Can you search by serial number?

The short answer is “no”. In the US liens are filed by the debtor name. The name and city are pretty much all you need. A lot of the equipment listed on the internet does not list the owner and the research ahead of contact would be great.

I'm sure I saw a serial number here earlier.
I’m sure I saw a serial number here earlier.

Manufacturers may use the same serial number on different models.Sometimes serial numbers change if the equipment is modified. The possibility is real with getting goofed up with the variety of serial numbers on one machine. (I know, you’d think it’s common knowledge which one to use – but common knowledge often isn’t as common as we think.)

Most times the last six of the serial number are used instead of the entire nomenclature which can be the difference. I see so many UCC’s with equipment listed with a different year for the same machine – and it turns out both exist. Therefore, there is not, nor will there ever be, a registry of serial numbers to research.

The problem buyers have is concern over the equipment being represented by the actual owner. (i.e.: not stolen) Ways to get confirmation of rightful owner are:
• bill of sale from the previous purchase
• a copy of the current insurance coverage
• a letter from the banker
• a search with NER. (National Equipment Registry) They data mine and work with insurance companies and sheriffs offices. They have lists of equipment which has had an insurance claim. You will know if the probably piece has had a claim for being stolen, underwater, etc.. Their lien searches are also data mined and do not represent what is actually filed on the debtor.

If the seller is the rightful owner, they shouldn’t balk at providing proof. A nice line like, “Hey buddy, I’m just protecting my business –the same you would want if I were selling the piece to you.” might help. It might not, but sometimes spelling out good business practices hits home. Tell them you are doing a lien search with Ground Clearance. They can call with any questions.  402-484-5071 Always happy to answer questions.