Car seller concerned about ownership transfer

| 10/11/2016

Why does vehicle licensing allow cars to be sold when all the paperwork is not completed? I’m trying to sell my car. The buyer insists he doesn’t need insurance and so the transfer papers was not completed. Vehicle licensing stamped some paperwork but didn’t give me a copy, so now the buyer has a car that is still in my name. I have no idea when or if he will get ownership transferred. If he has an accident or commits a crime in this vehicle or the car gets stolen, the car is still registered to me. I have cancelled my insurance. This system allows for abuse for new buyers not to insure cars and sellers to still have legal ownership.

Auntie’s answer: This does sound like a stressful situation for you, so I asked the Department of Vehicle and Driver’s Licensing (DVDL) about your issue.

Firstly, the DVDL will only transfer a vehicle when the proper form, Section C of the logbook, has been completed and signed by the registered own, and the signature must be witnessed either by a notary or a staff member of the department.

As for your question about the new owner not having insurance, here is what the DVDL official said: “When it comes to the actual transfer of the vehicle, we will only transfer the vehicle to the new owner IF the new owner has valid insurance OR the vehicle’s registration is being suspended immediately after the transfer (this happens when the vehicle requires some form of maintenance before being put back on the road).

“It is against the law for a vehicle to be operated on the roads of the Cayman Islands without having valid insurance.”

But either way – whether or not the new owner has insurance — the transfer documents need to be completed.

Let’s move on to your concern about the car remaining in your name but in the possession of the new owner. Here the onus is on the seller to make sure all the paperwork is completed, the DVDL official explained: “When an individual is transferring a vehicle to someone else, it is their responsibility to ensure that the transaction is completed, i.e. the vehicle is transferred out of their name.

“What we have seen occur on several occasions is registered owners just have their signatures witnessed, and then they hand over the documents to the purchaser of the vehicle. In some instances, the purchaser does not come in to complete the transfer.”

The solution to that potential mess, according to the DVDL, is that the owner and buyer go together to one of the department’s offices to carry out the transaction. “This way, they can ensure that the vehicle was transferred,” the official said.

While I realise it is too late for you to take the advice of the DVDL, I hope that your situation has been resolved.

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Unless you implicitly know the buyer &/or trust them 100% to carry out the transfer, when using the witnessed system of giving them the logbook after payment , never hand that over. Rather choose to do the time honoured ( & time consuming) joint visit together, to sign & transfer vehicle ownership. I learned the hard way,as the original poster has above. The problem came back to haunt me 10 years later, as the vehicle was never transferred by the person I sold that car to.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yet another unnecessary requirement of using a notary. There is no need for a notary which is just the dumb importation of an unnecessary Americanism into ordinary consumer interactions.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got to ask the obvious question, why does the law allow for the seller to sign the transfer form ahead of the transfer if it is a requirement for both to turn up at the DVDL to make sure the transfer goes through. What is the purpose of being able to sign the transfer up to 2 weeks before the seller registers it?

  4. D says:

    After recently moving to Cayman from the UK I also found the car ownership transfer process to be woefully backward. Having to go to the DVDL at all should not be necessary, and having to go together (seller and buyer) is inconvenient to say the least.

    In the UK the process is done simply through the post. The log book (V5C) has two parts. One part is for the seller (which contains the buyer’s details, and the buyer and seller both sign), and one part is for the buyer. The seller then posts their part to the DVLA, and the DVLA posts the buyer the new log book in the buyer’s name. If the seller fails to post their part the buyer still has their part and can contact the DVLA to have a new log book issued.

    Perhaps this process could not be followed due to the P.O. Box system used on Island, which not everyone has. Whatever the case, there has to be as better way!

    • Anonymous says:

      Woefully backward is towards the advanced modern end of the civil service spectrum. I think they would take it as compliment.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Woefully backward?” Based on your comments you appear to be a contracted worker, I expect on a 1 or 2 year term? At the end of that time I also expect you will be hankering for a renewal, and doing everything you can to remain here, woefully backward or not. Word of advice… dont bite the hand that feeds you. You want a UK system, guess where you can find it.