By Cheri Sicard
Author Robin Barrett of Creativity RV recently bought a used Airstream. She says she made a BIG mistake in regard to the RV title transfer and VIN verification process that could have cost her all her money. In the video below, she is here to make sure that others don’t make the same mistake.
Had Robin not been able to remedy this mistake, and it did take some creative problem-solving skills, she would have had the trailer, BUT she would not have been able to register it, use it, or even sell it.
Potential RV title transfer issues when buying out of state
As this was Robin’s fifth RV, she thought she knew what she was doing. However, this was the first time she bought from a private seller in another state. Both she and the seller did all their research and both believed they were doing everything correctly.
They were wrong.
The seller was from Louisiana and the trailer was registered there. Robin lives in Colorado. They met in Texas at the seller’s bank.
Robin gave the seller a certified check for the full amount of the trailer. They both signed the bill of sale in front of a notary at the bank. They signed the title transfer in front of the notary, too, and asked her if she should notarize the back, but the notary replied that was not allowed in Texas. Instead, they filled out something called an acknowledgment form and Robin forked over the money.
She had a copy of the bill of sale, the title transfer, and the seller’s driver’s license. The two women then went their separate ways.
Robin knew she had to get something called a VIN verification to transfer the title to Colorado. This protects buyers as it ensures the VIN number actually matches what you are buying and that there are no other legal issues that would prevent you from registering the RV.
Obtaining a VIN verification may vary slightly from state to state, but it involves filling out a form and physically bringing in the RV for inspection. As the local police had a 6-week waiting list, Robin instead went to a local car dealer. Watch the video for details, but he filled out the form incorrectly for an RV and subsequently the DMV could not process the form.
The DMV employee then looked at Robin’s title transfer and bill of sale, frowned, then walked away. She returned with a REJECTED form!
Why? Because the transfer did not comply with Louisiana title transfer requirements.
Robin was never in Louisiana, but the title was.
So, the important takeaway is to always check the rules not only where you are registering your RV but also in the state it is coming from.
What was the issue? Louisiana requires the notary to stamp the back of the title; however, Texas does not allow this!
One solution is to obtain a bonded title. This can be complex and expensive and can take about a year to complete. And you can’t use your RV during that period.
Robin had to jump through a lot of hoops to solve this dilemma. She also did research and found that every state is different.
Be sure to watch the video for details and how to research what you need to do before you buy a used RV from out of state. Doing so can save you a whole lot of time, money, headaches, and frustrations.
Seems like a quick look at the back of the La. title (along with a read of the three-line instructions at the top) would have educated you and the Texas notary. I wonder if the notary who ultimately executed the La. title was a La. notary?
But you are 100% correct about paying attention to the title state’s regs when buying a vehicle. Purchasers (to use the term loosely) wind up losing their cash when the ostensible seller is nowhere to be found.
I purchased a 2019 Winnebago from a camping world in Nashville, but I lived in Pennsylvania, this was a major headache because the title clerk at the Nashville CW claims she lived in Pennsylvania previously for a very long time! And she knew the PA rules and laws?? I was already prepared with forms my Online Notary said I needed, one was a Vin Inspection, the title clerk said I had to tow the camper all the way to Pennsylvania in mid winter to have a State Inspection done! (Yes this was eventually required but not the same thing as the vin inspection) I had a form from Pennsylvania for the out of state vin inspection it needed either police or a manager of the RV dealership to verify the vin matches the title!!! The title clerk refused to do this she said she wasn’t authorized to do a Inspection?? She was hung up on the difference between a vin and safety inspection . I had already paid for the camper and was not going to tow it to Pennsylvania and back she even argued with the pa DMV
To finish my experience when I got to Pennsylvania with everything except the Vin inspection form filled out and notorized, the Notary/DMV called Camping World and tried to put some sense into the CW clerks head!!? She argued with them for 30 minutes telling them they were wrong and she knew the rules, eventually the notary got ahold of someone higher up and explained the incorrect knowledge their clerk was using. After the notary faxed another form to them she filled it out and faxed it back. They already had to do a vin inspection when it was traded in ! If she didn’t do the work my vacation to snowbird in Arizona would have ended right there and I would have had to put the camper In Storage until All the snow had cleared in PA so I could use a camper I fully paid $40K for. If I had financed it things would have been different, CW was actually not happy I didn’t they lost out on the kickbacks they get.
That’s similar to when I was in the Marines stationed in Cherry Point, NC and bought a car. There is something about being in the service with a drivers license from your home state and buying and registering a car in NC that throws a monkey wrench into all the statues. It took 3 months to get it all straightened out in which I had a car that I couldn’t drive, couldn’t get it on the base due to no registration and had to store it off base. When I bought the car from another Marine he didn’t inform me of any of this as he was being transferred the next day and couldn’t take the car with him. It was a headache, this was 1963 before computers so everything happened through snail mail.
Wow. As frustrating as computers can be , doing all that through snail mail had to be WAY worse.
What a horror story! This took real ‘sticktoitedness’ (new Tommy word). I’m really glad I took the time to watch this.