California Registration with no papers or plates

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So you may have in the past bought a sweet cheap moped from a flea market or just an individual off the internet. Neither sales person can provide you with a plate or any paperwork nor do they know the name of the actual registered owner according to DMV. They of course swear that the bike is not stolen which makes no sense what so ever as they have no idea who the registered owner is or was. But it never fails they always say "I will give you a bill of sale so you can get it registered no problem". As if the DMV holds valid or even will ever want to see a hand scrawled bill of sale from "Johnny Methlab". But anyhow yes always try to get the seller to write out some proof of purchase.

Most DMV moped registrations will go through with out a hitch by first just trying to slide the application through the DMV applying as a "New" registration. You may have or will want to read this tutorial [Moped regisratation for dummies]. But lightning can strike your application at the DMV office in the form of the DMV computer kicking out your application for further review because it says that the bikes serial number already exists in the computer with the actual owners name attached. The DMV now sends back you paperwork and wants you to redo it as a transfer of ownership which requires the registered owner to sign their name to the REG230 form on section 4. But of course that's impossible because of the lame circumstances in which you acquired the bike in the first place.

Here is my story of returned paperwork when trying to register this Kreidler Flory basket case I picked up. Here it is in the back of my truck upon returning home. Probably right after I took this picture I went inside and downloaded the registration form, filled it out as a "New" registration and mailed it and a check for 23.00 off before sundown.

basket case

DMV Returns My Paperwork and Check

So covid is about 5 months old at this time so It takes longer that usual to get a response from DMV and when I do get a respond it is bad. I know it's bad as soon as I pull the envelope from the box and could tell there was no plate inside. After opening the mail I see the DMV said the vin number is assigned to registered owner and that I have to get a bill of sale from this unknown person and redo the paperwork to include section 4 "ownership transfer". They were kind enough to highlight in blue the section that must be filled out.

moped application

Below is the actual returned payment paper (yes they returned my 23.00) with highlighted explanation as to what they wanted in order to transfer the registration to my name.

DMV returned payment

Wrote a Personal Letter to DMV Asking For Help

OK, so now what? I have no way of getting the registered owners name, so I write a letter to the DMV explaining in detail how I got the bike and that I have no way of determining the registered owners name or how to locate them. Months later DMV responded with:

As it is a privacy concern , DMV will not provide names of registered owners unknown to the applicant. To register any vehicle when the registered owner is unknown or is not responding after attempted contact, you must follow the Diligent Effort Process found on our website at [[1]] To register the moped in your name, submit a Moped Application (REG 230), 23.00 fee, and the Statement of Facts (REG 256) with the information requested from the Diligent Effort Process

The statement in bold above written by the DMV is the turning point to getting a legal plate and paper. Writing Wiki pages can be hard and I tend to muddle it all up by including "MY" story and complicating things. The following pictures and paragraphs will now tell you exactly how to fill out the forms and all that you need to include in your next correspondence to the DMV.

Here is What the DMV wants and How it should be filled out


Use this link REG 256 to go to the DMV Statement of Facts PDF. You can type in your statement or print it blank and write the info in. Fill out nothing on the first page and only use the second page. In section G is where you will tell your story. Embellish what you have to to satisfy the "Diligent Effort Process"

  • Your statement needs to include:
    1. From whom the moped was acquired
    2. The current value of the moped
    3. Is the moped free of liens (yes it is)

It is not hard to come up with your own viable story on your statement of facts to satisfy the Diligent Effort Process. Below is my actual statement of facts that I sent to the DMV cept for the black sharpie bogus names.


Great now you have your Statement of Facts done and your Diligent Effort Process should be satisfied.

Next You can fill out your application form. Get it here REG 230 When filling out this form you will be putting info in every section. Make your application look just like the one below.


Lastly is the matter of "bill of sale" You may have in possession a receipt, hand scrawled on a taco truck napkin or you might not. If you do have one, the DMV hates seeing that. You would be wise to transfer whatever info from the napkin onto the the proper "Bill of Sale" form. You can print it out here. REG 135
DMV workers I am sure love to have a form for every slot in the process they do. When a case comes to their desk that does not have all the papers the may say to themselves "I don't have time to make decisions on this today" and your case drops into a hold basket. I think it is wise to fill out some info on the REG 135 just so the worker can get through their day. Just don't use Johnny Methlab.

bill of sale

If you want to save a bunch of back and forth with DMV and your not sure if your new bike is in the computer I recommend filing your registration in the manner I described above.
If you bought your bike from out of state well then you can do the easy peasy "New" first time process and forget all the statement of facts bullshit.

I think all is covered as to how you can now approach DMV to get your bike legally registered when you don't have a single scrap of papers or a plate. This whole process of back and forth in the mail is the only way to get this done. It took me 6 months with the covid delays to register this one Kreidler Moped and I had the bike done in 2 months and was riding with a bogus plate till all this was resolved. DO NOT GO INTO A DMV OFFICE AND ASK THEM WHAT TO DO> THEY WILL TELL YOU TO REGISTER ONLINE!!

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