Missouri Auto Fraud and the Systemic Problem of Dealers Failing to Timely Deliver Title to Vehicles
Missouri law requires that at the time of sale of a motor vehicle or trailer, there shall pass between the parties a properly assigned certificate of title. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A DEALER TO SELL A VEHICLE IN MISSOURI WITHOUT CONTEMPORANEOUSLY DELIVERING TITLE. Unfortunately, it happens all the time.
Missouri Auto Fraud and the Systemic Problem of Dealers Failing to Timely Deliver Title to VehiclesMissouri law requires that at the time of sale of a motor vehicle or trailer, there shall pass between the parties a properly assigned certificate of title. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A DEALER TO SELL A VEHICLE IN MISSOURI WITHOUT CONTEMPORANEOUSLY DELIVERING TITLE. Unfortunately, it happens all the time.
Section 301.210, RSMo concerning the sale and transfer of vehicles.
301.210 Sale and transfer of vehicles - assignment of certificate - new certificate - notice of sale to nonresident - director of revenue to keep file - other sales void - 1. In the event of a sale or transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle or trailer for which a certificate of ownership has been issued, the holder of such certificate shall endorse on the same an assignment thereof, with warranty of title in form printed thereon, and prescribed by the Director of Revenue, with a statement of all liens or encumbrances on such motor vehicle or trailer, and deliver the same to the buyer at the time of the delivery to him of such motor vehicle or trailer; provided that, when the transfer of a motor vehicle, trailer, boat or outboard motor occurs within a corporation which holds a license to operate as a motor vehicle or boat dealer pursuant to Sections 301.550 to 301.575, the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection 6 of section 144.070, RSMo, shall not apply. 2. The buyer shall then present such certificate, assigned as aforesaid, to the director of revenue, at the time of making application for the registration of such motor vehicle or trailer, whereupon a new certificate of ownership shall be issued to the buyer, the fee therefore being that prescribed in subsection 5 of section 301.190. 3. If such motor vehicle or trailer is sold to a resident of another state or country, or if such motor vehicle or trailer is destroyed or dismantled, the owner thereof shall immediately notify the director of revenue. Certificates when so signed and returned to the director of revenue and all certificates shall be appropriately indexed so that at all times it will be possible for him to expeditiously trace the ownership of the motor vehicle or trailer designated therein. 4. It shall be unlawful for any person to buy or sell in this state any motor vehicle or trailer registered under the laws of this state, unless, at the time of the delivery thereof, there shall pass between the parties such certificates of ownership with an assignment thereof, as provided in this section, and the sale of any motor vehicle or trailer registered under the laws of this state, without the assignment of such certificate of ownership, shall be fraudulent and void.
Identification Number and Odometer Reading Inspection Required With Out-of-State TitleIn order to obtain a Missouri certificate of title for a motor vehicle previously titled in another state, the applicant must obtain a completed Missouri Motor Vehicle Inspection Approval Certificate to verify the vehicle identification number and odometer reading from an official inspection station authorized by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The fee for an inspection is deter- mined by each inspection station and will not exceed $12.
Licensed Missouri motor vehicle dealers can submit either the original or a copy of the safety/emissions inspection certificate with the application for title in a dealership’s name on a motor vehicle previously titled in another state. The dealership may retain the original safety/emissions inspection approval certificate in order to provide the ultimate purchaser of the vehicle with this inspection. This prevents the dealership from having to perform two separate inspections on the same vehicle.
The requirement to obtain a Missouri Motor Vehicle Inspection Approval Certificate verifying the manufacturer’s identification number and odometer reading applies to every individual, company, corporation, and dealership which is making application for an original “Title Only.” There is no exception to this rule.
Section 301.210, RSMo provides that ownership of a motor vehicle or trailer legally transfers only at the time a certificate of ownership is assigned. The purchase/sale date must be on or after the issue date of the title. The only exception to this would be if an original title was assigned to the purchaser, then lost. The duplicate title issued (or original title in the dealer’s name as explainedonpages2-3)maybebackdatedtothedateofpurchaselistedonthe original title. If the owner of a vehicle issues a bill of sale to the purchaser without the title, the purchaser has no legal ownership rights to the vehicle until such time as the title is assigned.