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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone help with how to get the VIN number on a California car corrected? I just bought a car and noticed that two of the alphanumeric digits are transposed. I've contacted Alfa Romeo Centro Documentazione in Italy to confirm that there is only one car, I'm still waiting to hear back.
My question is "Is it better to transfer the title to me first and then apply to change the VIN or is it best done in one go?". I would like to get this sorted out ASAP as I have had very little sleep the last few days. The car is sitting in the export agents parking lot, ticking up parking charges day by day, so if there is an expedited way to do it I would go with that.
 

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My understanding is the seller must get the title fixed but that in itself would really be hard to do atleast here in Ohio. The car would need to be taken to the highway patrol inspection station and if the car checks out then he would be issued a new title with the correct vin. but your car is no longer in Calif. I feel for you and would be loosing sleep over this myself. Have you contacted the owner in Calif. and if so what has he said? Best of luck to you.
 

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There is no expidited way to do anything with the CA DMV. I have had friends have cars where it took several weeks to months of waiting just to register a car.
 

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Yes I can imagine so and with covid it is much worse now. The person with the bad vin is in trouble. Hate it when things like this happen. Nothing good is going to come out of this I am afraid.
 

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If the car is still in Cali, I would ask the seller for the funds back. Let him resolve the issue and connect again once resolved. It will be easier for them to correct locally than for you to try and work it out remotely. Like others have said, this could take weeks if not months.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys, I have had no sleep for a few days now. The car is still in California at the exporters lot. The exporter won't load it for shipping, so I can imagine a massive bill for storage coming in the future, sort of salt to rub in the wounds.
 

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You may end up eating the storage costs, but better than a car you can't register. Hopefully the seller will step in and help. I would make sure to get funds reimbursed to provide impetus to resolve. And put the goals / allowable timing in writing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I like to believe that Alfa owners are good guys. I hope this is a genuine oversight, and the seller will help me. My research indicates the seller needs to go to DMV with the original Title, his ID and a CHP report and convince the lovely people of the DMV to change the VIN based on the California Highway Patrol report, and get a new title with the correct VIN.

Any thoughts ?
 

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Good luck with that in a timely matter and if all. You need to ask for your money back and eat the storage costs if need be and move on. I hope the guy is willing to do that. The way that I see if is there is no quick fix to this problem. I believe that it will take a long time to sort this problem out on the title. My 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good luck with that in a timely matter and if all. You need to ask for your money back and eat the storage costs if need be and move on. I hope the guy is willing to do that. The way that I see if is there is no quick fix to this problem. I believe that it will take a long time to sort this problem out on the title. My 2 cents.
Also due to Covid there is no expedited title service at the moment according to CA DMV. Under normal circumstances they are quoting 15-30 days, so with Covid I would assume 30-60 days, and then, of course the VIN may still be incorrect. Well, I have floated the idea of a refund.
 

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I’m essentially repeating others’ advice, but what the heck.

The defining goal of a DMV is to make sure all of the numbers match. A whole lot can be dealt with inside a DMV, but not mismatched numbers. As far as they are concerned, your paperwork might say “car”, but if the numbers don’t match, you could be trying to register a thermonuclear device.

If a seller presents a car with mismatched numbers, you should initiate the “shock and awe” posture. As far as you are concerned, you paid for a car, but a cow was unloaded. You did not receive what you paid for. The longer you remain , the more it will cost you, and give the seller time to disappear.

I’m not saying you should be impolite or unprofessional. However, your posture should be unambiguous. “What are you going to do to get me the car I paid for, or if not, please return my money along with all costs I have incurred attempting to correct your mistake.”

There is a high likelihood you are about to be out your money, and no cow to milk.
 
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Yeah, changing things like that at even a reasonable DMV (the NJ ones ate surprisingly good) can ve a hassle. According to the title for my Spider. It's a Make: Alfa, Model: Romeo. Asked about changing it and it would have to be a whole hoopla through thebstate police with a vin inspection and everything, so I am just leaving it....
 

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I’m just pulling thoughts out of the air from vague recollections of other conversations on the bb. Aren’t there specialized companies in California that all they do is handle vehicle registration documents? Mostly cars coming into the state but I would think the skill set would be the same.
 

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The problem is the vin is wrong on the title. That is why the exporter won't ship the car. It is time consuming and difficult to get a vin change even before covid so will take much longer now.
 

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The car IS the title. Giving them a cow with a title that says car just won't work. It may be an obvious typo to most of us, but it could also be a spurious title that, if transacted by a lazy DMV, wouldn't turn up in the stolen-car search, where entering the VIN on the actual car would.
 
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