What To Do If A Car Dealer Won’t Give You Your Car Title

  • 3 min read

The title to your car is the most important ownership document, but what do you do if it’s held up at the dealership? Depending on the circumstances of your situation, there may be a legitimate reason why the dealer is holding your title, but this isn’t always the case. In this blog, we’ll discuss why a dealer may be holding your car title and how to get a title from a dealer that isn’t cooperating.

Why would a car dealer hold your title?

Many dealerships today provide on-site financing to assist customers with purchasing a new vehicle. This can be very helpful to many and is a very common option to finance a vehicle. However, if you finance and live in a non-title-holding state, the lender (aka the dealer) will hold your title until the loan is paid off. Non-title-holding means you, as the owner, do not hold the title while the loan is active. Most US states are non-title-holding states.

If you’ve financed your car with the dealership and live in a non-title-holding state, the dealer will mail you your title once the loan is satisfied. 

What to do if the dealer isn’t cooperating

A dealer may not cooperate with you to send you the title for many reasons, such as the dealership may be out of business, the vehicle may have outstanding liens, or they may not even have the title on hand. In any case, if the vehicle is rightfully yours, you are entitled to your clean car title from the dealer.

Every car dealership must be licensed by the state transportation agency or similar agency in the operating state. When making a purchase from a dealership, they are legally bound to execute the title transfer process in compliance with their license. Even if the dealership ceases operations, a registered agent will still be responsible for representing the dealership. You can get in touch with the registered agent and seek their assistance in obtaining your title by searching the dealership within the state’s Secretary of State database. If, for any reason, the dealership refuses to provide you with the title due to closure or other factors, take appropriate action by reporting the dealership to either your local DMV or state transportation agency.

Court Ordered Title

If you’ve been through the wringer trying to get your title from the dealership without any luck, the court-ordered title process may be your saving grace. This process involves gathering evidence of ownership, notifying any interests in the vehicle, and presenting your case for ownership in front of a judge. If the vehicle is rightfully yours, but the dealership can’t produce a title, the judge may be able to issue a court order to direct your DMV to issue a new one in your name. This is a very common method of title recovery; however, it’s intended to be the last resort. Before pursuing this option, make sure you’ve exhausted all others.

At the end of the day, your dealer is responsible for the initial title transfer process and for sending you the title at the end of your loan if you’ve financed through them. This is their legal obligation to you. If you have trouble with a dealer transferring your title, contact the dealer and, if necessary, the local transportation authority in your county or state to report your situation. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.

The Solution for Your Court-Ordered Title

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

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