It really can
happen to anyone even someone who is pretty hip when it comes
to cars. Hell, it recently happened to me!
About six weeks
ago (the dates importance will become apparent in a minute)
I went car shopping with a good friend of ours. She was interested
in a convertible Toyota Solara that was for sale on the lot of a
local and higher-end used car lot. The car itself
was not the problem. Low miles, great condition, as advertised.
It checked out and my friend negotiated a fair price for
it. She drove the convertible home with her dealer 30 day tags that
very day. But when a month had gone by by and she hadnt received
her actual tags or her title she went back to ask
how come. Usually, you get your permanent tags within a couple weeks
or so and the title paperwork should be handled within a
few days of sale. Most dealers handle all this for you just
as this dealer promised to do. Thats when the proverbial cat
leapt out of the bag.
this used car lot is also a consignment lot a fact
which they neither advertised nor disclosed.
is nothing shady or unethical about consignment lots. What is a
consignment lot? Its a place that sells cars on behalf of
their owners. You have a car youd like to sell, but you dont
want to deal with tire-kickers or the paperwork. A consignment lot
handles all that for you plus puts your car on their lot,
where it will probably get seen by more people than it would parked
in your driveway. In return, you either pay a fixed fee, or a commission
based on a percentage of the sales price, when the car actually
shady or unethical about any of this as such. Consignment
lots can be a great way to sell-off your old car, when youd
prefer not to sell it yourself and arent looking to trade
it in on a new car.
But there are
some issues with buying a car this way that a prospective buyer
ought to know about and more, has a right to know
about. And which the dealer/consignment lot has an obligation
to put on the table.
Enter the problem.
Because this dealer didnt.
This car my
friend bought? The dealer didnt actually have the title to
it. So they could not transfer it to her. The car
was not only still technically the legal property of the person
who gave it to the consignment lot to sell on their behalf
it had a bank lien on it. It was not paid-off. The title
could not be transferred until the lien holder had been paid off.
[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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