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bought a car with lien, help!
Old 03-25-2017, 11:44 PM   #1
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bought a car with lien, help!

big screw up, got scammed, bought a car on craigslist with a lien on it and the car turns out has issues.

It's actually lien'ed to an auto pawn shop. The pink slip has the lien holder's company name and address. and the release of interest has been stamped (probably fake), the title has been altered as well upon close inspection. Lots of headache at the DMV.

at this point, I just want to junk it and get on with it. My question is can the pawn shop come after me for money? I'm guessing no since I never dealt with them or entered any financial agreement with them. But want to check with some of the more knowledgeable folks here first.
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Old 03-26-2017, 12:42 AM   #2
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If you don't want it can you take it to the pawn shop? A lien prevents the sale of the asset, right?, so technically you don't own the car and a junkyard will only take a car with a clear title.
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Old 03-26-2017, 05:40 AM   #3
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I think at worst they would just take the vehicle.
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:33 AM   #4
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The pawn shop has a security interest in collateral, so they have a superior claim to the car. However, they do not have a debt claim against you

In any event, since an intelligent pawn shop will not loan out anything close to the actual value of collateral, there is likely not to be a surviving deficiency claim against anyone, even the original borrower, if the pawn shop gets the car.

And if you haven't done so already, you should call your police, your attorney general's office and/or the FBI (the latter if if it involved any phone calls or emails or a purported sale crossing state lines).
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:31 AM   #5
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you likely don't know if the guy who sold it had the right (besides the lien issue) to sell it to you. That could be forgery too. I would file the police report. There could be someone else with legal claim. I would expect the car will be gone. But make sure you close the loop or you may find yourself with legal issues.
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:04 AM   #6
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OP, truly sorry about your misfortune, however one person's misfortune is often others learning opportunity.

Care to share anything that you learned that can prevent others from falling into the same trap?

Deal too good to be true? Seller didn't have the title immediately? Suspicious communication? Anything like that?
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:30 AM   #7
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(I am not a lawyer) It seems to me that since you got this car by being defrauded, you would not be liable for any liens etc.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:29 AM   #8
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(I am not a lawyer) It seems to me that since you got this car by being defrauded, you would not be liable for any liens etc.
+1

I don't think the OP would be liable since he doesn't own the car, his name is not on the title. He should be really careful using it as there are many grey areas since he likely doesn't know if he has permission to drive it from the owner... whoever that may be.

Do you know if the guy who sold it to you was the owner? Or was this stolen and sold with a fraudulent title?
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:32 AM   #9
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I don't think you can drive it at all legally since you can't license it.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:15 AM   #10
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Since the car is not in your name, I don't believe you are liable for anything.

Depending on the value of the car and lien will determine next steps. Regardless, file a police report. To secure proper ownership/title, you might have to place a lien on the car, etc. You can recover a few bucks for storage, but not much. If they decide not to "settle" with you, then you might get the rights to sell or title the car.

Keep the car in your garage or secured spot as the repo man might come once you start communication. Just saying.
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Old 03-26-2017, 12:16 PM   #11
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Talk to the title pawn shop. They see such things happen all the time. There may or may not be much owed to get the title released to you.

You never purchase a vehicle without getting a title in hand and a bill of sale signed and executed by the previous owner.

Worse comes to worse, you're out the money you paid the "owner." You can sue him for it. It's actually an intentional way of defrauding you of money.
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Old 03-26-2017, 01:01 PM   #12
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I agree with the previous post... never pay for a car unless there is clear title... not one that is signed as a release of lien.... if it were released, it is real easy to get a clean title to transfer.... so make them do it.. if they are unwilling to do so, just do not buy the car...



Now, do you know where the live? As mentioned, the person who 'sold' it to you might not be the person who actually owns it... they could have been defrauded also... but, if you do know, get the police on them.... also, might as well ask for your money back and file in small claims...
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Old 03-26-2017, 01:16 PM   #13
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We have bought a used car off craigslist. The owner meet us at DMV and only got our money when the title was transferred. Easy.

We also got some offers from people claiming to be in Europe and the car was in Alaska. Boy they were great deals! Especially on eBay.
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Old 03-26-2017, 01:27 PM   #14
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Gumby's description sounds hopeful - the pawn shop owner should be glad to get it back.

Right now, it seems you are in possession of stolen property? I am not a lawyer, so maybe that's not an issue, but I'd be concerned. As suggested, see the police, get everything documented.

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Originally Posted by Newventurer View Post
OP, truly sorry about your misfortune, however one person's misfortune is often others learning opportunity.

Care to share anything that you learned that can prevent others from falling into the same trap?

Deal too good to be true? Seller didn't have the title immediately? Suspicious communication? Anything like that?
Yes, how did this happen? When I was young, I bought a car from an ad in the paper (remember those!). Met the guy in a parking lot, lots of red flags, and the car was misrepresented (I found an oil change sticker slipped down somewhere, with more miles than the car had!). However it wasn't much money, and the car ran pretty much problem free for years, so really no harm from it. But I learned a lot.

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Old 03-26-2017, 05:04 PM   #15
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And if you haven't done so already, you should call your police, your attorney general's office and/or the FBI (the latter if if it involved any phone calls or emails or a purported sale crossing state lines).
What he said, although unless this is part of a much larger scheme it is unlikely the FBI will care much about one stolen car. Definitely call the police though.

Do get all this documented if for no other reason than to CYA. At the moment you are in possession of stolen property, a crime by itself in most states. The guy who "sold" you the car can be charged with theft, either felony or misdemeanor depending on the law in your state. Identifying and finding him may be problematic though. If it is not too late, keep copies of all communications between yourself and the "seller" to document what you can of it.

This should be obvious, but do not even think about trying to register or insure it. Maybe if you're lucky someone else will steal it.
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Old 03-26-2017, 11:16 PM   #16
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No, the car is not stolen. The car is probably converted collateral. The title pawn has no issue with you because you had no criminal intent.

But they do have the right to send a 6' 7" heavily tattoo'd man named Bubba to your house in the middle of the night that can haul off that vehicle on the rear of a wrecker with an Eagle Claw on the rear. He can be gone in less than 30 seconds and never even get out of the wrecker.

Just talk to the title pawn outfit. Maybe they still don't even have a lien on the car. With a lien release and bill of sale, you could order a duplicate title and get a clear one issued in your name.
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:03 AM   #17
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No, the car is not stolen. The car is probably converted collateral. The title pawn has no issue with you because you had no criminal intent.

But they do have the right to send a 6' 7" heavily tattoo'd man named Bubba to your house in the middle of the night that can haul off that vehicle on the rear of a wrecker with an Eagle Claw on the rear. He can be gone in less than 30 seconds and never even get out of the wrecker.

Just talk to the title pawn outfit. Maybe they still don't even have a lien on the car. With a lien release and bill of sale, you could order a duplicate title and get a clear one issued in your name.
Being an optimist, maybe the lien is small and OP could just pay it off to get the car for a little more $$ ??
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Old 03-27-2017, 02:43 AM   #18
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Well, being near LA, if you can, go to the DMV on Flower street, Downtown LA , the building with the goofy looking glass roof. Go around the line of 500 people snaking out the door, and go up the stairs to the Investigations section on the second floor ( Yes, it does have a second floor ). The Investigations door is usually locked, so knock until someone comes out.

Tell them your woes, and you will get straight answers.

IMO, if the vehicle does still have a lien, and you try and sell it , even to a wrecking yard, that might be an Illegal act. If the auto title loan co. still has a lien, the amount is usually negotiable. They don't want the car, they want their money from the 108 % apr loan L.O.L.
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Old 03-27-2017, 03:29 PM   #19
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Do the title loan/pawn shops actually hold the title? Is the lien recorded somewhere? How can I be sure the title is clear ? I am fascinated by this title loan racket.
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Old 03-27-2017, 05:08 PM   #20
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Do the title loan/pawn shops actually hold the title? Is the lien recorded somewhere? How can I be sure the title is clear ? I am fascinated by this title loan racket.
In Connecticut, this is done through the DMV. The lender sends in a form, the existing title and a check, and in return gets a new title with the lender shown as the lien holder. Normally, this is done in conjunction with registering a new, financed car. It can, however, be a "title only" So the lender holds the title and sends it to you stamped Paid" after you have paid the loan. You can use a stamped paid title to sell the car. I'm not sure the DMV keeps track as to whether the loan was actually paid or not. I wouldn't think so.
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