How to Report Someone for Title Jumping

How to report someone for title jumping

Let’s talk about title jumping today – I will get you to understand what it is and how to report someone for title jumping. Typically, when you are selling a car, the original owner, let’s call them Person A, sells the car to Person B. Person B then signs the car’s title, and the DMV issues them a new title in their name. Later, Person B decides to sell the car to Person C. Person C signs the title too, and they go through a similar process. Unfortunately, when there is title jumping involved, Person B does not sign the title; they just sell the car with an open title to Person C who unknowingly buys it. Unfortunately, Person B won’t be able to register the car in their name at the DMV.

What is Title Jumping?

Title jumping is a situation where Person A sells something to Person B, and then Person B, instead of going through the registration process, decides to sell it directly to Person C without their signature. This way, Person B skips some steps such as paying sales tax, registration fees, license fees, and the cost of a new title, which saves them money.

However, the issue with this is that it’s illegal in all 50 states. In Texas, for example, it’s considered a felony. The real trouble in this scenario is for Person C, and if you are Person C, you want to report Person B for title jumping. Person A might also be an accomplice but it’s difficult to tell since they will claim that they sold the car to Person B, and have the sales proof such as bill of sale, etc.

How to Report Someone for Title Jumping

1. You Need Every Document You Can About the Purchase

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Let’s start with your copy of the receipt and bill of sale. If it’s just a handshake deal, jot down what you remember about the transaction, including dates and amounts. If you also have a copy of the seller’s drivers license and current address, better. You will also need the texts, emails, or any other communication you had with the seller.

I’ll assume that you have the car with you. Take photos of the car, including its condition, VIN, and any unique features or damages. If you’ve had to make any repairs since the purchase, keep those records handy. If you have no information on the seller of the jumped title car, try to track down the previous registered owner for information about the car’s history.

Write down your own experience in detail – from how you found the car to how you discovered that the car has a jumped title. If anyone was with you during the purchase or can attest to your account, their statements could really go a long way.

2. Contact the Right Authority

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It could be the DMV or the police, where you can file a report. The Department of Motor Vehicles should be your first stop. In Texas, we have the County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office who can provide guidance or assistance on this. You will need all your evidence prepared, including any sale documents, communication with the seller, photos of the car, and VIN reports.

Explain what happened, while sticking to the facts and keeping it simple. You can look up the contact details of your local DMV or Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office. Start with a phone call. In some cases, you might need to schedule an appointment. Ask if there are specific forms or procedures for reporting title jumping. Follow their instructions to the letter. When you file the report, include all your evidence and the summary of your situation. If the situation is complex, consider getting some legal advice. Many good attorneys understand your state’s vehicle laws, so do get in touch with one.

You can also report someone for title jumping to the police if necessary. Keep in contact with the authorities. Follow up if you haven’t heard back in a reasonable time. I also advise you to keep a record of all your interactions with the authorities, including dates, names, and the content of discussions.

3. Discuss this Issue with Your Local Attorney

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I understand that title jumping issues can feel like trying to herd cats, but sometimes taking legal action is the best solution. I’ve walked this path before, and I understand what is at stake.

You really need legal counsel. First, find an attorney who specializes in automotive or consumer protection law. Many attorneys even offer free initial consultations. Use this opportunity to understand your legal standing and options.

You also want to know your legal rights. Of course, your lawyer will help you understand your rights as a car buyer and the specific laws regarding title jumping in your state. Provide your lawyer with all the evidence you’ve collected – sale documents, communications, photos, and reports. Make sure to explain your experience from start to finish. Your personal account can really help the fight against someone for title jumping.

4. File a Legal Complaint Against the Curbstoner

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First, let me explain why the person who sold you a jump title car is called a curbstoner. This process is known as curbstoning, which is defined as an unlicensed vehicle deal. Here, the seller sold you the car without registering it in their name, thereby, leaving the title open. This is often a way of evading sales tax and the cost of registration, as well as a loophole for selling more than the state’s specified number of cars (typically 3-5 depending on the state) in one year without a dealer’s license.

Your lawyer will guide you through the process of filing a complaint, whether it’s in small claims court or a higher court, depending on the case. Understand the costs involved in pursuing legal action, including attorney fees and court costs.

If your case goes to court, your lawyer will prepare you for what to expect and how to present your case. The dishonest seller may not even wait to be taken to court unless they have a better explanation for selling you a car with a jumped title. This is why I expect you to be open to settlement discussions if the other party is willing to resolve the matter out of court.

5. Be Patient with Legal Procedures

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Unfortunately, legal processes can take time, so be prepared for a bit of a wait. However, do keep in regular contact with your lawyer and stay informed about the progress of your case.

Depending on the outcome, there might be additional steps to take, it could be collecting a judgment. Now, regardless of the outcome, consider this a learning experience when it comes to buying cars. If reporting someone for jumping a title did not work, legal action is the big step to take as it is sometimes necessary to wrangle justice.

How to Avoid Buying a Car with Jumped Title

On a title, there’s a section labeled ‘name of purchaser’. This is where you’d sign and provide your address if you were buying the car from someone privately. It also includes the odometer reading and the seller’s signature. It is very important to know that when buying a car privately, the seller’s signature on the title must match the owner’s name listed on it. If they don’t match, you won’t be able to register the car because of title jumping. The signatures need to match for the registration to be valid.

Before you sign anything when buying a car, I advise you to check that the seller’s driver’s license matches the name on the title of the car. If they don’t match, you are in for a big headache. You’ll likely need to get a title bond and go through the bonded title process, which is complicated and not enjoyable at all. I made an article where I explain how you can get a bonded title in Texas and move on if you really want to keep the car. The guide isn’t just about Texas, works for other states where bonded titles are recognized. So, make sure to check out that article.

Getting a bonded title can also be a stressful experience so, be very careful about this. The best way to avoid trouble is to double-check the seller’s driver’s license and make sure it matches the name on the title. If the name on the title and the seller’s signature doesn’t match, you’ll face another problem. In Texas, you need a Form 130-U to register the car in your name at the tax office. This form requires the seller’s name and signature. If the person selling you the car isn’t the actual owner according to the title, you won’t be able to complete the registration.

Conclusion

So, there you go with the steps you can follow to report someone for title jumping. As a buyer of a jumped title, you are in a tricky situation if you can’t reach the previous owner of the car, especially if Person B has title jumped on you. You need Person A for their signature, name, and address, and they must match the title exactly. If you try to register a car and find out you can’t because of a title jump, your best option could be to get a bonded title. Be careful to avoid getting title jumped on. It’s a really unpleasant experience.

Read AlsoIs a Bonded Title a Clean Title?

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