Alert: American Car Center Titles Being Claimed By Consumers

  • 3 min read

Well, here’s a potential title nightmare. There was a significant article in Fortune Magazine, one of the largest financial publications, about a subprime auto lender going out of business. This poses a serious problem for the hundreds of people who call us every day after buying a car from a dealer who then went out of business before they received their title. These customers did a buy-here-pay-here deal, meaning they paid directly to the dealer until they paid off their car. However, if the dealer goes out of business before the last payment is made, the customer is out of luck because they don’t receive their title until then. It’s a big issue, and there are some methods to get your title, which we’ll provide a link to below.

This particular dealer is called American Car Center, and they’ve closed their doors. They just pulled a $222 million bond sale as they were trying to get money. They employed 288 people at their headquarters and had 40 dealerships across ten states. If each dealership sells around 40 cars a month, that’s 1,600 cars on the road every month or around 20,000 cars yearly. These cars won’t have titles because the dealer holds them until they’re paid off. That means 20,000 people are at risk of not getting a title, and if the loans are two years long or they sell 50 cars a month, it could be 30, 40, or 50,000 people with title problems. There’s a possibility that up to 100,000 cars could have title issues.

So what happens if you buy a car from this dealer, make payments for six to eight months, and then they go out of business? Your title is now at risk. The dealer’s assets might be bought up, they could go bankrupt, or someone might take over their operations, but in the meantime, you’re in danger of losing your title. If this happens to you, the first thing you need to do is get legal advice. Contact an attorney or at least file with the licensing board to figure out how to get a title. You need to file for a court order title or a magistrate title, sometimes called a civil lien. This may eliminate the need to make the rest of your payments. But start the process early because, in some cases, the titling division of your state has a victims’ restitution fund that the dealer has been paying into for years. Once that fund is exhausted, getting a title may not be easy. You want to be at the front of the line.

This is huge news because it could mean tens of thousands of vehicles out there with title problems, with lien release problems. There’s no one left to issue titles or sign off on lien releases because they’re going out of business. American Car Center laid off all 288 employees, who were terminated by the end of the business day. No staff will be left to wind things up, so it will be a problem. If you’re in this scenario, you must start the process immediately to ensure you don’t lose your vehicle and that all the money you spent on payments isn’t wasted.

The Solution for Your Court-Ordered Title

Need a court-ordered title transfer? provides everything you need to file your paperwork and get your court-ordered vehicle title.

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