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UPDATE: No title Vespa legal!!!
Posted by: Scott
28 February 2011 6,151 views 8 Comments

newyork certificate of title UPDATE: No title Vespa legal!!!A while back, I posted an article about the trials and tribulations of getting legal paperwork for your scooter, if you happened to purchase it without a proper title.  Quick recap: my friend had obtained a vintage Vespa 1980 100 Sport, without said paperwork, and had run into long delays, canceled payments through his credit card company, and a host of other headaches.  His original attempt had been through a service in Nevada, which had come recommended, but had turned into a nightmare.  The Nevada company had left him waiting for 18 weeks until he finally decided to throw in the towel.  All this, while simply trying to get his scooter road legal.

I have an update: his scooter is on the road, legal and ready to roll. He finally went through the Vermont registration process, and with the help of reader ANDREW, he was able to skip the physical trip up north, and did it all through the internet and United States Postal Service.  Not only was this far less painful than his first experience, but hopefully will prevent others from suffering the same delays.

This is how it all played out.  The following is from an email from my now-relieved, soon to be scooting, pal:

The Vespa was finally registered, inspected and insured last weekAs far as the Vespa registration in VT, I downloaded the VT registration form from their website, filled it out, and mailed it to them with a copy of the bill of sale.  Had to send payment of $85 for Registration & Taxes.

After I got VT plates & registration, I brought them to NYDMV and transferred it to NY registration, but had to pay ANOTHER NY state tax (so tell people to keep the bill of sale) total cost of $165.

All this took about 3 weeks.

Seems the key here is to make sure that if you are purchasing a vehicle without a title, always get a Bill of Sale.  In fact, with every used vehicle I have purchased, I always got a Bill of Sale, as well as any other applicable paperwork.  This is standard procedure, and really only needs to be a document that you type up and print yourself.  For New York State, details can be found here.

Keep in mind, in New York State, there is a clear distinction between the paperwork needed for registering vehicles made prior to 1973, and vehicles made after that date.  If your vehicle was produced prior to 1973, then you only need a Bill of Sale.  I was fortunate to also have the previous owner’s Registration, with a transfer of ownership form on the back.

Knowing someone who has now been through the process, it makes it a little less intimidating for me to think about purchasing a vehicle, sans paperwork.  There are many deals out there, and preferably they come complete with the official documents you need.  But if you stumble upon that deal of a lifetime, and just don’t want to pass it up, there is hope for us after all.

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  • Andrew s said:

    I am dealing with a similar headach right now but in Florida. Did your friend need to know a resident in Vermont or he just filled out the online paper work and sent it in with the bill of sale? I am going to call the Vermont DMV tomorrow and inquire about registering out of state. I would really like to get to work on my project.

  • scott (author) said:

    As far as I know, he was just able to get all the paperwork online, and then fill it out, and send it in. Not sure calling them would be a good idea, but really don’t know.

    It seemed to me that it can be handled strictly online and through the postal service.

    Good luck!

  • Alex said:


    Did you get this issue resolved?? Were you able to connect with Vermont DMV?


  • Dave said:

    I am dealing with the same issue here. I bought my 2009 BMS for $300.00 off of a friend who was moving out of state. I fixed the scooter and he mailed me the paperwork. He had the MCO with just his name on it and not signed over to me, the bill of sale, and the shipping paperwork. I have had this scooter for 2 years without it being registered. Will Vermont send me a registration and plates without having an address there? You say it was done by the postal service but don’t you have to be a resident to register a vehicle there? I would like some more details so I can do this I live in Pennsylvania.

  • Dave said:

    Also which form was it?

  • Scott said:

    At the time this was posted – you did not need a local address. You sent what they needed (they will tell you when you go online/phone.

  • Traci said:

    I have a Vespa that I bought after 9-11 in 2001. I’ve not used it in years and would like to sell it, or give it away, however….I’ve lost my title and it’s not been registered or inspected for years. I’m sure that it won’t even start. In NY, is there any way for me to regain my registration….etc online so that I may do something with the bike? Your help is much appreciated! Traci

  • scott (author) said:

    I think you would have to do this in person, and I am honestly not sure how it would go. The state of NY can be pretty strict about these things, but often less so for older vehicles.

    I would contact the DMV and see what they have to say – but I’m afraid it may take a trip in person to get any results.

    Good luck!

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