Did I buy a stolen atv? - Page 2 - ATVConnection.com ATV Enthusiast Community

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Old 06-06-2014, 08:23 AM
Pro Rider
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Illinois
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Originally Posted by TripleC View Post
What happens if a cop pulls me over and can't pull a VIN?
Why would a cop pull you over to check the vin on a 15 year-old atv that's worth maybe $1000. I've never had a cop check a vin on any machine I've owned and I've owned atvs since 2002. If you were hauling a brand new machine in an old beater truck, then you would look suspicious. The cop would make an excuse to pull you over to look at it.
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Old 06-07-2014, 03:59 PM
sr.ruedas's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Los Gatos, CA
Posts: 192

I buy a lot of ATVs, and buying a stolen one is a big concern.

Everything about titling and registering an Off-Highway-Vehicle (OHV) in
your state is up to the state's DMV. In Canada, prob you province. Mexico,
virtually no rules; you can even drive quads on highways.

Here in CA, titling is pretty lax (e.g. no notarization on transfer) and
required only if you want to register it to use on publicly-owned lands. Once
it is titled, it is always titled, unless it is transferred out of state to somewhere
that does not title them. I do not know if dealers of NEW ATVs in CA always
give you a title, or if it is optional. I never bought a new one.

Unfortunately, there is no good central US database for stolen ATVs, AND
states often do not share info for OHVs. So, it could be titled out-of-state and
my state would not know. That's bad.

What I do when the seller has no title, is I ask for the VIN in advance of sale to
check with the DMV, or ask the seller to do it and print the result. You can do this
by tel, in person, or online. If the DMV has no record, then you can title it by
bringing it to a DMV office for a VIN inspection. They generate a title there for you.
Other states/countries may be different.

If a seller has just lost the title, I have them fill out the DMV Lost Title form in advance
of the sale.

BTW, I have 2 non-titled quads now. One, the DMV has no record of the VIN, and
the other, the VIN is completely invisible, due to weak stamping by the maker.
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Old 10-29-2015, 06:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 44

Originally Posted by Chris3504 View Post
Hey all, I am new to this site but have been reading for a few weeks. Here is my issue:

I recently bought a Honda foreman off craigslist. Excellent condition with VINs intact. I even have the title... Problem is the title is from the FIRST owner which sold to this 2nd owner on Ebay... Now I am the 3rd owner. Being I live in NJ, registration isn't needed because these things r as illegal as Heroin.... Well a buddy just bought a place in PA and I want to register and insure my machine.

I ran the VIN against stolen ATVs and it's clean. What do I do? Send a snail mail letter to the orig owner (info on title paperwork) and have him sell me the ATV cutting out the middle man? I need it notorized too so do I have to drive to this guys house 3hrs away and drive him to the Motor Vehicle and sign in front of them?

Old post but - the title in the original owners name may simply indicate the 2nd owner didn't pay the sales tax (if required in his state). If the back of the title has the original owners signature, you may be able to skip owner no. 2 and register it to you directly.

Maybe a courtesy letter to original owner so he knows whats up?
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Old 10-29-2015, 11:17 AM
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TLC TLC is offline
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I don't know how you guys work it in the states but in Canada when you buy a ATV or car or what ever we get paper called a "Ownership" it pretty well puts a end of who the owner is.
If the guy can't produce a Ownership paper then you walk away or buy it at a greatly reduced price and never ride it in any place where you may run into the law.
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 44

I can only speak in certainty for the state of Missouri ~ but I believe most states are the same;

At time of purchase you get the manufactures certificate of origin, and an application for title and license. That is taken to the DMV to pay a sales tax, and submit your title application.

In a few weeks the state issues a title in your name.

Here is where I think a few states differ; In Missouri - we pay an annual property tax on all real estate and vehicles. Once the VIN is registered to you, you will pay a small tax pct each year (here it's based on horsepower rating). The tax goes to schools, roads & general expenses like conventions in Vegas, alcohol, etc. Not all states have the annual "personal property tax"

The states that do have the property tax enforce it by requiring your paid in full tax receipt when you register (or renew) your car's license plates. Without the paid receipt and proof of insurance, you won't get a new plate and eventually the po po will notice and pull you over. Depending on how you behave during the traffic stop, you might get beat-up or shot, but most people are just sent on their merry way with a ticket and fines.

Since ATVs are not allowed on the roads here in Missouri no license plate is required. And if you don't ride in a state park, this loophole allows individuals to duck the sales/property tax & registration, and instead take his own trip to Vegas.

That is my opinion of what the 2nd owner has done
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:56 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,583

Basically if its older, its nothing to worry about. A late model atv with no title is a definite no-no in my opinion. That screams stolen. I just saw one of these on craigslist. Look at this http://stlouis.craigslist.org/snw/5284964001.html A 2012 model with no title, yeah, who will buy that? He even says he won't sell to someone who lives in illinois because of the no title. What is he trying to hide? Well below book value as well. This is what I'm talking about. A bill of sale is complete bs. It means nothing. I can imagine not making it home with this before being pulled over. It might not be stolen but it sure seems fishy to me. The bed is all smashed up but its still worth more than what he's asking. A 15 year old quad that may have had 4 or more owners and has a minimal value nobody would bat an eye at as you're hauling it down the highway.
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:02 PM
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Retired and loving it!
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Location: North Texas
Posts: 22,312

Down here it doesn't matter as long as the person on the title has signed the back of the title. You have to pay title transfer fees and sales tax on the value of the machine,no matter what. If you try to fudge on what you paid for the atv and if it sounds a little fishy, the little old lady with the horn rimmed glasses behind the counter has a book she can go by.I had that problem with that little old lady years ago on my old Honda street bike as to what she thought it was worth versus what I paid for it 10 years ago on a 13 year old machine. After a certain age on machines they just take your word on what you paid if they can't find it listed. Plus if you date a title down here you have 10 days to transfer the title or they can tag on some late fees if they feel inclined to.They're gonna get you coming or going. Doesn't matter to them.
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:20 PM
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This is a state thing, and they all handle it differently. In NY, no title. When you buy new the dealer handles the dmv paperwork and you pay sales tax on the sale price one time. Your registration is what is transferable. They don't even need to be registered if only operated on your own property. Many register one time and done.
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:32 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Illinois
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Here in Illinois most people just simply don't change the name on the title. They're not street legal so no need to. As long as you don't date the title, you can take it anytime to the dmv if you really want your name on it. Unless you buy from a dealer, it doesn't matter. The previous owner's name is still on my title and if I eventually sell it to another individual, that name will stay on there. If I trade it in at a dealer, I may be required to go to the dmv but im not sure. I can do it at any time. If you don't have a title, trading in an atv in Illinois is almost impossible though.
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Old 10-30-2015, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 44


Although riding in state parks is only allowed in a few select locations, they will check your registration before entry. That is done by a decal on your ATV given to you by the DMV. The "tax stamp" is good for 3 years. Then you need to buy another one which is less than $50. However, you are then drawn back into the personal property tax trap like a car, since you can't get a new "tax stamp" unless the property taxes are current for the year. I did present proof of insurance on both vehicles, but can't remember if that was a requirement or not.

The hot chicks at my DMV actually told me I didn't need to register the vehicles (and pay the sales tax) if the bikes never left private property. There was no farm use exemption in Missouri, but one of them said their family never registered their ATVs. They said registering the trailer was more important than what is was hauling.

I went ahead and paid everything, at this age I'm not trying to cut corners
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