When a used car is purchased from a motor vehicle dealer, you expect the dealer to provide a valid certificate of title that transfers ownership of the vehicle. But what happens if the dealer fails to deliver the title? The Attorney General may be able to help.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office administers a program called the Title Defect Rescission Fund (TDR), which helps individuals who experience title problems after buying a used car from a dealer. If you buy a vehicle and the dealer fails to obtain a title in your name within 40 days, or if there are other problems with the title, you may have the right to cancel the transaction and get a refund.
Under the Certificate of Motor Vehicle Title Law, a retail purchaser has an unconditional right to rescind (or cancel) the transaction, and the dealer is obligated to refund the purchaser all money paid, if one or all of the following applies:
The dealer fails to obtain a certificate of title in the purchaser’s name on or before the 40th day following the sale
The certificate of title for the vehicle indicates it is a rebuilt salvage vehicle, and the fact was not disclosed to the purchaser in writing before the execution of the purchase agreement
The certificate of title for the vehicle indicates it is a lemon buyback, and that fact was not disclosed to the purchaser in writing before the execution of the purchase agreement
The certificate of title for the vehicle indicates that the dealer has made an inaccurate odometer disclosure to the purchaser
If the purchaser notifies the dealer of one or more of the circumstances listed above and the dealer fails to provide a full refund or reach a satisfactory compromise within three business days, the purchaser may apply to the Attorney General for a refund through the TDR Fund.
In April, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit against Dads Car Lot Inc. and its owners, William D. Taylor Sr. and Gary Jones. The lawsuit charged the Columbus-area used car dealer with multiple violations of Ohio’s consumer laws.
The Attorney General’s Office had received dozens of consumer complaints against Dads Car Lot. Consumers cited problems with certificates of title, repossessions, misrepresentations, and repairs and services. To resolve title complaints, the office provided more than $9,000 in consumer restitution through the TDR Fund.
To avoid title problems in the first place, research a dealership carefully before you sign an agreement. Check complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau, and ask family members and friends about their experiences. Once you are ready to make a purchase, be sure to get everything in writing. Don’t sign anything until you fully understand the agreement, especially the financing terms.
To ask questions about your rights or to file a complaint, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov