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Missouri Laws 407.581 - Purchase or trade of motor vehicles with certificates of title, requirements--resale of such vehicles, requirements--dealer liability, when--seller misrepresentation, liability

407.581. 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 301.200 and 301.210, any person licensed as a motor vehicle dealer under sections 301.550 to 301.573 shall be authorized to purchase or accept in trade any motor vehicle for which there has been issued a certificate of title, and to receive such vehicle subject to any existing liens thereon created and perfected under sections 301.600 to 301.660 provided the licensed dealer receives the following:

(1) A signed written contract between the licensed dealer and the owner of the vehicle; and

(2) Physical delivery of the vehicle to the licensed dealer; and

(3) A power of attorney from the owner to the licensed dealer, in accordance with subsection 4 of section 301.300, authorizing the licensed dealer to obtain a duplicate or replacement title in the owner's name and sign any title assignments on the owner's behalf.

2. If the dealer complies with the requirements of subsection 1 of this section, the sale or trade of the vehicle to the dealer shall be considered final.

3. If a licensed dealer complies with the requirements of subsection 1 of this section, the licensed dealer may sell such vehicle prior to receiving and assigning to the purchaser the certificate of title, provided such dealer complies with the following:

(1) All outstanding liens created on the vehicle pursuant to sections 301.600 to 301.660 have been paid in full, and the dealer provides a copy of proof or other evidence to the purchaser; and

(2) The dealer has obtained proof or other evidence from the department of revenue confirming that no outstanding child support liens exist upon the vehicle at the time of sale and provides a copy of said proof or other evidence to the purchaser; and

(3) The dealer has obtained proof or other evidence from the department of revenue confirming that all applicable state sales tax has been satisfied on the sale of the vehicle to the previous owner and provides a copy of said proof or other evidence to the purchaser; and

(4) The dealer has signed and submitted an application for duplicate or replacement title for the vehicle pursuant to subsection 4 of section 301.300 and provides a copy of the application to the purchaser, along with a copy of the power of attorney required under subsection 1 of this section.

4. Following a sale or other transaction in which a certificate of title has not been assigned from the owner to the dealer, a licensed dealer shall, within five business days, apply for a duplicate or replacement title. Upon receipt of a duplicate or replacement title applied for pursuant to subsection 4 of section 301.300, the dealer shall assign and deliver said certificate of title to the purchaser of the vehicle within five business days. The dealer shall maintain proof of the assignment and delivery of the certificate of title to the purchaser. For purposes of this subsection, a dealer shall be deemed to have delivered the certificate of title to the purchaser upon either:

(1) Physical delivery of the certificate of title to any of the purchasers identified in the contract with the dealer; or

(2) Mailing of the certificate, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, to any of the purchasers at any of their addresses identified in the contract with the dealer.

5. If a dealer fails to comply with subsection 3 of this section, and the purchaser of the vehicle is thereby damaged, then the dealer shall be liable to the purchaser of the vehicle for actual damages, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

6. If a dealer fails to comply with subsection 4 of this section, and the purchaser of the vehicle is thereby damaged, then the dealer shall be liable to the purchaser of the vehicle for actual damages, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees. If the dealer cannot be found by the purchaser after making reasonable attempts, and thereby fails to assign and deliver the duplicate or replacement certificate of title to the purchaser, as required by subsection 4 of this section, then the purchaser may deliver to the director a copy of the contract for sale of the vehicle, a copy of the application for duplicate title provided by the dealer to the purchaser, a copy of the secure power of attorney allowing the dealer to assign the duplicate title, and the proof or other evidence obtained by the purchaser from the dealer under subsection 3 of this section. Thereafter, the director shall mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, a notice to the dealer at the last address given to the department by that dealer. That notice shall inform the dealer that the director intends to cancel any prior certificate of title issued to the dealer on the vehicle and issue to the purchaser a certificate of title in the name of the purchaser, subject to any liens incurred by the purchaser in connection with the purchase of the vehicle, unless the dealer, within ten business days from the date of the director's notice, files with the director a written objection to the director taking such action. If the dealer does file a timely, written objection with the director, then the director shall not take any further action without an order from a court of competent jurisdiction. However, if the dealer does not file a timely, written objection with the director, then the director shall cancel the prior certificate of title issued to the dealer on the vehicle and issue a certificate of title to the purchaser of the vehicle, subject to any liens incurred by the purchaser in connection with the purchase of the vehicle and subject to the purchaser satisfying all applicable taxes and fees associated with registering the vehicle.

7. If a seller fraudulently misrepresents to a dealer that the seller is the owner of a vehicle and the dealer or any subsequent purchaser is thereby damaged, then the seller shall be liable to the dealer and any subsequent purchaser for actual damages, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

8. When a lienholder is damaged as a result of acts or omissions by the dealer to the lienholder or any party covered by subsections 5, 6, and 7 of this section, or by any combination of claims under this subsection, then the dealer shall be liable to the lienholder for actual damages, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

9. No court costs or attorney fees shall be awarded under this section unless, prior to filing any such action, the following conditions have been met:

(1) The aggrieved party seeking damages has delivered an itemized written demand of the party's actual damages to the party from whom damages are sought; and

(2) The party from whom damages are sought has not satisfied the written demand within thirty days after receipt of the written demand.

(L. 2005 H.B. 487 § 301.894)

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