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Old 02-14-2006, 07:20 PM   #1
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How do you get a title out of a so and so?

Hi everybody,

I bought my Airstream a few months after I began lurking on here and about two weeks before I started posting. I've had it for five and a half months now.

I've hesitated to post about this but need some advice.

I bought it from an RV dealership and have yet to get the title. When I bought it, the salesman told me that the title wasn't kept on the premesis and they'd either mail it or hand deliver it to me in a few days. Being my first RV purchase, I figured "OK".

A few days turned into two weeks and I never heard a word. I called them up and they said it had to process through DMV and would be a couple more weeks.

Two weeks later I called back and they became irate with me. Said they'd get it to me, just didn't know when. They needed time and for me to quit bugging them. OK, seemed kind of rude, but I waited a full month.

I called them after that month and the finance girl got irate with me, told me I knew what I was getting into with that trailer, and it was out of their hands. I said "What do you mean? Your salesman told me that he'd bring me the title in a couple days." She got all grouchy and handed me off to the GM of the place. GM comes on the line and starts saying that it was up to me to take care of the title. I said "Hold on here a minute, I bought it from you. It's up to you to get me the title. Nobody said anything to me about the title not being clear." He said he'd take care of it, it just might take a while.

It turned out that there are four parties involved. Party A owned the Airstream and sold it to Party B. Party B apparently didn't want to pay property taxes on it and so never registered it. After it sat in his possession for awhile, he decided to get sell it. He called up a buddy of his, Party C, who owns an RV dealership and asked him to sell it for him. Along comes Party D (Me) and buys it. C didn't bother to tell D that it was still in A's name. They tried to tell me it was between me and B, when I didn't (and still don't) even know who B is. Being in a different state (and a very persnickity one when it comes to vehicle titles) than me, C and B had to go track down A and get all the proper forms filled out that should have been done when B bought it from A. My understanding is that it was put into B's name finally, who would then transfer it to my state in C's dealership name, and C would give it to me.

I got a letter from the dealership in December saying that DMV in the other state had the title, was processing it, and would send it directly to the dealership once it was processed, where upon the dealership would take it to our state's DMV and get it processed into their name, whereupon they would then issue me the dealer title so that I could go register it in my name. I should have had it the third week of January at the outside.

Come the first of February I hadn't heard a peep. So I called up the finance/title girl and inquired. She then tells me that DMV sent it to "the other guy" and she couldn't give me a time frame because she was dependant upon the "other guy" to bring it to her when he gets around to it. The other guy, I assume, is B.

A couple weeks have since elapsed and I've not heard a word.

I spoke with my uncle, who is a lawyer, about this. He does title searches and real estate transactions. He was aghast at this. Said he's personally driven a hundred miles before to get a signature for a client. He said they should have done this too. Even though it's a convulted chain to get the title transferred, it should have taken three-five weeks, not five and a half months. He recommended I give them an ultimatim and then follow it up with a trip to the magistrate's court and contact the sheriff to look into the title/background of the trailer to see if it was stolen.

I drove over to the dealership last Friday to talk to the GM. They were supposed to be open until 6:00. What all the signs said. I got there at 5:30 and nobody was there. I left a note in their night drop off box to call me, that I was going to give them a week and a half to get me the title before I went the legal route. They were open Saturday, Monday, and today. Nobody has called me. I sent an email to the GM and the finance girl saying the same thing; enough is enough; I've waited five and a half months, either get me my title, come get it and refund my money plus some more for all the work I've done to it, or expect to hear from the magistate. No word at all.

I hate to be nasty like this. I really do. But I don't know what else to do. Any guidance on this? I've wanted one of these trailers for years. I finally get one and now it's useless to me as I can't even register it. From what I understand, there are no legal hurdles in the way. It's just that this bunch got my money way back(I paid them in cash) and now they have no motivation to go to the DMV to get it all processed.

Anybody else go through this? What else can I do?

I may become Airstream-Less again over this
- Jim
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:29 PM   #2
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A letter to the state agency which regulates the dealership might work. And it is cheaper than an attorney.

Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
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Old 02-14-2006, 08:54 PM   #3
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Clear titles

All dealerships should have clear title to the vehicles on their lots. If not, then they should definitely be reported to the state. It makes you wonder how many other people have been caught in this legal web. The state may be interested in your inquiry.

I hope everybody reads this thread and learns from it.
Beth and/or David

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Old 02-14-2006, 09:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wkerfoot

A letter to the state agency which regulates the dealership might work. And it is cheaper than an attorney.

I would call the People's Attorney.....the State Attorney General's Office and report the dealership....definitely cheaper than hiring your own attorney to straighten it up.
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:20 PM   #5
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file a complaint with the state, it is cheaper and more effective than an attorney. purchased a new XL396 in aug 04' and dealer stonewalled me on license plates as he used the 10,000 dollars sales tax money to keep his doors open. I called the state and recieved my plate about a week later and they shut the dealer down.
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:34 PM   #6
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:35 PM   #7
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You've certainly been more patient and a LOT nicer about this than I would have been!

Ask Gen'l Manager who the business insurance carrier is for errors and ommissions coverage. Put him on notice you will be filing a claim. Casually mention you consider this a fraudulant sale since they didn't have the title in thier hands when they sold it to you.

Send a bill to the company for not having full use and enjoyment of vehicle
If the bill is denied, then charge a daily fee for storing the vehicle for them

Next, contact the RV dealers association with your complaint

Step three... contact his state's DOT and complain, making sure you are talking with the dealer regulators

Next comes the State Attorney General's office, most likely consumer affairs division.

As you can see, I have a tendency to take a shotgun approach! Then I reload and keep firing!

Always address the problem in terms of their sale of the unit, not your purchase. They made the problem with bad business practices, you didn't.

Go get them!

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Old 02-14-2006, 10:46 PM   #8
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Oh, You Want A Title Too!

Sorry, I had a similar experience with an Airstream Dealer in Florida, took 3 months to get my title. Same thing, I ask and was told they had a clear title in hand, till I paid in cash and the story changed. I gave them a last chance with a certified letter threatening a complaint to the Florida Attorney General. That got them moving.

Hope yours get settled soon and you can be on your way
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:57 PM   #9
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We've found the state attourney general to be helpful in cases like this. Our involved a business which didn't follow through on services we'd already paid for. They also were good at playing hard to contact. We contacted the AG, two weeks later the check was in our hands. Your taxes pay for these guys, let them do their work for you. You've been MORE than patient enough so far!

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Old 02-15-2006, 06:29 AM   #10
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Sometimes a letterhead from an atty. friend will work. Also it would be nice if you would let us all know a name of this dealership or a least the town. Word of mouth would help from this happening to anyone else. I just hate when things like that happens.

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Old 02-15-2006, 07:30 AM   #11
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I agree that you need to file a complaint with the appropriate state agency. However I am curious. Did the dealer collect sales tax? Did the dealer collect a transfer of title fee from you?
Good luck you're in my prayers.
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:40 AM   #12
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You don't disclose what state you live in. That may get you some advice that applies to your state laws. My Wife is an attorney here in Minnesota and would give you free advice but that only applies to our state. I would however notify the state. I am sure there are certain standards that the dealer must meet.
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Old 02-15-2006, 08:17 AM   #13
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I've given them until next Wednesday to get me the title before I call in the law.

My uncle is a lawyer and he's offered to help me with this. He could write them a nasty gram and would do it for me for free. As well, since it is an old trailer and I bought it fairly cheap, I could file a claim in magistrate's court and do it on my own (so my uncle told me). Just the same, their business practices really grieve me here.

I won't say their name yet. I'll see how it plays out through next week. I live in Berkeley Springs, WV. That's where WV, MD, PA, and VA all come together, right on the Potomac river, and the dealership is in WV. They are not a new Airstream dealer, but do several SOB's. They had this used one on their lot, apparently on consignment for a friend of the GM (I found out later). If they continue to hose me to where I have to get mean, I will stick their name on here, most assuredly.

I probably have been way too nice about this. What did the sheriff say in "White Lightning"...."It's time to get mean, Harvey!". It's just a bummer that outfits act like this.
- Jim
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Old 02-15-2006, 08:19 AM   #14
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Oh, in WV you pay sales tax on vehicles when you register them. That's why some guys don't register them right away. I guess MD is the same way, as the unit was owned by a previous guy in MD and I'm buying it in WV. So no title transfer fee (not sure if they can charge those in WV...I've never paid one before) and no sales tax paid.
- Jim
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Old 02-15-2006, 08:26 AM   #15
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Hey Jim,
Does WV slap a penalty on if you don't transfer the title with in a certain period of time? If so I would make the dealer pay for that too. In NC IIRC you have 30 days to transfer title and pay taxes, if it goes over that there is a $250 fine, plus all the other fees and taxes involved.

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Old 02-15-2006, 09:33 AM   #16
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Jim ---nothing personal but one of the problems you have here is that you're a NICE GUY!!!! If you went to a store, bought grocerys, and the clerk said they would send them to you in a couple weeks what would you do?? I see little difference. They have your money ,you should have the product!! I bought a used truck from a dealer last oct. The Title clerk tryed to put me off as they were busy. I told them I wasn't leaving with out the title and asked where I could sleep while I wait. At this point I would put the trailer under lock and key. Who ever has the tiltle in THEIR name is the OWNER!!!
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Old 02-15-2006, 10:00 AM   #17
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Aaron, I don't know the answer to your question. I don't think so as many people do delay registering stuff like this. Maybe they just don't get caught? I will certainly look into this.

And yes, I have been too nice here. The GM is from my home town and I vaguely rememer him from high school. I have friends that are friends with some of his people so I've tried not to get too mean. But that's no excuse for letting them string me on like this. It's all about to change soon though.
- Jim
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Old 02-15-2006, 10:21 AM   #18
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Arrow Try this....

Do you want your title or do you want your money back?

At this point, forget lawyers and courts. That takes time and money. Because you are in a transaction with a dealer, they probably have a license and are regulated by the state. Try filing a complaint with the regulatory agency....

To get your money back and return the motorhome, go to the law enforcement agency that regulates where the dealership is located (police or county sheriff). Go in. Don't call. Have them take a felony theft report, you may have to insist. Once the dealership is contacted you will most likely get a full refund.

Good luck!
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Old 02-15-2006, 01:07 PM   #19
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Unfortunatley, this is not uncommon. Dealers sometimes do not pay off a vehicle traded in ith a lien on it, and don't get the title until they do. They sell it prior to that and the title gets lost in the ozone.
If the p.o. never signed any title transfer paperwork it could be a big mess ...however the state department that handles titles there should be able to track down the title info...see if it has or had a lien, and see where it is being held. If it is an older model and you have the correct paperwork, they might issue a title based on that to you.
I would ask to speak to the title clerk at the dealership and not the sale manager...I was one a while ago...they usually do not have any idea what is up with the title paperwork.
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:56 PM   #20
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hi folks

good grief and good luck jim....

one thought i have is that if the rig wasn't registered for a year or 3, property taxes may still be due on those much money is due and who is gonna pay? sure the back taxes are the responsibility of the owner at the time....but now, who is it that is most motivated to fix or the dealer?

this could take longer than you might imagine....and while it's nice to have professional often get what you pay for with professional services....cedars has laid out a great approach that should have started months ago...

keep us updated as to what happens....we all can learn alot (like winter living in the ozarks) about this issue

this happens so often and is such an important issue when buying used....that this thread should become a sticky/faq with a better heading, like......."securing the title on a used to do it and what not to do."

i sure hope you have a good receipt for that cash purchase...

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