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Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

  1. #1
    Lifer SwiftTone's Avatar
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    Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company


    So I came upon a bike online for a good deal. The thing is that it is in possession by a tow yard in Worcester, MA.

    The story given to me is that they towed this bike and the owner never came to pick it up. Apparently after a certain amount of time, they list it in the news paper and if no one claims it then they are able to sell it. He is saying the towing company will give me a "packet of paperwork" which shows they have taken legal ownership of the bike, a letter signed by the chief of police stating they're able to sell it, and "2 green slips only the RMV can open" which will allow me to register and title is the bike.

    How do I find out this is not BS? How can I check if it's a clean title? What can go wrong?

    This is all new to me so if anyone can shine light on this it would be great.

    Sent from my SM-G998U using Tapatalk

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    Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.

    Current: 2016 S1000XR. Past: S1000R, Streefighter S, Monter S2R1000, RC51, CBR600

  2. #2

    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftTone View Post
    So I came upon a bike online for a good deal. The thing is that it is in possession by a tow yard in Worcester, MA.

    The story given to me is that they towed this bike and the owner never came to pick it up. Apparently after a certain amount of time, they list it in the news paper and if no one claims it then they are able to sell it. He is saying the towing company will give me a "packet of paperwork" which shows they have taken legal ownership of the bike, a letter signed by the chief of police stating they're able to sell it, and "2 green slips only the RMV can open" which will allow me to register and title is the bike.

    How do I find out this is not BS? How can I check if it's a clean title? What can go wrong?

    This is all new to me so if anyone can shine light on this it would be great.

    Sent from my SM-G998U using Tapatalk
    Not an expert at all but my understanding is that tow yards and shops can apply for a mechanics lien which is essentially transfer of ownership. Not sure what that looks like in paperwork but if they have that to give that means they own the bike, title or not.

    What can go wrong if they aren't the rightful owner of the bike, means they don't have legal rights to sell it and it will never be officially yours even if you pay money for it. Technically it's a stolen item and you can't own it.

    With that said, if the place is an established place that's been around for a while, odds are good this isn't their first rodeo and they are legit. A new tow place I wouldn't trust as much.

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  3. #3

    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Ask the police chief that they say has signed off on it.

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  4. #4
    Lifer SwiftTone's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    More info; this was a police ordered tow and the owner never came to claim the bike. RMV website states:
    “A police department or other public authority may order a vehicle to be towed and stored. If the owner does not come to collect the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time, the towing company may acquire ownership of the vehicle and sell it to satisfy a lien for non-payment of storage fees, but only after all of the requirements of the law are met.

    The following documents are required:
    -Affidavit of sale for involuntarily towed vehicle
    -Certified letter to owner's last known address
    -Newspaper advertisement that appeared for one day per week for three consecutive weeks in the city or town where the vehicle is stored
    -Letter to police chief detailing the facts and indicating the intent to sell
    -Bill of Sale to purchaser”

    Seems pretty straight outline. The seller said he will provide all the paperwork listed above. I also ran the VIN on the RMV website and title came back clear.

    So has anyone actually gone through with this process?

    https://www.mass.gov/info-details/in...vehicle-liens-

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  5. #5
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    this was years ago, 1974? I was "in between" jobs, driving wrecker, (this was before the ramp trucks that are used now) with a boom and sling. We had it written in the fine print, and the contract with the cities and towns for illegally parked vehicles. iirc, $25 for the tow, $2/day storage, what is it now, $250 for the tow, $20/day storage ?

    but back then, in Vermont, titles were not required, just a bill of sale, that could easily be made up.

    we sold a lot of vehicles that were acquired that way. Our impound lot was 3 sides chain link fence and the other was at loading height drop off. One guy thought he's thought his car was the General Lee and he'd steal it out of the lot.

    Now, everything is complicated

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  6. #6
    (4) Try not to be a dick. PurplePackage's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Yes, you can expect a lot of problems if you just show up at a DMV and ask for help. Make an appointment with someone that knows how to process bonded titles. If you don't, they won't have a clue how to process it, and you will be there all day waiting for someone that isn't even there.

    https://www.mass.gov/info-details/ti...nded-vehicles-

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  7. #7
    Lifer burnham's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    I work for a town, and see a pretty large tow company when I respond to accidents sometimes. I'll ask those guys when I see them. I know of one time five or six years ago where they towed a tractor trailer, had it in their yard for a month or two, and then were able to sell it at auction. So I know it happens, but have no idea about the legal process.

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  8. #8
    Lifer SwiftTone's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Seller said he has all the documents to title and register. Gonna go see the bike tomorrow. Wish me luck

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  9. #9
    (4) Try not to be a dick. PurplePackage's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    "All the documents" is more or less a subjective thing. Good luck on your title quest

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  10. #10
    Lifer SwiftTone's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePackage View Post
    "All the documents" is more or less a subjective thing. Good luck on your title quest
    I gave him a list of documents I need. He said he has all those documents. Not subjective at all.

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    Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.

    Current: 2016 S1000XR. Past: S1000R, Streefighter S, Monter S2R1000, RC51, CBR600

  11. #11
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Good luck, hope it works out. What bike??

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  12. #12
    (4) Try not to be a dick. PurplePackage's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftTone View Post
    I gave him a list of documents I need. He said he has all those documents. Not subjective at all.
    See previous link, 2nd sentence.

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  13. #13
    Lifer SwiftTone's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePackage View Post
    See previous link, 2nd sentence.
    This was a police ordered tow when the owner of the vehicle was arrested and jailed.

    Why would you consider this case "undocumented bonded vehicle" and not a "police ordered tow" from the link I posted?

    Maybe I'm missing something here?

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    Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.

    Current: 2016 S1000XR. Past: S1000R, Streefighter S, Monter S2R1000, RC51, CBR600

  14. #14
    (4) Try not to be a dick. PurplePackage's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    current MA title is the only document that can transfer ownership. if you have it, run it:

    https://atlas-myrmv.massdot.state.ma.us/myrmv/_/#1

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  15. #15
    Lifer SwiftTone's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePackage View Post
    current MA title is the only document that can transfer ownership. if you have it, run it:

    https://atlas-myrmv.massdot.state.ma.us/myrmv/_/#1
    I looked up the title using the VIN on MA RMV and it shows active and clean.

    Per the link I posted on Police Ordered Tow: "If the owner does not come to collect the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time, the towing company may acquire ownership of the vehicle and sell..."

    Do you have insight on why this would not be considered a police ordered tow and why getting those documents would not allow me to title/register the bike?

    Sent from my SM-G998U using Tapatalk

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    Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.

    Current: 2016 S1000XR. Past: S1000R, Streefighter S, Monter S2R1000, RC51, CBR600

  16. #16
    (4) Try not to be a dick. PurplePackage's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    All vehicle ownership transfer in MA is done via that paper called certificate of title. if the tow company has a title in their name that matches the VIN of the bike, you are done, pass go collect $200. if they don't have the title in their name, then THEY need to get it in their name, THEN get it transferred to you. bonded title is the only way to get around this process, but that is up to the discretion of DMV.

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  17. #17
    (4) Try not to be a dick. PurplePackage's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company


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  18. #18
    Lifer gumby's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftTone View Post
    Maybe I'm missing something here?
    Swift, you're a smart guy with great attention to detail.
    NESR is my go to place for 401k, politics, vaccination, and car shopping advice. However, this might be the time to spend a few hundred bucks to check with legal counsel. Just a suggestion.

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  19. #19
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    What year Gixxer?

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  20. #20
    Lifer SwiftTone's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Picked up the bike last night, went to the RMV this morning with the 5 documents I listed earlier for "Involuntary Transfers: Police Ordered Tow".

    I was able to register and title it successfully. Whole process took 15 min.

    Picked up a Suzuki DRZ400SM at a great deal!

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    Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.

    Current: 2016 S1000XR. Past: S1000R, Streefighter S, Monter S2R1000, RC51, CBR600

  21. #21
    (4) Try not to be a dick. PurplePackage's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    very niice

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  22. #22
    Lifer gumby's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Congrats! Go rip it up with Al and Mark!

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  23. #23

    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Congrats. What’s a great deal?

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  24. #24

    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    Congrats. What’s a great deal?
    The way this market is going, Anything under $5k for a DRZ is a good deal O.o

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  25. #25

    Re: Purchasing an unclaimed bike from a tow company

    Quote Originally Posted by Vovchandr View Post
    The way this market is going, Anything under $5k for a DRZ is a good deal O.o
    true dat. i remember a good ol time you could have gotten DRZs for $2000 and liter bikes (5 years old) for $5000

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