advice for those buying when only a bill of sale is needed (Massachusetts example)

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by kcormier19, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. kcormier19

    kcormier19 Member

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    Sep 12, 2017
    massachusetts
    Maybe I should have known this but....
    In October of 2017 I bought a 1986 Jayco pop up camper from a friend of a friend. I parked it in my driveway waiting for spring so I could start fixing some things in it, including installing the new $950 BearCreek canvas I bought in March. The person who sold it to me bought the camper in 2015 but he never got a license plate for it, he was just using it in his yard when his nephews slept over during the summer. The seller gave me a new bill of sale, the expired registration and his old bill of sale he got in 2015.

    In Massachusetts, if a trailer weighs under 3000 lbs, there is no title so a bill of sale and the previous owners copy of the registration (this is proof of ownership and receipt of tax payment) was all I needed to get a license plate for it in my name. When I went to get a license plate 2 weeks ago I was told the name of the seller on the bill of sale and the name on the expired registration didn't match ( we already knew that) and that was a problem for just one reason.

    Because the seller never got a license plate for it, he never paid the sales tax on the purchase of the camper and at least in Massachusetts, if you didn't pay sales tax, you legally cant sell it to another party util the sales tax is paid. I tried to make this argument- if I buy a car that i intend to fix up and when i get it home i change my mind, why cant i just sell it to someone? The answer in Massachusetts is we want our sales tax money every time a vehicle is bought whether you do something with it or not.

    When I contacted the seller and told him what happened, he felt bad and offered to help.
    So after getting the necessary forms from my insurance company, I had to go to the Department of Revenue with the seller so he could pay the existing sales tax (they would not let me pay it because it wasn't my trailer yet) then I took a copy of the paid receipt to get a license plate for it. even though it was a lot of running around it worked out, but it may have been a huge problem if it were not for the fact that the seller was a friend of a friend.

    Had I bought this camper from a complete stranger and found out I could not register it in my name because of the sales tax issue, and the previous owner was unwilling or not around to assist me, i would be stuck with a camper that I could not insure or get a license plate in my name, which would mean I could not sell it to anyone in the future. So the lesson is make sure you know your state's rules before you buy from a stranger.
     
  2. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Nov 3, 2015
    North East Florida
    Thats a great post. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Nov 7, 2013
    Mass
    I am from MA. I bought my camper from a co-worker who never registered the camper, he use a plate from his dump trailer. All I had was a bill of sale from the co-worker. The lady at the registry said the camper was still in the name of the owner that my co-worker bought it from. She went to go ask her boss what to do but the boss was at lunch. She did me a favor and put the registration through and said lets see what happens. That was five years ago. I was lucky.
     
    jumpoff likes this.
  4. kcormier19

    kcormier19 Member

    56
    26
    Sep 12, 2017
    massachusetts
    It does seem like things can be different depending on who you talk to or what day of the week you go. Glad to hear it worked out for you.
     
    jumpoff likes this.
  5. silverfz

    silverfz Member

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    Aug 8, 2013
    No wonder mass is top 5 states every year to move out of. I plan to move as soon as kids finish school.
     
  6. sceri

    sceri Member

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    Jun 1, 2018
    Washington State
    Tax man always catches up. One way or another, it may take time, but they'll get their money.... :police: [Guitar] [{:)]
     
  7. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Nov 7, 2013
    Mass
    It is a good thing. More people moving away equals less crowded, less traffic.
     

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