Kane In Your Corner: Bought a car but didn’t receive a title for it? Here’s what you need to know

Kane In Your Corner receives a lot of complaints from people who say they bought cars but didn’t get their titles or plates in a timely fashion. Here’s what you should do if this happens to you.

Walt Kane

Jul 20, 2023, 11:24 AM

Updated 305 days ago

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What happens if you buy a used car and weeks or months later, you still don't have a title. What can you do? News 12’s Senior Investigative Reporter Walt Kane is In Your Corner with the answer.
News 12 viewer LaToya wrote a question:
“I purchased a used car (months ago) and have yet to receive my official license plates. The salesperson claims that there was a discrepancy with the title.”
She says, “I am now on my third set of temporary plates (and) if I don't receive the hard plates, I will be forced to take my car off the road, while having to continue paying for a car that I cannot drive. Please help.”
Unfortunately, Latoya is not alone. Kane In Your Corner receives a lot of complaints from people who say they bought cars but didn’t get their titles or plates in a timely fashion.

Here’s what you need to know

When you buy a car, the title is the only proof the car is really yours. Automotive expert Bob Ruch says sometimes, dealers may advertise used cars for sale while they’re still waiting for the title to arrive. But he says buying a used car without a title can lead to problems.
“You're not really supposed to sell the car until you physically have the title,” Ruch said. “If the dealer put you out on a temporary registration, it'll expire…then you can't drive the car legally. Also, if there's an insurance claim or hit, they can actually not pay the claim on it because of that.”

What should you do if this happens to you?

Ruch says stay in touch with the dealer – getting the title is their responsibility. If you don’t have one in 30 days, you can file a complaint with the state division of consumer affairs.
The safest course of action is to just not buy a used car unless the seller can provide you with a title. Ruch says that’s especially true if you’re buying from an individual.
Do you have a consumer question or know something Walt Kane needs to investigate? Call 732-738-KANE or email KaneInYourCorner@News12.com.


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