Blog Post: Certificate of Title vs. CCO- Which Is Superior?
The Certificate of Title Act authorizes the Division of Vehicle Titles and Registration of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (VTR) to issue a certified copy (or duplicate title) when an application is submitted that declares that the original has been lost or destroyed. This Certified Copy of Original Title is frequently referred to as a CCO.Many people think that when VTR issues a CCO, the CCO “nullifies” the original title certificate. Understandable, given that the state's title system makes the assumption that the original title certificate is in fact lost or destroyed, and that, if the CCO is used to make the first transfer after its issuance, it becomes the title of record that the system recognizes.
Common law holds that an original certificate of title is superior to a CCO, contrary to common belief. As TIADA General Counsel Mike Dunagan wrote a few months ago, the ultimate determination in the case of a conflict between two or more certificates for the same vehicle will be made by a court, not TXDMV or a county tax assessor-collector.
Remember, anyone who transfers title in Texas guarantees good title to the buyer. If a dealer purchases on a CCO- whether at a wholesale auction, from another dealer, or through a trade- then the dealer only takes the title that the seller actually possessed. Do be advised on both sides of such a deal: take CCO title only from a reputable source when possible, and recognize that you're guaranteeing good title to your future customer. Be prepared to make that customer whole should a title dispute arise.
*Adapted from the Legal Corner column of Texas Dealer Magazine, February 2017