Question: I bought a car from a used car dealership almost 3 months ago, and I still do not have my tag. I had to get an extension on the temporary tag, and that expires soon. Now, I cannot get in touch with anyone at the dealership. What can I do?
Unfortunately, this scenario happens all too often. Here are 5 facts you should know when dealing with an expired temporary tag on a car you purchased from a dealership:
It is against the law for a Georgia car dealership to fail to deliver the car’s title to you or your lien holder within 30 days of your date of purchase. And, without the title, you can’t get tags, and without tags the driver is at risk for receiving a traffic ticket if the car is driven after the tags expire. The driver, not the dealership, is responsible for paying the fine for that traffic ticket.
The buyer’s county tag agency can only issue one extension of the temporary tag. If the car isn’t registered before the second temporary tag expires, then if you drive it you risk getting a traffic ticket (refer back to #1).
The dealership is not allowed to give you more than one temporary tag. Some dealerships will bring you back in and issue a new temporary tag to you. They may accomplish this by having you sign all new paperwork, including a new retail installment sales contract. If you’ve started making payments, then this may violate state and federal laws. If the dealership that sold you the car had you sign new paperwork in order to issue another temporary tag, then you may be able to take legal action to secure return of your money and trade-in.
There are government agencies that regulate car dealerships. If the dealership is not responding to you, then:You can file a complaint against the dealership with the Used Motor Vehicle Licensing Board. You will need to submit your bill of sale, window sticker, and proof of payment.You can file a complaint against the dealership with the Georgia Dept. of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit. You will need to submit your bill of sale, window sticker, and proof of payment. The unit is there to protect the rights of the consumer against these types of violations and more.
If all else fails, then you may need to sue the dealership. Lawsuits can be time-consuming and they’re usually not free, but if you want to keep your vehicle and obtain the proper title for it, and the dealership is unresponsive to the point of ignoring all your legal requests and other efforts, then it maybe time to hire an attorney who can take care of your title issue once and for all. Take the steps above first before hiring attorney, but don’t be afraid to do so if the time comes.
At the end of the day, no one wants to deal with the illegal activities of another person or business, but if the dealership fails to provide you or your lien holder with the title to the vehicle you just purchased, then it is good to know that you have recourse. In the end, you just want to be able to use your car, and reputable dealerships want to make money with as little trouble as possible. As a consumer the law is on your side, and there are many available resources to help you achieve your end goal.
–With writing assistance from Alysia Logan.