DMV Recovers Titles When Dealerships Shut Down Without Providing Proof of Ownership to Buyer
An Additional $2.8 Million Recouped from Unscrupulous Auto Dealers and Repair Shops for Fraudulent Sales and Faulty Repairs
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State has helped car buyers recoup more than $4 million worth of vehicle titles after the abrupt closing of dealerships left consumers without their proof of ownership. Additionally, since 2016 the DMV's Vehicle Safety Unit has recovered more than $2.8 million from auto dealers and repair shops for fraudulent vehicle sales or faulty repairs and returned the money to 1,385 customers across the state.
"New Yorkers who buy a car should not be saddled with debt and yet unable to prove they own the vehicle simply because the dealership abruptly closed," Governor Cuomo said. "The State will continue to identify outstanding titles and crack down on unscrupulous auto dealers and repair shops that try to cheat consumers."
Since 2017, when the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles began to track recovery data, the DMV has helped 175 consumers gain clear title to their vehicles, totaling more than $4 million, an average worth of more than $23,200 for each vehicle.
When dealerships close with little to no warning, some car buyers find themselves without titles to their newly purchased vehicles, but are still responsible for the car payments. A certificate of title for a vehicle is what establishes an individual or business as the legal owner. It also includes important information about the vehicle's history and the vehicle itself, including year, make, and model. Without a title, a vehicle owner is unable to transfer ownership, remove a lien, or provide proof of ownership necessary to take out a loan on the vehicle or file an insurance claim.
Title recoveries by region:
Combined Value of Vehicles
Number of Consumers Protected
New York City
Western New York
DMV's Vehicle Safety and Title Services units worked together to secure the titles, which is one of multiple ways the DMV aids consumers. In addition to recovering titles, the DMV also investigates consumer fraud complaints.
In addition, if it is found that a dealer or shop violated laws and/or regulations, the DMV can impose fines and suspend or revoke the business's registration.
Mark J. F. Schroeder, Acting DMV Commissioner, said, "We take our role to protect consumers from irresponsible auto dealers and repair shops very seriously. We want consumers to know they can turn to us whenever they are having a problem with a business we regulate. We will work hard to resolve the issue, enforce the law when needed, and get consumers the satisfaction and justice they deserve."
To learn more about filing a complaint, visit the DMV's Guide to Consumers. DMV also provides assistance to businesses and offers information on their rights if faced with a complaint in its Guide for Facilities.