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Title help in Michigan~Florida

Title help in Michigan~Florida

Old 02-04-2011, 02:51 PM
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Default Title help in Michigan~Florida

I bought a 1979 255 Formula Liberator in Ft. Lauderdale in late December. An employee of the seller was to meet me with the title when I took delivery but was MIA.Bearing in mind that I had seen the Michigan Title previously, I took the boat with the assurance that the title would be mailed to me. During the 1st week of January I contacted the seller and was told that the title was mailed on 1/5/2011 to my home in West Palm Beach. After another week past with no title I called the seller's office and spoke directly to the man that mailed the title..Bob..the sellers father. After a bit of conversation we determined that he had transposed the address from a correct 223 to a wrong 233. His envelope did have a return address. He has been on the lookout for the return mail and my neighbor has been on the lookout for the mail sent to me at his address. At this point...2/4/2011 it has not shown up.

The boat is still titled (open) to the man in Michigan that sold the boat to my seller...who never registered the boat in Florida. I need to title the boat in Florida but need an original of the Michigan Title signed by the seller from before my seller.

Plan A is to wait to see if the title shows up in the mail on either end.

Plan B is to locate the Michigan seller and have him go to any Michigan Title agency with his ID, a copy of the Michigan Title...which I have...and have a new Michigan Title issued. He can then send same to me and along with the new title, my bill of sale and my canceled check I can get a Florida title.

I have located the seller ( I think) in Ecorse, MI, which appears to be near Detroit. I tried calling but the number is "Temporarily Disconnected" I sent a Letter and a copy of the title via Fed Ex yesterday with all of my contact info with hope that I have found the right guy.

If I get no response or I have The wrong guy...then I am going to need some help in Michigan. I will need a title agent or an attorney that can apply for a new Michigan title to be issued in absence of the titled owner and issue it to me. Then I can get a Florida title.

I have been informed by the Florida Marine Patrol to not dare put this boat in the water or it will be confiscated until and if I get this issue solved.

So there it is...a totally E'ffed up situation that I need help with.

Any and all comments and suggestions are welcomed. I need some professional help with this because I am "Dead in The Water" with this until I get it resolved.

Thanks in advance...John in West Palm Beach
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:35 PM
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I am confused, which title are you looking for? Michigan? Florida? Wait, lets see if I have this straight......You bought the boat with a COPY of the Michigan title, now you need the original?
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:51 PM
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First, let me say... NEVER buy a boat from a pvt seller without the title in hand and try to at all costs, avoid buying with an open title. You are just asking for trouble. hindsight.. 20/20...

Second.. The seller is legally responsible in the state of Florida to produce a transferable title to you. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor and in certain circumstances can be a felony.

Was this seller a dealer? (I'm assuming not)

The route you are going is the best. Contact the original MI seller, but remember, this is your Fla. sellers responsibility. You can also file for an adverse title by placing a lien on the vessel. Rates have gone from 500 to $800 (http://www.unitedamericanlien.com) These are the people I used to use.

The fact that you do not have a title in your hand is the biggest red flag there is. Be very careful. If this vessel is stolen and you are caught with it, there could be some serious repercussions.
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:19 PM
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Boats are not covered by DMV in the state of Florida, so you have to file a civil suite against the dealer. If it were a car, or RV, then the dealer is legally liable to provide you a title, and can be dealt with through state law. With a boat, you are on your own ... this is from personal experience with a slimey boat dealer in Florida (and no, it wasn't Bill H. from National Marine).
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:01 PM
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who doesn't put a return address on an envelope? sounds hokey right there.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:49 PM
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Above it states the sender did have a return address on the envelope.

With an incorrect address on the letter it could have gone to the postal mark up to be processed and returned to sender. With the financial situation of the PO it could be tied up there for awhile until to they get to it and return it.

If you have a regular Letter Carrier, he/she should have recognized the house number did not match the name on the envelope and delivered it to 233. Then there is the automated sorting system and who know where it could end up.

As a retired Letter Carrier with 35 years on the street carrying mail, I can tell you the mind set of the younger workers is much different than those of the older carriers. The older carriers care about doing their job correctly and providing service to our customers.

Everything can not be blamed on the new carriers though. Management only cares about getting the mail out the door. It does not matter that it is delivered to the correct address just get rid of it and don't bring it back.

So much for the soap box. The Postal Service has provided a good living for me and a good pension. I have been retired for also two years and do not miss working there at all.

OH MY! almost 2 years already. Where has the time gone?????
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:21 PM
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While your waiting on plan A I would go ahead an start trying to get in touch with the previous owner listed on the copy of the Mi title. You might want to start that conversation with did you sell you sell the Formula and whom did he sell it to.

Hopefully the title was just delayed during the undeliverable return process at the post office.
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:20 AM
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Fist of all...thanks for ALL of the responses.

I subscribe to boat fax and prior to purchase I ran a check on this boat...it came back clean.

I called Michigan and the original seller no longer resides in Michigan and has no vehicles registered with them
nor does he own property there.

I told Michigan that the boat was abandoned on my property and that I was trying to get a title. They suggested that Florida might have a similar provision as Michigan does where as I would fill out a personal declaration, take it to a State Tag Agency. The State would run a theft and lien search on the vessel and if nothing came back they would issue me a registration and title. I am going to check with the State Monday.

Stay tuned....
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bob_t View Post
Boats are not covered by DMV in the state of Florida, so you have to file a civil suite against the dealer. If it were a car, or RV, then the dealer is legally liable to provide you a title, and can be dealt with through state law. With a boat, you are on your own ... this is from personal experience with a slimey boat dealer in Florida (and no, it wasn't Bill H. from National Marine).
Sorry, but you are wrong. Boat titles were moved from the former DNR to the Florida DMV (FHSMV) when the Florida Marine Patrol was absorbed into the Fish and Wildlife Conservation branch of the Dept. of Environmental Protection. There are specific laws that protect the buyer, even in instances where the seller is a pvt concern.

again, if you are going the lien route... it's probably not as simple as going and filing with your tag agency. Good luck

From 2004 to 2009 I sold over 2600 boats in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana. Most were mitigated insurance claims as my company, U.S. Marsalvor (now part of IAA) was the chief logistics agent for Progressive, Ski Safe(Geico), Alstate and State Farm. These were complicated issues and in many cases we had to get court ordered titles.

But, hey, don't take my word for it..

Last edited by MidOcean; 02-05-2011 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:02 AM
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I think I would stick with the lost in the mail reason since you have a copy of the title and see if Michigan can produce a new title in your name since you have records of buying the boat. Since the boat is in Florida, have you tried to find out if the previous owner now lives in Florida?
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