October 17, 2023

Private seller sold me a car without a title

Dear Consumer Ed:

I recently bought a car from a private citizen, but the seller said he had lost the title. So, I have a bill of sale, but no title. What can I do to obtain a tag and title?

Consumer Ed says:                                                                                

In Georgia, titles are required for all 1986 and newer year model vehicles. If a vehicle that falls into this category does not have a title, you won’t be able to register the car, which would leave you stuck with a vehicle you can’t legally drive.

You have several options that would allow you to register your vehicle. You can contact the seller to ask for a replacement title. The seller can apply for a replacement title at the County Tag Office. This requires a completed Form MV-1 DOR Motor Vehicle Title/Tag Application, an $8 fee, and a few further requirements. Once the seller receives the duplicate title, it can be signed over to you to transfer ownership and you can then register the car. For more information regarding replacement titles, visit dor.georgia.gov/replace-lost-or-stolen-title.

Another option is for you to apply for a bonded title, which is a title based on a surety bond. Please note that there is a charge for the surety bond based on the value of the vehicle. You can apply for a bonded title at the County Tag Office. This requires an $18 fee, a completed Form MV-1 DOR Motor Vehicle Title/Tag Application, a completed Form MV-46 Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title Bond, a Form MV-46A Affidavit Supporting Certificate of Title Bond Application and a few other completed forms. For more information about bonded titles, visit dor.georgia.gov/bonded-vehicle-title.

For vehicles manufactured before 1986, you do not need a certificate of title, but you must provide a Bill of Sale completed by the seller in order to transfer ownership and register the car in your name. You will need to bring the Bill of Sale, along with a Form T-22B Certification of Inspection completed by law enforcement, to your local County Tag Office.

Visit dor.georgia.gov/motor-vehicle-titles-and-registration for more information and Tag office locations.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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