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

  1. #1
    BLUEGTC
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    Bike without a title advice.... HELP!

    Hello,

    I need some input... I've purchased a 1996 K1100LT with 26,000 miles from a dealer for $2600. The bike was bought from a salvage auction by the dealer and he said it was a simple process for him to bond the bike and get a salvage title. The bike is very clean and the only damage was the front tire rim was bent, the left mirror was missing and there were some scratches on the left side of the fairing($250 to repaint)...

    I just received a call from the dealer and he said that he was unable to get a bonded title and that the DMV(North Carolina) said that he would have to go to the salvage yard(in Virginia) and have them apply for the title. He seems to think that the salvage yard won't go through the hassle of applying for the title(since they sold it without the title)....(it was a "totaled" bike which I believe the salvage yard bought from Allstate Insurance and the bike was originally titled in NY.)

    I contacted International Title Service in Nevada and they only deal with bikes up to 1994 but said they are working on a new system that they hope to have in place in two to three weeks that will allow any age bike to be titled.

    The dealer has already said he will refund my payment, so I'm not stuck with anything, but to be honest it's a well-maintained bike at a great price.... and I might be able to get it for an even greater price...

    Now here are my thoughts...
    1.Most important is to be sure that the bike is lien free and not stolen so that it DID have a clear title before the accident....

    2. Talk to the dealer and tell him I'll take the bike for less $1500(or less?) without a title and I will work on getting the title(through the title company in Nevada, the salvage yard or maybe even the insurance company(or the original owner?- I'm wondering if neither Allstate nor the salvage yard bothered to re-title the bike which is why NC is not allowing my dealer to get a title- so the title is still sitting in the original owners name in NY?)...

    3. When I called the NCDMV they said the problem was that the dealer told them where he got the bike from so they told him that he had to go back to salvage company and have them get the title and then transfer it. I'm wondering if I can just take the bike and register it in another state(NC now has a file on it) and say I bought it from an individual and he didn't have a title..... then they can do a check on it to see if it is stolen or has a lien.....(which it shouldn't have if I check it out first)... if it's clear then I apply for the title.

    So... I'm thinking..... get the bike for less.... try to get the title through the methods outlined above or any other ideas you all may have.... and if I succeed I will have a wonderful bike for $1500-2000.... If I fail and there is no way to get the title then I just part the bike out and I should be able to recoup my investment plus more since it is a virtually perfect bike(the only thing that doesn't work is the radio!)...

    Your thoughts? Ideas? Know of a good approach to get a title?

    thanks,
    David

  2. #2
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    What does your bill of sale say? It is the sellers responsibility to give you a marketable title or something to the effect that it is for parts only. I'd take it back, and get my money back while whoever sold it to you gets you a title. Have you checked out all the paperwork with the bike to see who owned the bike before the insurance company. If you come up short, take the VIN to a BMW dealer and have him run it. You'd find out if there were any outstanding recalls on the bike etc. If you end up with the bike and no title I doubt if you could part it out for a grand, or you could get a donor K1100LT and start putting parts on it from the one you have now. JON

  3. #3
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    I would wager that it was totaled in Va and received a nonrebuildable title. If that is true, you cannot get a title of any kind for it, You should return it or use it for parts only.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  4. #4
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    It is the dealer's responsibility to supply the title. You cannot even go to Virginia to get title; since you were not a party to that transaction, you have no standing to do so.
    Take the bike back to the dealer. Get your money back. They have no title, so they really have no standing to sell it.
    I wouldn't mess with this. Your papers simply are not in order.

  5. #5
    BLUEGTC
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    bike without a title con't

    Thanks for the input.... so far I'm not ready to pack it in since there appears to be clear lineage of the title.... I guess the problem is that I've seen the bike and the idea that it was totaled or can't be rebuilt doesn't fit the picture... http://www.greeceworld.com/BMW

    I've contacted the NCDMV and they see that the title is clear, it just wasn't registered by the salvage yard who sold the bike. The DMC said to write them a letter basically saying that the bike was purchased from a salvage yard, is perfectily operational and that the salvage company is unwilling to go through the titling process.... so it's not an open and shut case... will keep you posted....

  6. #6
    Registered User thompsonr's Avatar
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    Can understand why you would continue the fight. Good Luck . And let us know how it goes!
    R and R

  7. #7
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLUEGTC View Post
    Thanks for the input.... so far I'm not ready to pack it in since there appears to be clear lineage of the title.... I guess the problem is that I've seen the bike and the idea that it was totaled or can't be rebuilt doesn't fit the picture... http://www.greeceworld.com/BMW

    I've contacted the NCDMV and they see that the title is clear, it just wasn't registered by the salvage yard who sold the bike. The DMC said to write them a letter basically saying that the bike was purchased from a salvage yard, is perfectily operational and that the salvage company is unwilling to go through the titling process.... so it's not an open and shut case... will keep you posted....
    The salvage title law in Virginia and the determination of whether is gets a non-rebuildable title or not has nothing to do with the facts. It has to do with the % of the estimate as it relates to the actual cash value of the vehicle and how lazy the adjuster handling the claim was. With a motorcycle, the repair estimate can be more than the value of the bike and the damage won't show in the picture. If I recall (I helped write the law in an attempt to keep it reasonable when I was a claims manager), if the damage is over 75% of the settlement value, the vehicle is deemed non-repairable. If no estimate was made and it an "obvious" total loss, it also gets a non-repairable designation. Except for Harleys, motorcycle value at salvage auctions is very little. They don't bring enough for an effort to be made to hold the value up by making a realistic estimate to save it from a non-repairable designation. The law has been changed several times since I was involved but there used to be minimum values and maximum ages that applied to salvage title laws.

    Ken
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  8. #8
    BLUEGTC
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    Titleless bike.. con't

    Thanks Ken... that's the kind of info I'm looking for... I sent the letter to DMV so we'll see what they say... but my thinking is also that you've outlined the VA law to the best of your ability, but there are probably 50 other laws for each state so this may just preclude me from registering the bike in VA and there may be another state(or company) that will register an untitled bike w/ a bond.... since no one has really seen the title it's not even known if it was "not for rebuild" or "salvaged"... or even it was registered in VA... the current inspection sticker on the bike is NY so I was thinking more in the line that the title was signed over to the insurance company who either registered it or didn't.... and then possibly it on to the salvage company who didn't register it... If the last registered title is sitting in NY in the owner's name because no one after him registered it because it was easier(and faster) to pass it on without the title... then it's a whole different ballgame than a "salvaged" or "not for rebuild" title... is my thinking flawed somewhere?.... thanks

  9. #9
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLUEGTC View Post
    Thanks Ken... that's the kind of info I'm looking for... I sent the letter to DMV so we'll see what they say... but my thinking is also that you've outlined the VA law to the best of your ability, but there are probably 50 other laws for each state so this may just preclude me from registering the bike in VA and there may be another state(or company) that will register an untitled bike w/ a bond.... since no one has really seen the title it's not even known if it was "not for rebuild" or "salvaged"... or even it was registered in VA... the current inspection sticker on the bike is NY so I was thinking more in the line that the title was signed over to the insurance company who either registered it or didn't.... and then possibly it on to the salvage company who didn't register it... If the last registered title is sitting in NY in the owner's name because no one after him registered it because it was easier(and faster) to pass it on without the title... then it's a whole different ballgame than a "salvaged" or "not for rebuild" title... is my thinking flawed somewhere?.... thanks
    The part you don't know is where it was wrecked. That is where the title problem would be. If it was wrecked in Virginia, Virginia law would apply regardless of where the bike is from. If it is deemed non-rebuildable, there will be no title. The title is sent to Richmond and a non-repairable document or certificate is returned. When an Insurance company pays for a vehicle and gets the vehicle, it obtains the title by law. If they can't provide you with a title quickly, I would walk away from the deal and get my money back. A salvage auction will not sell a vehicle if they don't have a clear title (or non-repairable document). When you buy a vehicle at a salvage auction, you go home with the title. I've had them sit at the auction for many months waiting on a clear title. I don't know what the law is not but when it was instituted, the title law applied to anything valued over $5,000 or less than 6 years old.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  10. #10
    MT State of mind
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    I'm surprised you can't just provide proof that it is a salvage, and then register it as a rebuild. Once you put together a bike from various parts, you can title it. You can even register a custom-built bike as long as it meets the basic vehicle requirements.

  11. #11
    BLUEGTC
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    titless bike

    Yes, I'm surprised also... I think the problem is that the dealer told them where he bought it from and they said to get the title..... I suspect if he said he bought it from someone without a title it would be less of a problem.. they now have a file on the bike but wouldn't have had we just requested a title.... but I guess we're going to find out what can and can't be done here.... Besides the bike being nice, I enjoy "the chase" of finding a way to get something done... and as long as it doesn't take a vast amount of time and money, I have all winter to figure this one out.... and hopefully I'll be set for the Carolina spring!

  12. #12
    BUDDINGGEEZER
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    Not all states have the same salvage/damage title laws. In Arkansas you can get license on a 'salvage' title. I was told there is no process for cleaning up the title to read non salvage, but I didn't care.

    If the bike is as good as it looks and a title can't be obtained you could look for a frame with a title. Every now and then I have seen them come across the 'net. It would be a relatively simple matter (compared to most bikes) to unbolt the old frame and bolt the new frame on, since the frame doesn't hold the drive train.

    How simple to find a frame with a title??????????????

    Ralph Sims

  13. #13
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddingGeezer View Post
    Not all states have the same salvage/damage title laws. In Arkansas you can get license on a 'salvage' title. I was told there is no process for cleaning up the title to read non salvage, but I didn't care.

    If the bike is as good as it looks and a title can't be obtained you could look for a frame with a title. Every now and then I have seen them come across the 'net. It would be a relatively simple matter (compared to most bikes) to unbolt the old frame and bolt the new frame on, since the frame doesn't hold the drive train.

    How simple to find a frame with a title??????????????

    Ralph Sims
    Switching the frame is the age old trick used to "legalize" stolen vehicles. That is one reason salvage laws were developed. Before salvage title laws, a burned to the ground Corvette with a title and frame would bring between $1,000 and $2,000 at any salvage sale. David was told the history of the bike but is that really true? It might have a lein on it or be stolen. Many of us have a friend (policeman, DMV employee, FBI agent, etc) who can run the ID number and find out it's status. I would not spend a lot of time or money until I knew I owned the bike legally. It hurts when the law comes and takes your vehicle from you and gives it back to the rightful owner. You lose it all even if you are totally innocent and you have to go back to where you bought it and they go back to where they bought it and they go back, etc. until somebody can't find who they bought it from.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  14. #14
    BUDDINGGEEZER
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    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    Switching the frame is the age old trick used to "legalize" stolen vehicles. That is one reason salvage laws were developed. Before salvage title laws, a burned to the ground Corvette with a title and frame would bring between $1,000 and $2,000 at any salvage sale. David was told the history of the bike but is that really true? It might have a lein on it or be stolen. Many of us have a friend (policeman, DMV employee, FBI agent, etc) who can run the ID number and find out it's status. I would not spend a lot of time or money until I knew I owned the bike legally. It hurts when the law comes and takes your vehicle from you and gives it back to the rightful owner. You lose it all even if you are totally innocent and you have to go back to where you bought it and they go back to where they bought it and they go back, etc. until somebody can't find who they bought it from.
    I don't know the laws where you live, but I can buy an auto without an engine with a clear title, a bike frame with a clear title (Might be hard to find) and put any engine I want in it an it's perfectly legal. Salvage titles laws were developed so the buyer of a vehicle would know the vehicle had been wrecked. I wasn't talking about buying a salvage title frame, but a frame with a clean title. I'm not talking about removing the VIN plates and replacing with a salvage vehicle VIN like on stolen vehicles to acquire a title on the stolen vehicle that doesn't have one.
    No difference than putting a different engine in a frame, which is exactly what I suggested being done. A different engine in a different titled frame.

    You do make a great point about the non titled bike possibly being stolen. 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

  15. #15
    BLUEGTC
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    bike without title...

    OK... if I can't get it titled here I may send my papers to Arkansas, or anywhere else that will let me title them....... as for selling a stolen bike, wouldn't you think a salvage yard(this came from a salvage auction yard in VA) would be very careful about accepting and selling stolen property... with the VIN number transferred in the bill of sale(and on the bike) it would put a company in a precarious position to make only $500-1000(or have the bike in their possession before the sale). I would think the salvage company would take the VIN off, but I would suspect that selling salvage vehicles would be pretty regulated....

    Yes, the bike may have been stolen... but we've been to the NCDMV and I would think they would have access to information to see that it was stolen.... but maybe I'll check in with my local police department..... and maybe they'll have a record. Who else besides police have records of stolen vehicles...

    thanks for your input....

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