Monday, August 19, 2013

How to sell a car in Pittsburgh

(Foreshadowment:  This gets progressively more interesting)

1.  Find a buyer.
2.  Go with the buyer to AAA, the only obvious option.
3.  Give the buyer the title and keys to the car in exchange for $X (X = 1000 fair market value in my case).
4.  Sit there with the buyer at the AAA counter for about an hour while they do various paperwork that you have to sign.
5.  Remove your license plate, and decide whether to send it back to the state (I have not found evidence of a penalty for failing to return it) or to keep it for your personal collection of plates.
6.  After your original PA title to the car has disappeared into the system, get notified that the car was evidently 'reconstructed' (after an accident or other major event) in some previous life.  We will need a special title, but here is temporary documentation that lets the buyer use the car for now.
7.  AAA provides a list of car shops that are qualified to do a reconstruction inspection.  The price for inspection is $214.  Such inspections often turn up problems that require multi-thousand-dollar repairs.
8.  Call your trusted mechanic and explain the situation.  He says, that's odd -- if the car was already titled in PA, they should not be able to make you switch now to a reconstructed title.  Try a lawyer.
9.  The lawyer says to double-check everything with AAA and then call back.
10.  Call AAA and ask for the Pittsburgh office.  The Pittsburgh Office does not pick up.
11.  Call AAA central office again and ask the question directly.  Lady is nice, but ultimately defers to PennDot, and promises to call back after trying to get answers herself.
12.  Call PennDot about 10 times during business hours and get only the busy signal.  Find an obscure second PennDot number for "general information" and instantly get a human.  Explain that the other phone line is busy and ask what to do.  The human kindly transfers you internally to PennDot and magically there is no busy signal.  Press 0 about 10 times in quick succession to get past the automated messages, and arrive at a 15-minute wait for the next available representative.  Get transferred once more.
13.  PennDot tells you that your car is fine and AAA must have made a mistake.  You don't need an inspection.
14.  Call AAA and explain what happened.  Tell them that the current owner has a temporary (90-day) registration and license plate while he awaits his "reconstructed title" and that he should just be given an ordinary title.  Listen to AAA deny that the buyer could possibly have been given a temporary registration while awaiting a reconstructed title, as "that would be illegal."
15.  Reassure AAA that this is indeed what happened, and inquire about how to remedy the situation.  AAA says the buyer is required to deal with this, as they cannot share information about cars with anyone other than the owner, even though I was party to the transaction.
16.  Kindly ask the owner to approach AAA once more an hope that all goes well.


Blogger Jennifer Jo said...


11:16 AM  
Blogger sk said...

AAA is in cahoots with a mechanics' guild of which your trusty fellow is not a member.

6:01 AM  
Blogger KTdid said...

Agggh. This kind of makes me go crazy vicariously!

4:19 PM  

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