January 05, 2017

Insert Title Here

After a few weeks, the state DMV mailed me the fancy paper title to my new car. But there was an error! It listed a lienholder, which was kind of a shock to me since I paid with cash and as far as I know I don't own anyone any money at the current time.

The problem is that the dealer had requested a certified check. The dealer's back office presumably saw the check and assumed it was actually the bank loaning the money.

So I went to the bank, and they got in a bit of a kerfuffle because the standard lien release form specifies that loan number X has been paid off on date Y and the bank releases its security interest on the car with VIN Z. But there never was a loan, so they didn't have a X or Y to fill in to the standard form. I got passed up the chain to a person with sufficient authority to write a custom letter explaining that they never even had a security interest in the car, and if anyone says otherwise that person is wrong. (So to speak. I'm exaggerating the legal language.)

Now, I had a couple of options. I could keep the title with the fictitious lien and along with the letter releasing the non-lien, the car would be free and clear to transfer someday when the time comes. But that means two pieces of paper to track instead of one, and frankly I'm reluctant to keep around a legal document (the title) that has a clear error on its face. That sort of thing can lead to problems down the road.

The second option would be to go to the DMV. For $20, they'll issue you a clean title with documentation that the lien has been paid off. I presume that they would also have accepted the letter the bank provided for me, at least the bank assured me they would.

But then I'd be out $20. I realize that $20 is a very very small fraction of the cost of my car. The DMV is much closer than the dealership, so driving to and from the dealership probably cost me $1 in gas and depreciation. The time is probably a wash, driving time compared to time waiting in line at the DMV. But for the principle of the thing, I went to the dealership and argued until they agreed to send off the letter and the title themselves to the DMV to get a corrected one issued. They were reluctant because they didn't want to spend the $20 themselves, of course.

So I expect a nice clean title in the mail in a few weeks and I'll have the satisfaction of having wasted my time to get someone else to fix the paperwork error that they themselves caused.

Posted by: Boviate at 06:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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