Q&A - Transfer of Ownership & Huge Towing Bill

Q&A ImageMy girlfriend recently failed to properly transfer ownership of her car after she sold it. The guy shortly after wound up getting the car impounded somehow, and the vehicle was never transferred out of her name. Now, a towing company 4 months later wrote her telling her that she owes $3100 in towing and storage fees. HELP!



She did complete an official transfer paper before turning the car over to the new buyer, right? She kept the copy for protection against an instance just like this, right? Show it to the towing company and point them to the new owner.

The duty to complete the transfer and pay the taxes belongs to the new owner, not the vendor. However, they are both bound by law to complete the APV9T form.

Transfer of motor vehicle

17  (1) If the title or interest of a person in a motor vehicle or trailer registered under section 3 is transferred, whether by gift, exchange, barter, or sale, the transferor and the transferee of the title or interest must immediately sign a notice of the transfer in the form required by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, and the transferee must within 10 days from the day of the transfer deliver the notice to the corporation for registration by the corporation, accompanied by the prescribed fee and the insurance premium in respect of the transfer and the amount of tax owing in respect of the motor vehicle under the Social Service Tax Act, the Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act, section 212.1 or 218.1 or Division IV.1 of Part IX of the Excise Tax Act (Canada) or the Provincial Sales Tax Act.


She Didn't

Unfortunately not! She didn't know what the correct process was and was selling her first car. She gave all the papers to the buyer and I guess he just never turned them in.


For the best advice, I would spend the $25 on Lawyer Referral.

Put on your poker face

If she got paid for the sale of the vehicle,then I wouldn't worry.Tell the towing company to pound sand.They have the car,she has her money,and its not her problem.I am guessing the fees are probably worth more than the car,and the tow yard is bluffing.Thats how they make money.

Damned Form Letters!

Thinking about all the hassles involved for the vendor when the purchaser does not follow through with the transfer, I contacted the Consumer Taxation Branch of the Ministry of Finance for advice. Most of the time this is done to avoid paying the sales tax to maximize the profit in a resale. In my past experience, CTB follows up and things happen quickly, so I e-mailed and asked if they would be interested in a report on the purchaser.

They responded promply with a 300 word copy and paste response. Of all the information in it, this seems to apply:

If you wish to report suspicious activities to the government of BC, you can use the BC Tax Fraud, Fuel or Tobacco Smuggling Anonymous Tips Line: 604-660-0858 in Vancouver, or 1-877-977-0858 toll-free in BC. Or, email your report to IUnit@Victoria1.bc.ca.

I e-mailed back and asked if it was worthwhile to report this, essentially my first question in the original e-mail. Hopefully someone will read for comprehension this time and respond directly.

And guess what! The e-mail address provided is invalid....

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