Updated: Aug 21
While it may seem unlikely, a car title can indeed display the incorrect Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Most people assume that the VIN on their newly purchased vehicle matches the one on the title, and often don't bother to cross-check. This can lead to complications when it's time to sell the car, as many sellers then compare the VIN on the vehicle to the one on the title.
Vehicle Vin Does Not Match The Title
This is why it's essential to ensure all the details about your car, including the VIN, are correct and match the documentation. If you notice an error in the VIN before the sale, it's important to rectify the issue immediately. If the purchase has already been completed, there are still options to correct the problem.
VIN Errors Before The Sale
If you're fortunate enough to spot an error in the VIN before the sale is finalized, this should raise a red flag. Pause the proceedings and discuss the issue with the seller. It's possible they made an honest mistake and were not aware of the discrepancy themselves. However, there's also a chance the seller may be attempting to scam you into purchasing a stolen vehicle. Regardless, it's the seller's responsibility to fix the issue before the sale is finalized.
Vehicle VIN Errors After The Sale
If you're in the process of renewing your registration for a recently purchased vehicle and discover the VIN on the title does not match the VIN on the vehicle, you have a problem. No matter if you've purchased the car from a neighbor, a private party, or a dealership, you should contact them immediately and ask for assistance in resolving the issue. Additionally, you should get in touch with local law enforcement to verify whether your car has been reported as stolen.
For New Cars, Talk To The Dealership
If you've bought a brand-new car and later discovered that the VIN on the title is incorrect, your first course of action should be to contact the dealership. They may resolve the problem by redoing the paperwork and submitting a corrected title application to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). By returning to the dealership where you purchased the car and working with them directly, you can expedite the resolution of the issue.
What About A Private Sale Vehicle?
If you've bought a used car from a private seller and later realized the VIN on the title is incorrect, the process to correct the issue may be a bit more challenging. However, if it's an honest mistake, working with the seller can help you resolve the issue. If the seller is a scammer who has sold a stolen vehicle, they may avoid your calls. If the seller refuses to cooperate, you should contact law enforcement and consult with an attorney to explore your options based on the laws in your state.