What to do if I lost the licence plate to my motorcycle so I went to DMV to get new one and found out that title was transferred to someone else about a month ago?

The DMV informed me that they couldnt give me the plate because the motorcycle didn’t belong to me. I showed them my pink slip and they said that it was not a valid title. Apparently, someone else transferred the title into their name so they now owned the motorcycle and that there is nothing they could do; it is a civil matter. How could someone do this without my permission? I am dumbfounded and not sure of what to do.

Asked on July 4, 2014 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unless the motorcycle was validly repossessed by a lender, etc., for not making the finance payments on it, you're right--no one could transfer title to your motorcycle without your permission. However, the way you reverse illegal acts, and possibly get monetary compensation, too, is by bringing a lawsuit seeking to have the court declare that you are the proper owner and also ordering the payment of whatever compensation (if any) is appropriate to you. You should speak with an attorney about filing the proper lawsuit; because you are seeking a court order (in regards to title) and not just monetary compensation, you cannot file in small claims court, but must file in regular county court--that's why you'll want an attorney.

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