Title Jumping

Man Examining the Bill of Sale to Avoid Title JumpingMan Examining the Bill of Sale to Avoid Title Jumping

Buying or selling an automobile can involve a procedure called title jumping. It is the process of transferring car ownership without the seller's formal confirmation. Title jumping is also known as title skipping or floating.

If you are planning to buy a used car in the near future, be sure to read this article to the end. It contains a wealth of information to help you avoid the potential headaches you may encounter if you fall victim to a vehicle title jump.

In addition to a detailed explanation of what jumped title is, you'll learn how to avoid it, what to look for when buying a vehicle from a dealer, how to report someone for this violation, and what to do if you get your title jumped.

What Is Title Jumping?

Title jumping occurs when a person buys a car and then resells it without first titling it in their own name. As a result, the paper trail seems to show that the original seller sold the car to the final buyer without any intermediary buyers or sellers, despite the fact that there could have been several intermediates.

A car title is a record of the car's ownership history preserved by the state. Jumped title erases any traces of the previous owner, making the wrong person (new owner) vulnerable if there are problems at the DMV, such as missing signatures or unpaid fees.

A jumped title does not necessarily indicate that the private seller is attempting to defraud you, but you may save yourself a lot of trouble later on by resolving the problem before the transaction — or by purchasing a car elsewhere.

Why Do People Title Jump?

One of the most common reasons for the jumped title is to avoid sales taxes and fees before resale. When car flippers evade sales tax, registration and title fees, and other fees they will typically make a decent profit on these vehicles.

Another reason for title jumping is that sellers do not want to register as licensed car dealers. The state may require those who sell more than a certain number of used vehicles per year to do so, which can be an expensive process that may involve additional costs such as dedicated office space.

Sellers also often use title jumping to hide a vehicle's negative history or existing title. Some vehicle titles may be labeled as "flood damaged" or "salvage." However, because that information may not be available until the title is properly transferred, an unwary buyer may be tricked by an older title that still states the vehicle is clean.

Is Title Jumping Illegal?

Title jumping is illegal in all 50 states, and in some, such as Georgia and Texas, it is a felony. The majority of states demand that buyers register the vehicle with the DMV and transfer the title within 30 days after the purchase date.

How to Avoid Title Jumping?

Purchasing a vehicle from car dealers is easier than going through private sellers since they will handle much of the paperwork on your behalf. However, for those who do decide to buy a car privately, the measures listed below can certainly be helpful in order to avoid the problem of the jumped title.

Never Purchase a Vehicle With an Open Title

The seller may provide explanations for why the title is incomplete and make an effort to convince the potential buyer that it is not a major concern. Of course, a buyer should never fall for this fraud and should never buy a car without signing and dating the title.

Examine the Bill of Sale and Do a VIN Check

When you buy an automobile, you will be given a Bill of sale. Examine this document carefully. Check that the name on the bill of sale matches the name on the title.

When purchasing a vehicle from a private seller, always do a VIN check. Any car's vehicle identification number (VIN) can be checked using CARFAX for no fee. To check if a car title is valid in Florida for example, you can use a free online VIN check from FLHSMV too. Utilizing the car's VIN number you can get a vehicle history report. This report will show ownership history -whether the car has been salvaged, stolen, or has a hidden lien.

If the seller tries to avoid giving you the VIN of the vehicle you want to buy, this is yet another sign that you're dealing with a title jumper.

What Is the Penalty for Title Jumping?

Title jumping is punishable except in case of death or when the family and next of kin wish to sell the vehicle. Penalties differ from state to state and might include heavy fines or jail time. For instance, title jumping is a felony in California, where it carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. In Texas, this penalty is two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

Title jumping causes problems for both the buyer and seller of a vehicle - anyone who buys or sells a car without signing the title will be guilty of title jumping and will face huge consequences.

How to Report Someone for Title Jumping?

If you want to accuse someone of title jumping, you must first report it to the police. This report will include the purchase date, time, and place, as well as any communications you had with the seller.

What Happens If You Buy a Title Jumped Vehicle?

The main problem when buying a car with a jump title is registering the vehicle. The reason for this is that the DMV will verify the car's VIN number history.

With this number, they can detect that there are two persons claiming ownership of the vehicle and will not grant you the registration. Additionally, you won't be able to get car insurance for the same reason.

Moreover, if you experience any difficulties with the vehicle, such as mechanical issues or accidents you won't be able to return it to the seller as they do not have legal ownership. This implies that you will be responsible for covering the cost of all repairs.

What to Do if You Are the Victim of Title Jumping

If you purchased a vehicle and discover that the seller's name is not on the title, you should do the following:

  • The first step should be to submit a police report (you can see what it should contain above).
  • You should take photos of the vehicle and make copies of all paperwork related to the transaction.
  • The next step is to consult with an attorney. They will be able to assist you in navigating the legal system and recovering your money from the title jumper.
  • Also, get in touch with your local DMV. The DMV could be able to aid you in recouping the cost of the car or obtaining a new title for your vehicle.

Looking for Title Transfer Services? Swift-tags Has You Covered

Swift-tags.com is a company that provides quick vehicle registration and title services. Our mission is to minimize the difficulties that vehicle owners frequently face by reducing the complicated auto transaction process.

Swift-tags has developed an online system that allows American drivers to register their vehicles, renew registrations, arrange title transfers and title replacements, notify the DMV of address changes, and complete a variety of other critical, legally required transactions over the phone or online without having to visit their state's Department of Motor Vehicles office.


1. Can you sue someone for title jumping?

Yes, you can sue someone who jumped a car's title. Actually, you might be able to make a claim for breach of contract or fraud.

2. What are the penalties for title jumping?

Penalties for title jumping can be fines or prison time.

3. Is title jumping a felony?

Most states consider title jumping a felony since it is a grave offense.

4. Can you go to jail for title jumping?

Penalties for jumping car titles vary across states and can even include jail time. For example, in Texas, this offense is punishable by two years in jail and a $4,000 fine.

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