#1 Thing To Know When Buying A Used Trailer

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In this article, we’re going to talk about buying a used trailer with a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO), also known as the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO). It’s important to know that an MSO is not the same as a title. An MSO is a paper from the manufacturer that you use when you first register your trailer. A title is what you get from your state after the trailer is registered. If you’re in Pennsylvania, we do the registration for you.

Example of an MSO

Example MSO - Brechbill Trailers

Example of a PA Title

Example PA Title

#1 Mistake When Buying a Used Trailer

When you’re buying a used trailer from a private seller, it’s easy to make a common mistake: not knowing the difference between an MSO and a Title. Some people think if they buy a used trailer that still has an MSO, because the previous owner never registered it, they can just go and register it themselves. But it’s not that simple. It’s really important to understand how an MSO and a Title work when you’re buying a used trailer.

buying a used trailer utility landscape trailers

Why Can’t I Register A Used Trailer With An MSO?

When a used trailer still has an MSO, it indicates that the original owner never finished the registration process. To properly register a trailer, the original owner should have taken the necessary documents to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and asked for the trailer to be registered. During this process, they would pay any required taxes. After that, the trailer becomes officially registered, and the owner would usually receive the title in the mail a few weeks later. This changes slightly if the trailer is financed. In that case, the finance company holds onto the title until the loan is fully paid. Alternatively, the buyer might receive the title with the finance company listed as the lienholder.

The key point to remember is that only the original owner, whose name is on the back of the MSO, can register the trailer. This is why you can’t simply register a trailer yourself if you buy it with an MSO from the previous owner. It’s a crucial step that needs to be completed by the person who initially bought the trailer from the manufacturer or dealership. Without their action to convert the MSO into a proper title, the registration process remains incomplete, and this can create significant challenges for subsequent buyers.

Ensuring Everything Is in Order Before Your Purchase

Before you finalize the purchase of a used trailer, it’s a wise decision to visit the DMV with the person you’re buying it from. This step is crucial for a smooth and problem-free transaction. The DMV staff are experts in these matters and can assist you in ensuring all the paperwork is correctly filled out and submitted. This can save you a lot of time and prevent future frustration.

At the DMV, they will check to make sure that the seller has the title for the trailer, not just the MSO. They will also verify that there are no liens on the trailer. If there happens to be a lien, the DMV can provide guidance on the best course of action. Taking this proactive approach before buying a used trailer can help ensure that everything is legally and properly handled, giving you peace of mind in your purchase.

Bought a Trailer with an MSO? Here’s How to Resolve It

Unfortunately, your options are quite limited if you’ve purchased a used trailer that comes with an MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin) instead of a title. From the state’s perspective, it may appear as though you have stolen the trailer, since there’s no official documentation linking it to you. The MSO will still bear the original owner’s name, and simply signing below their name on any other lines is not a legal option.

To legally register the trailer under your name, you’ll need to involve the original owner, which can be complicated, especially if the trailer has had multiple owners. The original owner is required to take the MSO and the bill of sale to their local DMV, pay the necessary taxes, and go through the process of officially registering the trailer. Only after this process is completed and they receive the title, can they legally transfer the ownership to you. It’s a challenging situation, but reaching out and coordinating with the original owner is the only way to resolve this and ensure everything is legal.

Helpful Documentation From the PA DMV