Old car owners left to pay hundreds because of title error

Old car owners left to pay hundreds because of title error »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A tip from Kennewick Police - not transferring a car title once it's sold can cause major problems.

Robert Snyder has been trying to sell his truck for months.
And when he finally gets a buyer, he says he'll make sure the deal is legitimate. But he won't stop there.

"I'll go get a bill of sale, have it notarized, and then take it down to the DMV and switch the name on the title," said Snyder.

Kennewick Police say this is a must. They are seeing more sellers forget to do this. But what's worse, some don't even know they have to.

Police say old owners are being victimized by the new owners for not properly going through the correct steps when selling used cars, but one owner says he won't let that happen because he's been on both sides of the equation.

When Snyder bought his last car, the title wasn't immediately transferred. He was pulled over at gunpoint multiple times because the old owner had felony warrants.

"Take the time to make the proper procedures...or suffer the consequences," said Snyder.

It's easy. There are plenty of auditors offices in the area. Police are encouraging you to call them if you're confused on what to do.

They have some simple instructions that can make the difference between a very pleasant sale and a nightmare," said Corporal Todd Dronen, Kennewick Police.

If the car is involved in a crash, broke down on the side of the road, or used in a crime, the old owner may be liable if they are still listed on the title.

"All they have is a license plate or something to go off of, they're gonna run the name, and it's gonna come back to me," said Snyder.

Which is why he says, he won't let it happen to him. Police say, they can not help you if you are caught in this dilemma. It is a civil issue, not a crime.