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What To Do If You Sign A Car Title Wrong

in Ownership
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Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

When you’re ready to sell your automobile, what should you do if you discover mistakes on the title? This is known as a damaged title, and it can make transferring the title more difficult. While it’s preferable to inspect a title and remedy any issues before buying, this tutorial will show you how to amend a written error on a car title when you’re selling it. Here’s what to do if you sign a title wrong. 

A car title, also known as a Certificate of Title, is a legal document that proves ownership of a vehicle. You can’t register your vehicle in your state until you have a car title, which is just as necessary as having a valid driver’s license. In most places, you may only get a copy of your title if you paid for the vehicle in full at the time of purchase or if you’ve paid off your loan in full.

The brand, model, and year of the vehicle, as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN), your name and address, and the odometer reading at the time you gained ownership are all shown on your car title. If there is a lienholder, it is also stated on the automobile title.

What to Do If You Sign a Title Wrong: The Basics

At the bare minimum, you should expect to follow this rough outline for making corrections.

  • Notify your nearest DMV in writing that there is a problem with the title
  • Request a duplicate title from the DMV (some states will have specific forms to follow)
  • If the former owner is to blame for the title problem, get in touch with them and have them accurately fill out the new car title
  • Make corrections to your alternative title for any problems that are your own

While some title errors are produced on purpose by persons with nefarious motives, the vast majority are unintentional. Because a car title is a legal document, all information on it must be correct. The following are some examples of inaccuracies you could encounter in a title:


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What to do if You Sign a Title Wrong and the Likely Errors to Look For

  • The title to the automobile was signed, but it was never transferred
  • The sale date is incorrect
  • The mileage on the odometer was inaccurate
  • The name of the buyer or vendor is misspelled
  • It’s a title from another state
  • The title is signed incorrectly or in the incorrect location

Common Mistakes Caused by the Seller

It’s fairly unusual for the person selling their own vehicle to make an error on the title, but it does happen from time to time. Most likely it would be an error by one number on the odometer, but errors can also be found in misspellings or incorrect addresses. If you’re selling your car and made a mistake on the paperwork, the best thing you can do is go to your local DMV and explain what occurred. You may get a duplicate title from the DMV and start in the office.

The easiest approach to avoid this is to only allow the buyer to sign the title once payment has been exchanged at the end of the deal. If you committed a mistake, the DMV can also help you fix it.

Title hopping is a prohibited activity when a car is never registered under the new owner and is sold again. This is a prohibited activity, and if you did not secure a title when you purchased your automobile, you must do so before selling it in the future.


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Common Mistakes Caused by the Buyer

When there are clerical title errors, you may not be able to transfer the title to your name correctly, so it’s important to double-check before completing the transaction. Enter the VIN into the National Motor Vehicle Information System, which is the nationwide database managed by the US Department of Justice, to check the title status. The following are the most typical blunders made by consumers.

1. Title is damaged

It’s not unusual for a buyer to complete a deal only to discover throughout the transfer procedure that part of the information provided was incorrect or incomplete. Contact the seller as well as your DMV so that the seller may work with you to remedy the errors.

2. Already signed title

If someone else signed the title before you, the seller may have had another buyer lined up to buy it, but they later changed their minds. Unfortunately, because of the title issue, you will be unable to register the vehicle in your name. You can work with the DMV to find a solution if you have the bill of sale and the buyer’s details, but it’s a lot easier if you can get the seller to come to the DMV.

3. Without the seller’s name on the title

If the current seller’s name does not match the vehicle owner’s name on the title, you should be careful. This practice, known as title hopping, is unlawful and can indicate fraud, however, it could simply be a genuine error. This is something you should discuss with the vendor before proceeding.

If you do end up noticing that there’s a mistake, you should never try to cross it out or use white-out. Because the title certificate is a legal document, any changes or corrections must be made through the proper procedures.


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A damaged title with incorrect information might cause legal issues by delaying the transfer of the title to its new owner. The easiest method to deal with this problem is to prevent it. During the transaction, double-check that you have all of the right information on the title. If you notice title issues, the easiest way to correct them is to contact your local DMV.  It may seem like a hassle, but this is what to do if you sign a title wrong to avoid any long-term legal issues. Make sure you are proactive in your buying or selling to avoid any issues with fixing the title.

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