep the bike for $200 off the final award, with minor cosmetic damage it seemed a shame not to.

    The insurance adjuster mentioned several times that when folks keep bikes after a total (and accordingly keep the title) there is a different reporting procedure to follow and even admitted he actually wasn't quite sure what it was. He went on to mention that because of gaps in red tape or because many people simply don't bother, many times the title brand never actually makes it to the title and the title itself remains clear.
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
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  3. #18
    Registered User
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    Dec 2007
    Reno, NV

    Web research

    I live in Nevada, but California is close by, with a lot of bikes for sale. Some I have called about had no title. Each time, the titleless seller would claim that I could affidavit it dormant, or whatever story, and I could title it here.

    So I went on the NV DMV website, and started hunting thru all their forms with regards to purchase, titling, and registration. Some of these forms would also have instructions, which cite the statutes the forms were designed to fulfill. After reading thru the relevant laws, I could not find a procedure which did not begin with a title from any state. I did call the titling division and they verified this was true.

    What I am suggesting here is you do the same, but with Arkansas, as you mentioned, or whatever state you choose (don't bother with NV!). Back into the process. Wade thru their forms, read the instructions, look at the cited statutes, and see what the procedure is for your situation, if in fact there is one. Most states also have an administrative code, like the Federal Register, which has pretty much the force of law. If there is a legal procedure, and you do your part, they also must follow it, and give you your title. Of course, you must have all, and I mean all, the required documentation.

    It is also very helpful to bring pertinent pages from the DMV website, codes, etc.,as you are proposing an unusual transaction. I went into NV DMV with a slightly odd titling transaction. The clerk refused to process it, claiming my papers were not in order. I politely gave the clerk the relevant pages, summarised them, they went to a supervisor, and a few minutes later it was "sorry to keep you waiting sir". It pays to be polite and prepared.

    IIRC, I saw either Georgia or Florida had a procedure for what you want to do. You may want to start there.

  4. #19
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Marion VA-In the middle of some of the best riding in the country.
    Quote Originally Posted by BuddingGeezer View Post
    My solution is for states that will not license a salvage title vehicle should he acquire a salvage title or bill of sale from the salvage yard and his state not title it.
    Ralph Sims
    In Virginia, if a vehicle is marked as non-repairable, a title ceases to exist. With the connectivity between state DMVs, I don't what problems that would cause in other states. It might nobe be a problem but I would make sure I had the title issue resolved before I spent in time or money on the bike.

    My comment about the possibility of it being stolen was that whether it was bought at a salvage sale or elsewhere was based on what the seller said. As one who used to sell used cars and fix totals, truth about a vehicle's true history sometimes get "confused".
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  5. #20
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Santa Cruz CA
    Quote Originally Posted by jforgo View Post
    After reading thru the relevant laws, I could not find a procedure which did not begin with a title from any state. I did call the titling division and they verified this was true.
    Sort of. My friend DarrylRi titled a 1928 BMW a few years ago which had been brought from Europe, and was without a state title. The problem BlueGTC has is that this bike has been titled somewhere, and because DMV computers talk to each other, he can't present it as a never-titled machine.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  6. #21
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Calgary, Alberta
    ...was without a state title...dbrick
    The provinces and territories in Canada don't even have motor vehicle titles. Registration certificates here are not title documents, only an indication that an ownership interest to the registrant may exist.

    The first chattel certificate of title that I ever saw was last year, when I bought a car in Utah.
    Last edited by Rinty; 12-10-2009 at 03:15 PM.

  7. #22

    titles. con't

    I think this is a bit of a muddled area(wrecked, salvaged etc.. which we don't even know if it is on the title), but if a title existed and the VIN is traceable(as it seems to be) there is a trail of who has owned the bike. I think that is the purpose of bonding the bike- to make sure that no conflict of ownership arises.....

  8. #23
    I think the easiest way to solve this problem is to find the last registered owner and get a bill of sale from them. Here in CA, the police will come out and do a VIN verification. (there is a DMV form for this which they sign) It's like a affidavit that the VIN on the vehicle is correct and that the vehicle matches what you paperwork is representing. This is primarily for vehicles that are custom built, with registration that is no longer in the system, or salvage rebuilds, etc. I would try calling the police and having an officer come out. If they do VIN verifications (which they must) tell them you want that. Try explaining the problem to the cop, perhaps when he runs the VIN he can tell you who the last owner was and you can get in touch with them that way...

    Just a thought.

  9. #24

    titleless bike

    thanks.... I'll see if I can get the last owner's name.... but since I'm assuming that the signed it over to the inusrance company he may not be willing to give me a bill of sale(especially since he didn't sell it to me and I didn't pay him any money).... but the other problem is that there is a file on the bike in NC now so anything I do other than what NC wants me to do will have to be done in another state.... I'm trying to do it within NC so it's just a matter of hearing what NC wants me to do... If I can't meet their requirements then i have to look at other options... so keep the ideas coming if you have any.... thanks.... but i will contact the police to see if I can get the last owner's name to at least get some history on the bike from him.... since he's no longer the owner the chances are probably better that I'll get accurate info(although it certainly does look like he took care of the bike)...

  10. #25
    Braz J Brase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Central Indiana
    I have no experience in this regard, but I have heard that Maine and Arizona have relatively easy DMV rules about getting a title to a vehicle. I think Maine will issue a title based on a bill of sale alone. There are services on the net who, for a fee, will handle it for you.


  11. #26
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Marion VA-In the middle of some of the best riding in the country.
    I think you are going to a lot of trouble that should be handled by the dealer. If he sold you a vehicle, he is required to provide a title or certificate to you. The DMV might be interested if a dealer sold you a vehicle without providing a title (unless he designated it parts only). You said he bought it from a salvage dealer in Virginia. I checked the code and a salvage dealer in Virginia is required to have a title, salvage certificate or a nonrepairable certificate in his possession for all vehicles in his possession. The salvage dealer in Virginia didn't necessarily buy the vehicle in Virginia so the title requirements could vary. The salvage dealers I know frequently travel in 3 or 4 surrounding states looking for vehicles.

    I checked the current Virginia code for salvage and nonrepairable certificates. The law applies to "late model vehicles" which is defined as current year plus the five prior years and for vehicles with an actual cash value in excess of $10,000 regardless of age. However, an insurance company or owner can declare a vehicle nonrepairable if they wish regardless of the age or value. To get a salvage certificate, the damage must be more than 75% of the actual cash value but less than 90%. They must also provide an itemized estimate of the damage. A nonrepairable certificate is required if the damage is over 90% of the value or the insurance company does not provide an itemized estimate of the damage (lazy adjuster).
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  12. #27
    I have first hand experience that salvage and "totaled" vehicles can be put back on the road. We had a Subaru wagon that was rolled and declared totaled. It was sold as salvage, and a year later someone called us to say they were the current owner, they had traced us as the previous owner, and had we had any transmission trouble? Ha ha ha. We never had transmission trouble, but once that thing bounced end over end, I would imagine some things got bumped pretty hard! The adjuster had showed me where the crumple zones had done their work. You can weld on a new roof but you can't hide crumble zone indicators.

  13. #28
    I know Mass. and RI make it very difficult to get a title unless you have a previous registration. Throw a salvage situation into the mix and i wouldn't be very confident in being able to get a title. The older the bike the easier it is. If you can get the bike at that price it might be worth paying a lawyer to help figure out the legal details.

  14. #29

    Stolen Bike

    I am in AZ and had a Honda Goldwing 1980 I got for free with no title. Guy said when he moved into the house the previous owner had left it. I did some work on it new tires some engine repair. Took it to the AZ DMV for a title after a 2 hour wait it was confisgated as a stolen vechile and returned to Allstate insurance Co.

    My wife and her girlfriend had a good laugh when I called to get picked up from the DMV. Local police stolen vechicle division did ask me how I aquired bike.
    Remember some things are to good to be free. Lession learned.
    1974 R75/6 W Sidecar
    1989 R100GS

  15. #30

    getting interesting....

    It's getting interesting.... I spoke with NCDMV and they said to send a letter explaining the situation and address it to "her", which I did... I gave her a few days to get the letter and then thought about calling NY to see if I could find the last owner.

    I called the DMV in NY, gave them the VIN number and he came back and said to me basically "Return the bike, you can't do anything without a title".... "yikes", I thought to myself. "I think I should return the bike".

    I decided to call NCDMV and find out what their response to my letter. The woman I spoke to was very matter of fact and calmly looked through her inbox and said "Nope, I haven't heard back from license and theft yet".

    I asked her if this was pretty routine what I was asking for and she said, once again pretty matter of factly that it was and that we should hear back on Wednesday. She explained that the bond process was just to make sure that there were no problems with the re-issued title.

    Since I spoke to NCDMV(and they located the bike) and they didn't seem to be too worried about it I don't think it was stolen. As a matter of fact he said that it was still titled to an individual, so I'm starting to think that neither the insurance nor the salvage followed through with title transfers....

    What I did find was interesting was when I mentioned that I wanted to try to contact the original owner but the DMV employee said "Oh no, you can't do that, ,it's illegal to contact the title holder if you haven't had previous contact with him."
    I find that hard to believe and if it is true I can't imagine that it would be enforced or that a person who was had a title would even think to call the police because someone ask them about a bike they have titled in their name....

    Also called a custom bike builder in FL who built a bike for my cousin, to get some insight on titling in FL and she said that Florida has some of the strictest titling laws in the nation....

    So, I'm hoping that the news from the NCDMV is positive... so far no one is sending out a sheriff to pick up the bike, so I think the title is probably clear... and if I'm lucky no one bothered to put a "salvage" on it!!

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