Doc observed this post on eBay’s Motors Discussion Board this morning from a buyer that apparently bought this 2010 Ford F-150 Pickup truck from a private seller, and was asking for advice how to pay for it and receive the title.
One of the discussion board community support members told the guy to be sure the vehicle was titled in the eBay sellers account holders name.
Talk about misinformation! What does having the title in the eBay account holders name have anything to do with proving who owns the vehicle? Even eBay’s VPP does not stipulate that the vehicle must be titled in the sellers account holders name to provide coverage. Though that might not be a bad idea to help curb the curbstoners.
The 1st step for any Internet vehicle buyer is to verify that the seller is indeed the legal owner of said vehicle offered for sale. My advice to the winner of that truck auction is to request a copy of the Title front and back, AND a copy of the sellers Drivers License to prove it is his truck to sell.
The next step is to verify if their is a lien on the vehicle or not. It’s the buyers responsibility to request either a fax, or scanned document, sent via email attachment of any Lien Satisfaction proof the seller has. And then to call the lien holder to verify that the lien is paid off! The normal procedure for a lien holder satisfying a lien is to send notification to the state that the lien is satisfied so they can remove it from their records. And also send a paper notice to the vehicle owner that the lien is paid in full. If the lien holder is holding a paper title, they would put an official stamp on the title front saying Lien Satisfied and the date it was satisfied, along with a signature of the official applying the stamp. This vehicle in question does show a lien being applied shortly after it was 1st sold on eBay’s Auto Check History Report. It should also be noted that it’s rare to see either CarFax or Experian show a Lien Satisfaction. Being that this was a new Ford product Ford Motor Credit Company probably is or was the official lien holder of record.
If the vehicle does have a lien on it. Whatever you do, DO NOT send full payment to the seller / owner and rely on them to pay off the lien and send you a clear title. In the past i have bought Internet vehicles in other states by sending TWO Cashiers Checks, one to the Lien Holder that has agreed to mail me the title after the pmt was received. And the other to the vehicles owner for the difference. This is really the only way to protect yourself.
Depending on the state where the vehicle is titled a paper title may be optional. In Florida a paper title is optional at time of transfer and is available for an additional fee. A seller of a vehicle with an E-Title can go to any Tag Agency and get a paper title. Here is a link to Florida DMV FAQ about Electronic (E-Titles). And a link to Texas DMV where i did not see anything about Electronic Titles.
In this situation eBay’s VPP would cover the buyer if he sent payment and did not receive the title or the vehicle, and since the seller did not state whether there was a lien or not, the VPP should also cover an undisclosed lien, if that turned out to be the case. However it’s important to Research The FILING Deadline for an eBay VPP Claim which is usually 30 days from the listings end. But regardless whether you are covered or not, do your homework first!
If the buyer is not planning on personally picking this truck up, thus doing his own Inspection in person. Be sure to pay a 3rd party to inspect it for you. A local Ford Dealer can do this for about an hours labor rate. There is always the possibility that the vehicle could have been involved in an accident or other form of damage, but not shown on a vehicle history report. It can sometimes take up to 90 days or longer for fresh damage to be added to CarFax and Auto Check History Reports. Also be sure to run the vehicles VIN Number through the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) Database.
Times are really tough these days! There is a multitude of scams all over the Internet, not just on eBay Motors. Though Doc believes eBay Motors was the birthplace of Internet vehicle fraud.
Until you have thoroughly done your homework and VERIFIED EVERYTHING, Never Never Blindly Send Payment For A Vehicle!
You very well could have been bidding on someones STOLEN PHOTOS and DESCRIPTION. Hard times can force ordinary honest people to do something that’s fraudulent and against the law.