When it comes to buying a vehicle, whether used or not, car title and registration are two of the things you need to apply for. Vehicle registration, a compulsory registration, is the document that establishes a connection between you and your car. It’s the paper that allows you to drive your car freely on public roads.
On the other hand, a car title is a certificate that proves you to be the legal owner of a vehicle. The document is usually issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In the case where you’re buying a car with cash at a dealership, you can always expect the dealer to forward the official certificate of title to you after receiving it from the department of motor vehicles in your state.
But what will happen if the car dealer fails to send your title?
If the dealer hasn’t sent your title, it means you’re not yet the owner of the vehicle. One of the few cases that could cause your title to delay is when there are errors with the paperwork sent by the dealer to the DMV. If the title is delayed for a longer period, you might need to contact an experienced attorney.
How long does a dealership have to get you a title? Why would a dealer not have a title? Is it possible to sue a dealership for not giving me a title? You’ll find answers to these burning questions and more as you read through the rest of this article.
How Long Does a Dealership Have to Get You a Title?
As earlier mentioned, when you purchase a vehicle by cash at a dealership, what happens is that the dealer will have to prepare the paperwork for the title and send it to the local department of motor vehicles in your state. As you already know, the DMV is the state government agency that issues the official certificate of title. As soon as the department of motor vehicles is done processing the paperwork, the agency will forward back the official certificate of title.
But here’s a burning question; how long does a dealership have to get you a title?
To answer the question, I’ll say that it depends on the state where you purchase the vehicle. Apart from that, another question is; did you purchase the car with cash, or is the vehicle financed by loan?
According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, a dealership has up to 30 days from the date of sale of a car to get you an official certificate of title. In case you reside in Maryland, the same law also applies to dealers in the state. For a financed car, a dealership is expected to provide you with a title within 45 days of selling the car.
However, you need to understand that, in most cases, it’ll likely be impossible for you to get the title within a month.
As you already know, the dealer will be the one to handle all your title registration for you. First, the paperwork for your title needs to be prepared and forwarded to the DMV. However, due to many reasons, it can become impossible for your certificate of title to get to you on time.
Why Would a Dealer Not Have a Title?
It’s very possible for a dealer not to have a title to a vehicle. According to a video by Daniel Whitney, Jr., a Maryland dealer fraud attorney, a few factors could cause a dealer not to have a title. Let’s have a quick look at them below:
According to Whitney, one of the reasons why dealers fail to provide the title to buyers or to the DMV to process the paperwork of the title is that they did not get the title from the person who traded in the car. Often, this happens when the person that traded in the car fails to provide the certificate of title for genuine reasons, such as when the seller misplaces it.
Even at that, the dealers are supposed to wait for the paperwork to be processed for a duplicate title. However, some of them often proceed to sell the vehicle to another buyer without having to wait for the duplicate certificate.
Here’s another reason why dealers sometimes fail to provide a title to buyers. According to the Maryland dealer fraud attorney, it could be because the dealer has refused not to pay the lien/loan off on the vehicle after being traded-in. This could happen because of several different reasons, such as if the dealer is experiencing cash flow issues.
Well, regardless of what the dealers are passing through, they aren’t supposed to sell a car without title to a buyer. Doing that could cause several different problems. For instance, without paying the lien/loan off on the vehicle, there’s no way the new buyer can claim ownership of the car.
Can I Sue a Dealership for Not Giving me a Title?
So, after several months of waiting for the dealer to send your car title, all efforts still proved abortive. So, you want to know whether or not you can sue the dealership?
How else will you be able to claim ownership of the vehicle if you don’t take legal action against the dealership? So, the answer to the burning question is yes, you can always sue a dealership.
As earlier mentioned, if you’ve already used up every option to get your vehicle title from a dealer, your next move should be to contact an experienced attorney. I’m saying that because most dealerships tend to pay more attention to a lawsuit than to a complaining buyer.