Resolving Your Vehicle Issue Could Be As Easy as D-M-V…L&T

I receive numerous calls and inquiries from people with issues related to vehicle they purchase from dealers across North Carolina.  Some—definitely not all—vehicle dealers exert power during the negotiation and purchase process such that the consumer feels powerless and without legal rights.  This is anything but a good bargain.Fraud--ironclad

Did you know that North Carolina has a governmental agency which may be able to help you?  The License and Theft Bureau of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is that agency.  The following excerpt from the NCDMV License and Theft Bureau webpage should help you understand the scope of  duties:

The Division of Motor Vehicles employs approximately 150 inspectors who primarily investigate vehicle theft, title fraud, driver license and ID card fraud, and vehicle odometer fraud. They also enforce the rules and regulations governing vehicle dealers, vehicle safety and emissions inspection stations, vehicle towing and storage facilities, and vehicle repair businesses. The Bureau is committed to providing excellent service to North Carolina citizens and visitors.

License and Theft has enforcement authority over dealerships located in North Carolina which includes initiating criminal charges and proceedings to negatively affect a dealer’s license.  A License and Theft Officer can demand a dealer open it’s books and records for inspection.  In a recent case I represent a client whose vehicle was repossessed despite her repeated requests to the dealer to provide a copy of any finance contract or retail installment sales agreement she may have signed (the woman says she does not recall signing any such document and she has never received a copy thereof).  The dealership repossessed the vehicle on the premise that the client was not current on her vehicle payments and, as you would imagine, the client disputes this vigorously.  In fact the client contends she has paid the vehicle loan in full and is entitled to have the dealer’s lien removed from the vehicle’s Certificate of Title.

The above conflict begs the question:  what does the contract say?  And before this question can be answered one must ask the following:  was there a contract signed by both parties?  The DMV License and Theft Officer, upon a call from the client, went to the dealership and demanded a copy of a finance contract or retail installment sales agreement.  The dealer could not locate one but continued to maintain it had valid grounds to repossess the client’s vehicle.  Voila!  A high-level dealership employee was charged criminally for failure to maintain required dealer records.  The dealer has since sold the vehicle but has still not produced any document sufficient to constitute a valid finance agreement.  The case is still in litigation.

To find the NCDMV License and Theft Bureau office nearest you click here and use the “Find a DMV Office” feature in the middle of the page.  And if you have problems with auto fraud, undisclosed vehicle damage, problematic financing, a yo-yo sale, warranty or vehicle service contract questions, or some other vehicle-related issue contact the O’Neal Law Office for a free consultation.


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