Pennsylvania State Police at Dublin say they are investigating an automobile sale that has landed the buyer in trouble because of a title that was tampered with.
According to a news release issued Friday, the troubled transaction began in mid-May, when a Richlandtown purchased a used Dodge Ram on Facebook Marketplace.
Police said that soon after buying the truck online, the man “discovered multiple mechanical problems” with it.
Further investigation revealed that “the seller jumped title and the tag agency endorsed the title without the true owner being present,” the news release said.
According to the used car buying blog AutoHitch.com, the practice of “title jumping” refers to one in which “someone sells a car to another person having only signed their name on the title in the ‘Seller’s Signature’ section, creating an ‘Open Title.'”
An open title is one that has already been signed and doesn’t have any buyer information filled out on it, according to the blog post, which also notes that the end result of someone jumping a title “is a transaction (on paper) that appears as if the original seller sold the car to the final buyer, but the ‘middle man’ never existed.”
Why would someone deliberately jump a title, which is a crime in most places and a felony in some states? According to AutoHitch, the motive is typically to make more money on a used car sale.
“The main reason people jump car titles is because they are trying to flip a car…and not registering their purchase with the DMV not only allows them to avoid regulation, but it also helps them to avoid (paying) sales taxes,” the post says.
State police at Dublin did not identify the tag agency that allegedly endorse the jumped title in their news release, but said their investigation into what happened is continuing.