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.


Getting visual

Ground Clearance is headed to Florida for the auction in February.
This would be a great time to meet up and put a face to the voice on the other end of the call and e-mails.
If you have a group going let me know. I really appreciate group FAQ sessions and helping you to know more of what you can do to get more knowledge of the information behind the deals you make. Great questions I get are about jurisdictions for liens, the misconception that dealers do lien searches, that contractors are sketchy to work with, and what “in the ordinary course of business” could mean to you.
Drop an e-mail with what time you have set aside and which of the auctions you will be attending.

Searching on your own company

I get many calls from people wanting to do a search on their own company and wonder if they should. Definitely! It is always good to know what is filed on your company – or yourself if you operate as a DBA (Doing Business As) and not a separate entity.

In fact, I encourage customers to forward the file they get on to the seller of the equipment. After all, we think we know what it filed but until eyes are laid on the documents, it’s just a guess. You can do that at the lien search page link.

Sometimes creditors will file terminations and sometimes they wait for the lapse which is a minimum of 5 years after the filing date! Notes which are paid off might show up in your mailbox when the creditor sends a letter with a copy of the termination. At that point it is the responsibility of the owner to file it. There are usually instructions on how to file it. But, hey, business owners are busy people and there is never a shortage of the usual paperwork. So, it gets shuffled around on the desk until it falls into the circular storage never to be seen again.

If you get those letters from your creditors, you can contact Ground Clearance , e-mail a copy and we will file it for you. For a small fee, of course. The creditor didn’t file it because filing is rarely free.