‘Hadn’t been hers for 6 years,’ dad fumes after daughter fined $500 for car she sold – but there was ‘no record of sale’

A FAMILY sold a car to a scrap yard, and now they’re receiving charges for an abandoned vehicle and a blocked government account.

The car was legally sold six years prior, and the agency lost the paperwork.


An Arizona man legally sold his daughter’s car to a scrap yard in 2017Credit: Getty
Six years later, his daughter received a notice from the state that she owed $500 in abandoned vehicle charges


Six years later, his daughter received a notice from the state that she owed $500 in abandoned vehicle chargesCredit: WMTV 15

Bruce Mathews, a Phoenix, Arizona resident, sold his daughter’s 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt in 2017.

Six years later, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) notices started appearing.

The notices stated that his daughter owed the department $500 in abandoned vehicle charges.

“She was horrified when she first received the notice,” Mathers told CBS affiliate WMTV.

“[The car] wasn’t hers. It hasn’t been hers for six years.”

His daughter’s account with the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) was suspended until the fines were paid.

“This is wrong,” he continued.

“They put up a block wall. It just frustrates you that much more and makes you that much more determined. If it’s happening to us, it’s happening to other people.”

CBS affiliate KPHO-TV contacted the MVD’s abandoned vehicle division on behalf of the family to pinpoint the source of the issue.

Bill Lamoreax, a spokesperson for the division, relayed that there was no record of a transfer of ownership from Mathews to the scrap yard.

I’m being hit with $30 parking tickets months after I sold my car – I had to jump through hoops after a simple mistake

“The right things were done by signing the back of the title, but then the one thing that didn’t happen was that title wasn’t then ever submitted to the MVD to get reprocessed and retitled,” he said.

“If the buyer and seller both come into an MVD office together, you can make sure that the title is transferred properly.

“That way, the previous owner is not on the hook for any issues in the future for accidents or citations or even criminal activity, or even in this case, an abandoned vehicle issue.”

Due to the amount of time passing between the first notice and the sale of the car, Mathews said he disposed of the sales documents.

“It had been five years,” Mathews said.

“We’d sent the notice to the MVD that the vehicle had been sold, and we signed the title over to the salvage company. We did everything right.”

He explained he was worried for other drivers, too.

“If it’s happening to us, it’s happening to other people,” he said.

How to privately sell a car

Selling a car can be a laborious venture, though there are steps to make it simple

A little research and preparation can make selling your used vehicle to another owner a breeze, whether to a private buyer or otherwise.

Here are some key documents to have at the ready when selling a car:

  • Vehicle title. You will need to sign the back of it relinquishing your ownership of the vehicle. The buyer will need it to become the title owner. Selling a vehicle without a title is illegal in many states.
  • Release of liability. When selling a vehicle privately, signing and submitting it your local motors authority will no longer hold you accountable in the event of an accident before the title is officially transferred.
  • Bill of sale. Depending on the state, it’s required to have a bill of sale for the buyer to prove that a sale occurred. Templates can be found online. A copy for the seller is wise to keep for legal proof.

After the vehicle is sold, it’s in the previous owner’s best interest to keep the documents in a safe place in case proof of sale is required.

Source: Cars.com

After locating some expired insurance data for his daughter’s Cobalt, he was able to prove the car was indeed sold.

The MVD then relieved the family of the fines.

“We are very happy to get this particular case resolved in a positive manner for this customer,” Lamoreaux said.

To avoid mishaps, Lamoreaux reiterated that it doesn’t cost anything for Arizona to file sold notices to the MVD.

Filing can be done online through the department’s website, and a confirmation email can be saved or printed for the driver’s record.

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