Monday, August 14, 2006
Help Me Howard: Car Title
Ever sold or traded in a car? Most of us have. Now how would you feel if you got a knock on the door from a police officer looking for you as a suspect in a crime? It happened to one innocent South Florida man all because of a car he traded in. What kind of title trouble? Here is Patrick Fraser with tonight's Help Me Howard.
WSVN--If you drive, odds are you have bought a few cars in your lifetime... Which of course means you have sold or traded in one or two as well.
Renier Dominguez: "I went ahead and gave them the title..they didnt tell me anything else."
Two years ago Ranier traded his car for a pick-up. Then, he forgot about the car, till late one night...
Renier Dominguez: "I wasn't there at the time but my mom answered the door and she was very upset."
And who could blame her?
Renier Dominguez: "I had some cops knocking at the door stating that my car was in a criminal activity and they were looking for me."
Turns out the car Renier had traded in two years ago had been bought by a fellow who used it in a crime. He fled, left the car behind and when detectives ran it to see who owned it.
Renier Dominguez: "They found out the vin number was still listed under my name."
Patrick Fraser: "So as far as they knew you were the owner of the car?"
Renier Dominguez: "Yes."
Turns out the car was never transferred out of Renier's name and was never transferred into the name of the person who bought it.
Renier Dominguez: "The dealership should have done their job. If you take a car to a dealership they should give you all the paperwork right then and there to make the trade in."
Fortunately, Renier still had this receipt proving he sold the car.
He showed it to detectives who told him, 'don't lose it.'
Renier Dominguez: "Cause the detective told me to keep it on my just in case they pull me over and see this car under my name that they are looking for my name, I can get arrested for some crime."
That is frightening, and the whole episode has been embarressing.
But who is to blame for a car he sold, still in his name?
To find out, Renier called Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "Certainly Reneir didn't do anything wrong. And it's possible that the dealer he sold the car to did nothing wrong because legally the last dealer that sold it to the customer -- who was wanted by police -- should have transferred the title. It is their responsibility."
When I spoke to the dealer they did a little research and told me Renier's car had gone to an auction. They believe it was sold a few times between dealers.
That the cars are not "titled" till it is sold to a customer, and that the last dealer should have done that.
The dealership also told me, If you trade in a car, keep the bill of sale on you at all times, because this can happen at any time.
Howard says you can do one more thing.
Howard Finkelstein: "Besides keeping the bill of sale like Reiner, file a piece of paper called a Notice of Sale with the Division of Motor Vehicles. You can get the document from them online and it protects you in case the dealer doesn't transfer the title."
Renier has gotten over the situation, although he is not sure he can say the same for his mother.
Renier Dominguez: "She was very scared because she has never had nobody knock on the door like, so hard."
Patrick Fraser: "Now, Howard mentioned this form to fill out to prove you sold you car. This is it and you can get it on line from the Division of Motor Vehicles. Here or at wsvn.com under Help Me Howard.
Not only will it help you in case the new buyer commits a crime, but if they get towing fees or parking tickets, this form will prove you are not liable for them.
Bought a ton of trouble that is driving you bananas? Not sold on a solution? Then contact us. We will tell you exactly what you are en-titled to.
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