Nashville, TN asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Civil Litigation for Tennessee

Q: I bought a cargo trailer from a private party. I received a bill of sale but no title. Seems there is a lien in place.

I’m military, living in Tennessee but currently serving a tour in Korea. Seller lives in Missouri. Lien is recorded in Illinois. After months of excuses about the bank being slow I received a picture of a title with matching vin showing the seller as the buyer and the lien signed off. So not a ”clean” title. More months have passed as I’m expecting the seller to obtain a title in his name that can be assigned to me. I used a vin check online with no result, not surprised as they cater to vehicles not trailers.

Questions: how to determine if a lien exists?

Where is the proper jurisdiction? Did the seller act illegally and do I as buyer have any legal way forward?

1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: If the contract was made in TN, then jurisdiction arguably lies there. But it sounds like it is a MO contract, and apparently that is where the seller would be served, so MO is alot safer. You did not mention the price involved, which makes a difference. If that photo shows a lien, then contact the lienor as shown on the title. Making a deal with the lienor may only help your seller though, so coordination is key here. Contact a MO sheriff as there may be criminal sanctions involved. As private, no license and bond is involved. You can ask JAG for help but do not expect any, unless a crime is involved (maybe). I doubt a MO attorney can help, and apparently you have already dealt with MO motor vehicles.

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