☰ Revisor of Missouri


Chapter 301

< > Effective - 28 Aug 1997, 2 histories, see footnote   (history) bottom

  301.210.  Sale and transfer of vehicles, transfers within corporations not a sale — assignment of certificate — new certificate — notice of sale to nonresident — director of revenue to keep file — other sales void. — 1.  In the event of a sale or transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle or trailer for which a certificate of ownership has been issued, the holder of such certificate shall endorse on the same an assignment thereof, with warranty of title in form printed thereon, and prescribed by the director of revenue, with a statement of all liens or encumbrances on such motor vehicle or trailer, and deliver the same to the buyer at the time of the delivery to him of such motor vehicle or trailer; provided that, when the transfer of a motor vehicle, trailer, boat or outboard motor occurs within a corporation which holds a license to operate as a motor vehicle or boat dealer pursuant to sections 301.550 to 301.575*, the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection 7** of section 144.070 shall not apply.

  2.  The buyer shall then present such certificate, assigned as aforesaid, to the director of revenue, at the time of making application for the registration of such motor vehicle or trailer, whereupon a new certificate of ownership shall be issued to the buyer, the fee therefor being that prescribed in subsection 5 of section 301.190.

  3.  If such motor vehicle or trailer is sold to a resident of another state or country, or if such motor vehicle or trailer is destroyed or dismantled, the owner thereof shall immediately notify the director of revenue.  Certificates when so signed and returned to the director of revenue shall be retained by the director of revenue and all certificates shall be appropriately indexed so that at all times it will be possible for him to expeditiously trace the ownership of the motor vehicle or trailer designated therein.

  4.  It shall be unlawful for any person to buy or sell in this state any motor vehicle or trailer registered under the laws of this state, unless, at the time of the delivery thereof, there shall pass between the parties such certificates of ownership with an assignment thereof, as provided in this section, and the sale of any motor vehicle or trailer registered under the laws of this state, without the assignment of such certificate of ownership, shall be fraudulent and void.


(RSMo 1939 § 8382, A.L. 1947 V. I p. 380, A.L. 1984 H.B. 1045, A.L. 1991 H.B. 261, A.L. 1997 S.B. 59 merged with S.B. 316)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 7774; 1919 § 7561

*Section 301.575 was repealed by S.B. 52, 1993.

**Statutory reference to subsection "6" changed to "7" in accordance with section 3.060 based on renumbering within section 144.070 in S.B. 89 and S.B. 368, 2019.

(1955) This section has no application to sale of new cars to dealer and such cars may be transferred by bill of sale as prescribed by section 301.210. Mallory Motor Co. v. Overfall (A.), 279 S.W.2d 532.

(1957) Section 301.210 applies to all sales of motor vehicles made in Missouri whether the vehicles were previously registered in this state or not. Lebcowitz v. Simms (A.), 300 S.W.2d 827.

(1957) Where owner had car sold at public auction and executed and delivered certificate of title to buyer who thereupon executed chattel mortgage thereon to secure loan, mortgagee held entitled to car as against auctioneer who had retained possession, although buyer's check in payment therefor was returned because of insufficient funds. Inland Discount Co. v. St. Louis Auction Barn (A.), 303 S.W.2d 185.

(1957) This section does not apply to new car sales, and sale of new car to person who procured Indiana title therefor was valid. Stephen Burns, Inc. v. Trantham (A.), 305 S.W.2d 66.

(1957) Where title to vehicle was in name of one of two brothers, who were alleged to be co-owners thereof, insurer's denial of liability under sole ownership clause of policy could not be maintained because brother, not having title, had no insurable interest in vehicle. Kelso v. Kelso (Mo.), 306 S.W.2d 534.

(1958) Where individual and dealer traded cars and exchanged possession of the vehicles on one day but did not formally assign titles to the vehicles until the following day, the use of the car acquired by the individual prior to assignment of title was with "permission" of dealer so as to render dealer's insurer liable for damages resulting from such use.  Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co. (A.), 311 S.W.2d 41.

(1958) Where owner placed vehicle on dealer's lot with understanding that he would deliver title when he received stipulated sum, purchaser from dealer who did not receive title was not entitled to vehicle. Albright v. Uhlig (A.), 315 S.W.2d 471.

(1958) Where sale of motor vehicle and mortgage thereof for part of purchase price were both a part of the same transaction, fact that title to vehicle was not duly assigned to purchaser until a short time later did not make mortgage void as being on after-acquired property. World Inv. Co. v. Kolburt (A.), 317 S.W.2d 697.

(1959) So long as the certificate of title to a vehicle is not assigned and delivered, the buyer may repudiate his contract of purchase and may recover what he has paid if within a reasonable time he returns the vehicle in as good condition as when he received it. Matthews v. Truxton Parts, Inc. (A.), 327 S.W.2d 28.

(1960) Where buyer of new automobile waited about nine months to repudiate sale on ground contract was illegal for seller's failure to assign and deliver certificate of title, he did not act within a reasonable time and could not recover his purchase money. Hymer v. Dude Hinton Pontiac, Inc. (A.), 332 S.W.2d 467.

(1960) Tender of assigned certificate of ownership to the buyer approximately two weeks after automobile was delivered constituted compliance with provision of this section requiring delivery at the time of delivery of motor vehicle.  Ashby v. National Bond Finance Company (A.), 343 S.W.2d 218.

(1961) Where comaker on note secured by chattel mortgage on motor vehicle agreed to take over the car after its repossession by mortgagee and executed new note and chattel mortgage for sum in excess of balance due and accepted possession of vehicle, there was a sale to him of the vehicle which was void because title was not assigned. The note, therefore, was void for want of consideration. Public Finance Corp. of Kansas City v. Shemwell (A.), 345 S.W.2d 494.

(1963) Where purchaser of automobile did not receive certificate of title until after he was involved in accident, purchaser was not owner of automobile at time of accident and purchaser was an insured under garage liability of policy covering seller and insurer was liable in equitable garnishment suit for satisfaction of judgment obtained against purchaser.  Sabella v. American Indemnity Co. (Mo.), 372 S.W.2d 36.

(1963) Oral settlement agreement between parties to a divorce would be ineffectual to convey legal title to automobile.  Nye v. James (A.), 373 S.W.2d 655.

(1964) Where no certificate of title was delivered to purported purchaser of automobile at the time the purchase money was paid, the sale was void. Galati v. New Amsterdam Casualty Co. (A.), 381 S.W.2d 5.

(1964) Purported purchaser of a motor vehicle to whom a properly-assigned certificate of ownership is not passed at the time of delivery of the vehicle not only does not become the owner thereof but also does not acquire any insurable interest therein. Moore v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (A.), 381 S.W.2d 161.

(1965) Failure to acknowledge assignment of automobile title certificates before a notary public in accordance with forms prescribed by director of revenue results in certificate not being sufficient to vest legal title. Commercial Credit Corp. v. Blau (Mo.), 393 S.W.2d 558.

(1969) The clear legislative intent is to outlaw and render void an agreement to sell, as well as an actual sale of a motor vehicle when made contrary to the provisions of this section.  Greer v. Zurich Insurance Co. (Mo.), 441 S.W.2d 15.

(1969) The provisions of this section are mandatory and failure of seller of motor vehicle to endorse an assignment of the certificate of title, together with a statement of all liens and encumbrances, renders the sale fraudulent and void, the seller transfers no title and the buyer acquires no interest which can be insured or mortgaged. Merchants Produce Bank v. Mack Trucks, Inc. (A.), 411 F.2d 1174.

(1973) Used car dealer who failed to receive certificate of title as required in § 301.210, RSMo, had no interest to sustain recovery in replevin. Bonnell v. Mahaffey (A.), 493 S.W.2d 688.

(1974) Held that this section applies even though title in question originated in Maryland.  This section applies to all sales made in Missouri.  Fawley v. Bailey (A.), 512 S.W.2d 477.

(1976) The mandatory requirements of this section are intended to hamper traffic in stolen vehicles and to reduce fraud and deceit in the sale of used cars. A certificate of title is only prima facie evidence of ownership which may be rebutted.  Case v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co. (A.), 534 S.W.2d 635.

(1977) Held, failure to comply strictly with this section left good-faith purchaser without title to a vehicle and prevented his having an insurable interest in the vehicle. Horton v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. (A.), 550 S.W.2d 806.

---- end of effective  28 Aug 1997 ----

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