Home » Here’s Why You Never Give A Stranger Your Old License Plate

Here’s Why You Never Give A Stranger Your Old License Plate

Mercedes Plate Fiasco Ts
ADVERTISEMENT

Four years ago, I made a critical error in what was otherwise a normal, boring private sale of an old motorcycle. A guy bought my 1980 Honda Gold Wing as his first motorcycle. The man rode away with my license plate and I didn’t realize it until it was too late, yet nothing bad happened. Now, all of this time later, the motorcycle is finally coming back to bite me. The Honda has been passed on to at least four more people over the past four years, and none of them have bothered to title the bike in their name or take my plate off. Now I’m getting tickets in the mail. I’m not paying them. Instead, I’m going to fight back.

Loving cars and motorcycles like I do is a blessing and a curse. Between cars, motorcycles, and buses I’ve owned over 60 vehicles in my life. That’s a lot of buying and selling. If you think selling one or two hoopties on Facebook is bad, imagine having sold dozens of vehicles to the denizens of your state. I’ve seen it all from death threats and accused crimes to even proposals from thirsty men. Calling me pretty may make me blush, but you’re still paying $1,500 for my garbage Volkswagen.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. I stopped giving my real address after the death threat and I try to do transactions in public places if I can. I always make sure my wife is present and nothing leaves my sight without cash in hand and a bill of sale. If the buyer is trying to come from a state or two away, I have to determine that they’re super serious, otherwise, I’d rather sell to someone somewhat nearby.

Agp5maodtj3jougrv1wj

All of these lessons have been learned through bad experiences. Something I learned early on was that you should remove your license plate from the vehicle. And if you’re the buyer and the seller leaves you with their plate, the responsible thing to do is discard them. But if that happened, I wouldn’t be writing about this broken Honda Gold Wing. Now I’m in big trouble.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Bike

The year is 2020. It’s the summer and I’ve been riding motorcycles for two years. My first and second bikes, which were purchased at about the same time, were a Buell Blast and a Honda Rebel 250. I grew out of those motorcycles within a couple of months and sold both of them. In their stead was my third motorcycle, a 1982 Suzuki GS850G, and my fourth motorcycle, a 1980 Honda Gold Wing.

I hit my newfound motorcycle passion running. Throughout 2018, 2019, and 2020, I purchased countless broken and barn find motorcycles, revived them, and then sold them. I didn’t do it for profit but just for the fun of it. Besides, it was a fantastic way to experience a bunch of vintage Japanese motorcycles in a rapid-fire manner. Through all of this, the Suzuki and the Honda remained my daily riders.

Gl1100

As the Honda’s story goes, the owner before me picked up the bike in a sorry state. He restored the bike to running order, giving it beautiful blue paint and a cushy seat. The motorcycle started life as a dresser, but he stripped it down to a naked wonder. He even simplified the fuel system. Old Gold Wings have four carbs laid out across the boxer engine and maintaining them can be a pain. So, a somewhat popular mod is tossing the four carbs in the garbage for one large carb meant for an air-cooled VW Beetle. This bike had that!

Sadly, the restorer never got to spend too much time with his motorcycle because he had to leave home to live on a military base. While there, he crashed his car, and the bike had to go to pay for repairs. That’s where I came in. I picked it up for $900 and rode away happy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Img 20190312 184900

Things were great for a while, but then the motorcycle began having issues starting. Some research revealed that the starter clutch was going. While that was happening, fuel economy was an atrocious 28 mpg and the front brake began sticking. I was going to fix all of this, but the nail in the coffin was when I was hours away in central Wisconsin and the right head gasket blew in spectacular manner.

Thankfully, I made it home, where I started looking into how to repair all of this. The poor fuel economy was because the motorcycle was running richer than Bill Gates, but so far as I could tell, the carb was fine. It just wasn’t the right carb for the job. The starter and head gasket problems would have required the motorcycle to come into multiple pieces. I didn’t have a garage of any kind at the time, so that wasn’t going to fly. Instead, I listed it for sale.

The Sale

Img 20190608 083227

Selling the motorcycle was almost too easy. I listed it for sale for about what I paid and the messages poured in. One of the prospective buyers wanted to get the motorcycle right away and he offered me exactly what I wanted to sell the motorcycle for. His plan was to fix the issues and use it as a first bike. Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t use an old Gold Wing as a first motorcycle, but it’s not my business if that was the route he wanted to take.

ADVERTISEMENT

The guy came by one Sunday afternoon and took the Honda for a spin. He noted the issues and the bike seemed solid enough for him. We exchanged cash, filled out a bill of sale, filled out the title, and then we both went on our way.

Img 20190409 191406

It wasn’t until days later that I realized I made a critical error. I did everything I should have but removed the license plate. I heard horror stories of people committing crimes with vehicles registered to other people. I didn’t want that to happen to me, but it was too late. He was gone and I couldn’t find his information to contact or find him. My lousy bill of sale didn’t even have his address or phone number.

I was extremely hard on myself, and maybe rightfully so. I sold enough vehicles by that point that removing a license plate should have been instinct. But I was a bonehead and didn’t do it.

The state of Illinois does offer some protection when this happens. At the bottom of every new Illinois title is a slip of paper that notifies the state when your vehicle changes hands. Well, that’s what it does in theory, anyway. You fill it out and mail it in. If you’re lucky, the state will go after the goober racking up fines with your plates rather than go after you.

ADVERTISEMENT

20240moto530 085433 Scaled

Unfortunately, in my experience either these little slips of paper never make it to the state or the state doesn’t process them, so they’re just as worthless as the paper they’re printed on. Still, it seemed like everything was fine. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years. I never got a ticket or heard anything bad about my old bike. Maybe the buyer did the right thing and tossed the plate when they got home.

I Didn’t Knock On Wood

Well, maybe I shouldn’t have gotten too comfortable.

Fb Goldwing

 

ADVERTISEMENT

When I’m bored, I check Facebook Marketplace for vehicles I sold in the past. I like to see what has happened to them. Sometimes I luck out and find my old vehicle, just to learn that the vehicle was fixed or blew up because the buyer didn’t listen to me. Oh well.

Things were different in April. I saw my old Gold Wing pop up for sale. Based on the listing’s description, someone fixed the head gasket and the starter, but let the bike fall apart everywhere else. The video attached to the ad showed that the bike ran like total dog crap, worse than when I owned it.

Screenshot 20240421 172050 Facebook

My fascination with the Honda’s condition was cut short when I saw the rear of the bike. I remember my license plates and the one in the ad was one I hadn’t seen for four years. Yep, this guy was riding around on my license plate, which by that time had been expired for five years. I then started digging into the seller and the guy I sold it to.

By my count, the guy I sold the Honda to gave it to another guy. That guy may have sold it to the guy who sold the Honda in April. That’s at least four changes in ownership since I had it and there could have been even more ownership links I’m missing. None of these four or more guys ever bothered to title the bike or remove my license plate from it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Screenshot 20240421 170503 Facebook

How do I know? Yesterday, I received two letters from the City of Chicago Department of Finance. At first, I was going to breathe a saddened sigh that I must have gotten tagged by Chicago’s infamously shady red light cameras. But then I remembered that I hadn’t taken one of my own vehicles into Chicago this year. Furthermore, the letters addressed me by my dead name, a name I haven’t been legally tied to for at least five years.

It suddenly made sense when I cracked open the letters. The fourth owner (at least), since I sold the Honda, is now riding around the city on my plates. They earned two tickets: One for the super expired plate and one for parking on a street on a street cleaning day. Two fines racking up a total of $120 addressed to yours truly.

The Problem

2024052wat9 214805 Scaled

In theory, I could just pay these tickets and go on with my life. Some people might do just that, effectively punishing themselves for leaving a plate on a sold vehicle. Some people might decide to ignore the tickets because it’s not their vehicle anymore, so it shouldn’t be their problem. Both of these are the wrong move.

ADVERTISEMENT

If someone is willing to get tickets in your name, they will be willing to rack up more. You will never stop paying for tickets. And if the person is running tolls, and I’m certain this person is, your fines will get expensive quickly. I’m waiting for the toll violations to roll in.

If you ignore these tickets, now you have another big problem. If you get enough unpaid tickets, the City of Chicago will boot your car the next time an officer sees it. And I mean they’ll boot any car registered in your name, not just the one that has tickets piling up. You also don’t want to screw with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, which has the power to ruin your life in a jiffy.

20240530 111646

So, the only path forward is to prove that I sold the bike and people have been jumping my title. Here’s where my wife and lawyer come in. Chicago gives you the ability to contest tickets either online, by mail, or in person. Sheryl says that for a case as complex as this, you don’t want to take chances doing things online or by mail. You need to argue your case in person.

Unfortunately for me, the little slip of paper that I sent to the state clearly never made it or was never processed. It’s been four years since then, so who knows where it is now. In another bonehead move, I also lost my bill of sale. Thankfully, I do take frequent screenshots and can do some solid research. I have proof I sold the motorcycle in 2020 and proof someone else was selling it in April 2024. I don’t know who bought the bike in April, but as Sheryl tells me, that’s going to be the seller’s problem, not mine.

ADVERTISEMENT

So, sometime in the near future I will have to enter a stuffy government building in Chicago to fight my case. While Sheryl is confident I can get out of these two tickets, the future is uncertain. In her experience, the city often doesn’t update its records in cases like these. If Chicago never updates that license plate in its systems, I will continue to get tickets and will have to fight every single one. Meanwhile, the guy running on my plate gets to do whatever he wants because legally, it’s still my motorcycle, not his.

Another side annoyance is the fact that Chicago is not allowing me to contest these tickets in my legal name, but the name written on the violation. So, that’s going to be fun.

Img 20190409 191335

Then there’s the tollway violations I’ll inevitably get. I’ll have to fight the state itself to get out of those, and the state really doesn’t like being told it’s wrong. If I continue to get tickets, the nuclear option will be to sue the latest seller. After all, jumping titles four times is pretty illegal. Sheryl says I can also report the license plate as lost or stolen, which will spell bad news to the guy racking up tickets in my name.

This is all a long way of saying that I made a small mistake that is biting me hard four years later. There’s a whole lot of suck coming and it could have been prevented. Always remove license plates before selling your vehicle to a stranger. And if you’re the buyer, don’t take license plates as permission to do whatever you want. Remove those plates and toss them, destroy them, hang them on a wall, or turn them into floorboards. Do anything but ruin that previous owner’s summer.

ADVERTISEMENT

As for my situation, this is only heating up. I will go through the entire headache of fixing this so that maybe, you’ll have an easier time going through it, too.

Popular Stories

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
96 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
WM
WM
1 month ago

Here is Aus both parties have to submit a copy of the sale and the registation is moved to the new driver, the plate stays with the vehicle. That seems like an odd system to have to remove the plate.

BenCars
BenCars
1 month ago
Reply to  WM

Same in most countries actually. America seems like the outlier.

Aardvark775
Aardvark775
1 month ago

Unfortunately, the easiest and best solution to this problem is to move to a different state.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago

What an odd system. In CA, you hand off the pink slip off the title to the other person upon sale and submit it to the DMV to release you. The plate stays with the car.

Brad the Slacker
Brad the Slacker
1 month ago

So, sometime in the near future I will have to enter a stuffy government building in Chicago to fight my case

Like this one?

https://static1.srcdn.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/stephen-speilberg-blues-brothers-1.jpg?q=50&fit=crop&w=825&dpr=1.5

Piston Slap Yo Mama
Piston Slap Yo Mama
1 month ago

Listen to Sheryl and report the plate as stolen. Easy peasy, then get back to writing your excellent prose.

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago

Many moons ago in Alberta I bought a car off a friend well actually I had loaned him the money to buy it and he never paid me back so I had him sign it over to me. I registered and insured it and drove it for a few years. It seems I forgot to put my plates on it an left them under the seat, I got pulled over and the cop noted this but was nice enough to let me swap them over. Friend contacted me as he received a pike of parking and other violations on his old plate. He laughed and said no problem as he went to court and was able to prove it wasn’t him as he had been a guest of the provincial jail at the times of the tickets, and they never came back after me.

Dangerous_Daveo
Dangerous_Daveo
1 month ago

That is an archaic system…

Last 2x cars I’ve bought/sold, you get the road worthy cert, that’s uploaded online live by the road worthy company, you link it with the transfer of ownership, pay some stamp duty, and done. Everyone gets email records of the whole encounter.

Given it is all linked to drivers licence details, once you’ve put the time stamp on it, its the new owners problem.

This can be done 365/6 days a year, without stepping foot in a government building, or talking to a government employee.

It is honestly easier, and safer if plates stay with the car at this point.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago

In Oregon the plate usually stays with the car, so when I traded in my old Jetta and the dealer sent it to auction whoever bought it never titled it because I got a letter that it was impounded. The nice person in Hillsboro said I could let it go to auction, no harm no foul and that’s what happened. No other vehicle has come back to haunt me.

Weston
Weston
1 month ago

I sold my rebuilt 03 Altima in 2018 for $1000 and while I got a bill of sale and took the plate on New Year’s Eve the buyers boyfriend got a DUI and I got a letter from the NC state police saying I could pick up the car or it would be auctioned. The impound fee was $300 and I figured the state selling it was the best bet.

Danger Ranger
Danger Ranger
1 month ago

I didn’t leave the plate, but apparently my old Ranger was still registered to me. They used the plate from another car, it got impounded when the guy got a DUI, and 3 years after I sold it… I got a call from an officer asking about the situation, he said it was technically still titled in my name so I could come and get it. However, I would have had to pay the impound fees and towing, which was more than I unloaded the truck for.

Deathspeed
Deathspeed
1 month ago
Reply to  Danger Ranger

I had a similar situation when I sold my beloved but stolen/wrecked/recovered 86 Grand Prix. The buyer fixed it and sold it again, and about a year later I got a notice that it had been impounded for being illegally parked and with expired tags registered to another vehicle. I showed the bill of sale and the copy I had made of the title with my signature and the new buyer’s, but he had never bothered to register it. The cops said “Legally, the car is yours. We will drop the tickets, and you can have the car for the cost of the towing and impound fees.” Well, I went to look at it with $400 cash in my wallet, but the poor thing wasn’t worth the drive out there. Huge panel gaps from the body repair, mismatched door card, 3″ deep shag seat covers, somehow the pristine headliner had completely collapsed, steering column still not replaced after the theft, at least 2 cylinders misfiring, and it smelled like the penguin house at the zoo. The condition still brings a tear to my eye.

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
1 month ago

The only time I left a plate on a car was when I sold my ’96 900S to a friend down on Long Island.

Something about the way we’d filled out the title pissed off the Vogons in the DMV down there, so he drove ‘Baab’ on my old still-valid plates for a bit… until he did a slow-roll right-on-red and I got a ‘ticket’ in the mail from whatever scammy company ran the camera.

I didn’t pay shit, because the notice hadn’t been issued by any government body, but I had him mail my plates back.

Chris D
Chris D
1 month ago
Reply to  FuzzyPlushroom

The fix for those cameras would be a can of spray-on bedliner. Spraying thoroughly with bedliner on the lights and lenses would be illegal, and it would no longer function, so no one should ever do that. So do not do that, it would be wrong.

Piston Slap Yo Mama
Piston Slap Yo Mama
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris D

Also, it’s technically “wrong” to saw the traffic camera poles off with an angle grinder.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 month ago

Dang. Hopefully you can get it all sorted out with minimal hassle and maximal effect. Whatever updates you have and can provide will indeed be helpful for those of us who find ourselves in such situations.
Not directly related (indeed, not really related at all, ha) to license plates but I had a bit of an odd experience with coincidence involving a long-relinquished car. My ex and I had a car hit by a rear-ender in 1997; we took it to a body shop for evaluation while waiting on the insurance companies (the rear-ender protested that it was not their fault despite all the evidence and eyewitnesses to the contrary so it was a bit of a mess to sort out) and once everything was settled we turned the title & other documents over to the insurance company that had totalled the car (I did indeed take the license plate) and bought another car with the settlement money. Some four years later we moved across the country; two years later we were visiting our hometown and was chatting with former colleagues at work when the office received a telephone call asking for us even though we had already left some two years prior to moving (so a good four years) and it turned out to be the body shop asking what to do about the totalled car which was still on their premises six years later. Talk about timing!! We were in town for only a few days and were only visiting with colleagues for a few minutes!! We gave the body shop the insurance company’s information; it has been more than twenty-one years since that phone call but I do occasionally wonder if I’ll get another phone call about that car.

Last edited 1 month ago by Collegiate Autodidact
Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
1 month ago

I like keeping old plates for my collection, plus if there’s still some registration time left on the plate I’ll run with it for a while to save some money on registration. I did that with a New Mexico plate, ran it for like 4 months before I registered the car, never ran into any problems. Granted, I don’t run red lights or deal with tolls (none of those in Arizona really) or paid parking so it shouldn’t come back to the previous owner.

The Clutch Rider
The Clutch Rider
1 month ago

in Ohio you can transfer registrations from one car to another. I still have plates from 1998 on my 2017 car. This was all done at the dealer when purchasing new cars

Robn
Robn
1 month ago

I learned (a version of) this the hard way in Chicago, too. Totaled my wife’s car and didn’t think to remove the rear plate at the scene — the front plate was shredded. Someone must’ve taken it off the car in the impound lot or wherever they towed it, as I ended up with a stack of tickets in my name for a car I hadn’t driven in over a year. By the time we figured out what was going on, it was too late to fight them, nobody at any city office would empathize with the situation, so I ended up having paying them all. Lesson learned.

I_drive_a_truck
I_drive_a_truck
1 month ago

Definitely report the plate as lost. That’s the sure-fire way to get the new owner to toss it and it will make it easier to contest future tickets, etc.

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
1 month ago

I ALWAYS request Proof of Delivery for any government related business (mostly tickets) and it saved my ass when the mail sorter exploded ink all over the address and I had to fight a felony driving with suspended license charge (dismissed with prejudice).

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

I thought you were supposed to surrender unused plates to the DMV.

Robert M. Graham
Robert M. Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Not in Ohio.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

I dunno, it seems your experience shows there aren’t many real consequences to keep using them. Consequences for the evildoers anyway.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago

Yeah, the only place I’ve lived that really cared what you did with them was New York – and, in that case, it was more of an either send the plates back or pay a moderate fine thing, rather than a hard mandate.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
1 month ago

My old roommate had a piece of crap Geo Storm that he bought from Ugly Duckling (AKA DriveTime). A few months later the repair bills for it to be fixed were higher than the amount he owed or the car’s value, so he surrendered it to the dealer before they could repossess it. He never had the title so he couldn’t fill out the change of ownership slip at the bottom. The dealer sold it at auction to a person who racked up several $300 tickets (this was in the mid 1990’s) parking on the street in Downtown Los Angeles and he had to fight every one.

MP81
MP81
1 month ago

My now-wife and I dealt with this shit when she wrecked her car shortly after we first started dating (a solid 12.5 years ago now). Car was towed by some shitty local towing company (in Flint so, that says a lot) – the owner being a complete fucking asshole who wouldn’t even let her go get her stuff from inside unless she paid the tow bill. Plate never got taken off the car.

Flint, being Flint, meant that plate was immediately stolen.

Whatever it was affixed to immediately racked up parking tickets. Parking on lawns, etc.

We had to go to court multiple times because the judge could not understand what was a pretty clear situation of a stolen license plate, so that was a massive waste of our time (including after more tickets were received after we reported the plate stolen to SOS – the DMV for those not in Michigan).

We finally happened to get connected with the court clerk (and I don’t even remember how at this point) who immediately understood the bullshit we were being forced to deal with and shut it down right then and there. We never had another issue again.

But fuck that was an obnoxious nightmare.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  MP81

“We finally happened to get connected with the court clerk (and I don’t even remember how at this point) who immediately understood the bullshit we were being forced to deal with and shut it down right then and there. We never had another issue again.”

Connecting with the court clerk right after getting those tickets dismissed sounds like exactly what Mercedes needs to do.

Der Foo
Der Foo
1 month ago

{Chuckle}… It is Chicago and within the State of Illinois. Double doom.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

One can hope. If anything it leaves a stronger paper trail for any future inconveniences.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

Or…

Since the title has never been transferred, order a replacement title. Once received, arrange a meeting with the current seller.

When you meet, present the title showing you as the legal owner. Tell the guy he can give you the bike then and there, or he can explain to the cops how he has possession of your motorcycle. Take it home, fix it (or don’t) and resell it. Use the money to pay for the tickets.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

It is terrible, but it’s nice and legal, as far as I know.

Also, anyone in possession of the bike has clearly adopted an FU attitude toward the legal owner. That’s you.

Your response can be “F ME? F U.”

That’s the Chicago way…

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

“That’s the Chicago way…”

Totally read that in Sean Connery’s voice.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
1 month ago

Report it stolen?

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Genius. I heartily approve.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

“he can explain to the cops how he has possession of your motorcycle.”

Great idea in theory. The question is whether if the bike were to be reported stolen whether the cops would bother to ask.

OTOH I’d hate to be pulled over on a bike that’s been reported as stolen.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

While this would certainly be the most satisfying move, I would not recommend it unless you want an enemy for life who may want to take vengeance upon you at a later date. Probably not worth it.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Eh, maybe. But anyone who buys a motorcycle with no title and 4 year expired plates is either naive or knows exactly what they’re getting into.

If they’re naive, they’ll chalk it up to lesson learned. If they know, then they probably don’t want to attract the attention of the cops. For what that bike is worth, I bet they’ll just cut their losses.

Jb996
Jb996
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Never confront the guy directly!! That’s a recipe for a confrontation nobody wants. That’s what police are for.
You could title it, then just report it stolen.
But it will be difficult to explain how exactly it was stolen without also making a false police report.

Best approach is to just report the plate stolen. That’s the first thing Mercedes should do.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jb996
Maxzillian
Maxzillian
1 month ago

Based on the tickets I’d say it would be reasonably easy to track down the bike and go retrieve your plate. Maybe not particularly practical, but if you’re in Chicago anyway…

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 month ago

It’s important to note that in some states the license plate stays with the vehicle for life, it doesn’t stay with the owner. I can’t speak for other states, but California handles this by having the seller submit a “release of liability” form to the DMV when the vehicle is sold that in theory absolves the seller of any sins that the buyer may commit. It used to be a paper form, but now you can do it online, which I do the moment the sold vehicle has left my driveway.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Yep, I was going to make the same note that in some states the plates stay with the vehicle upon sale. I’ve lived in a few of those states, and almost all use a form to notify the state DMV of the sale.

Robert M. Graham
Robert M. Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

You nailed the problem. I’m from California, and I’m still not quite used to this whole keep the plate thing. When I sold my first vehicle here, I was told that you have to surrender the plates, so I packed them up and sent them to the DMV at the state capital. Only later did I find out that you just have to file a form and then keep the plates. Sure seems like a wide open way to support crime.

ClutchAbuse
ClutchAbuse
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Yep! The release form is attached to the title and is separated when you sell it. I always make sure the buyer fills this out before I hand over the keys. I then go immediately to the DMV website when I get home (I never sell vehicles at my own address) and get that thing out of my name ASAP.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Even with California keeping the plate on the vehicle for life we seem to be running out of available plate sequences (we are in the 9s now in our 1AAA1111 series plates) and I wonder what they’ll do next. In any case, even filing the release of liability doesn’t always work.

In 2012 I was refinancing the house and had money sitting in an escrow account for a buydown and about to close the loan when suddenly the whole deal got put on hold – for ONE unpaid parking ticket mind you – issued in 2008 – on a car I had not possessed since the 1990s. To boot, I had moved about 10 years before so any notices went to my old address.

I wound up having to drive all the way downtown to provisionally pay and protest the ticket with evidence the car wasn’t mine at the time of the ticket, and I wound up refiling the release of liability paperwork to ensure it didn’t happen again.

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 month ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

That’s why I said the release of liability works in theory. Thankfully I’ve never had to test it. I’m hoping things have improved since 2012 now that they handle it online, but who knows.

California commercial (aka truck) license plates already ran out of digits a few years back. The last of the original sequence was 9Z99999, then when they ran out they flipped the sequence backwards and started over with 00000A1. I suspect when car plates run out of digits they’ll do the same and go from 9ZZZ999 to 000AAA1.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Texas gives you the option to leave the plates with the car or keep them. There is a similar Vehicle Transfer Form here that you fill out within 30 days of selling the car that is supposed to release the seller from any liability related to the car or plates if you don’t keep them (there is a check box on the form to indicate if plates remained with the car).

Der Foo
Der Foo
1 month ago

I always take the plates and file a vehicle notice of transfer. Sure the county Tax Offices (they handle vehicle registrations and plates in Texas) can be backed way up and the process is a pain to get a temp-temp tag and then if needed a regular temp tag, but that is the buyer’s problem.

If you have a TxTag, for the love of Mike, remove it. TxTag is a huge King Kong, PITA to deal with when they get it in their tiny minds that you own them money. Legislation has limited their ability to make life expensive, but they still try.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 month ago
Reply to  Der Foo

100% agree about the TxTag. Those guys are f-ing insufferable to deal with. My wife refuses to get a tag just from the horror stories that have made the news. Fortunately, we rarely use toll roads.

Der Foo
Der Foo
1 month ago

North Texas Toll Authority (orange circle with a T in it) seem to have a good reputation.

The head of the toll road system that runs through Cedar Park, TX, said that if you go out to their headquarters’ parking lot, you will see NTTA stickers in their employee vehicles, not TxTag, which is located just down in Austin.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Only a week after I sold my Toyota pickup I got a call from the police about the truck being in a wreck. I told them that I sold it and had submitted the Release of Liability form (kept a copy). That was that, and I never heard from from them again. Too bad they wrecked it, it was a great little truck.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

That sucks. Sheryl is right, though. It should be pretty easy to get out of the tickets, especially if the judge is even slightly sympathetic. I had my front plate stolen once and had a parking ticket mailed to me a few weeks later. When I went to court to fight it, I simply told the judge what happened and he let it slide. I was prepared to prove I wasn’t even in town at the time but it didn’t get to that level. The judge even cracked a joke about it.
I’ve been on the other side, too. When I bought my first (and only) motorcycle, my friend let me borrow an old plate of his so I could ride it home. That plate stayed on a little longer than it should have, I got pulled over, and the bike got impounded. Oops.

Stink E. Jones
Stink E. Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

“It should be pretty easy to get out of the tickets”

You don’t Chicago, do you bro?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago
Reply to  Stink E. Jones

I do not. But I did Baltimore. I was also white at the time, so that probably helped.

I_drive_a_truck
I_drive_a_truck
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

White at the time? What are you now?

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

Best not to ask…

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

Gray. It was a long time ago.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago

Hell yes report it lost or stolen! Each one of the buyers knew exactly what they were doing.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Yeah, this, not even an extreme measure, she really doesn’t have the plate in her possession, doesn’t truly know where it is, and it is being used illegally, so report it. More documentation of what’s happing the better

Tarragon
Tarragon
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Is there any downside to either of these?

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Related, someone stole the plate off my bike a few years back.

I contacted the DMV, expecting some huge process and was pleasantly surprised when they told me to just apply for a new plate, and then the old one will be disconnected in the system from my bike/flagged as not a valid plate. Shocking pragmatic for a government agency.

Viking Longcar
Viking Longcar
1 month ago

Yuck. Good luck!

96
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x