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Car buyers not getting titles, leading to long delays and frustration

Biz Car Sales
Posted at 4:00 AM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 10:12:22-04

PHOENIX — When you buy a car and pay for it in full, you expect to get the title proving you own it.

But more Arizona buyers are saying that's not happening. And the long delays, involving various businesses, are causing hassles for people like Kayle Frogge.

"We paid them to handle the title and stuff like that," she says.

Kayle's talking about Bell Road Toyota in Phoenix where she paid cash for a 2011 Malibu.

She bought it in February of 2021.

Yet Kayle says she still can't get the title, proof she owns the car.

So for a year and a half, she's worried. What if she wanted to sell the car, if the dealer went out of business or if she's in an accident?

"If something happens to my car, it gets hit, towed, I actually can't get it out because it's actually not under my name," she says.

And then there are the temporary tags that expire and she has to constantly renew.

Kayle says every time she tries getting any answers from Bell Road Toyota, she's led to the same woman.

"I've never actually seen her in person. Every time I go in there she's gone, she left for the day," Kayle says.

When Kayle let me know, we took her back to the dealer looking for answers.

She says it's a place she's been many times.

Inside, Felix the sales manager got an earful from both of us.

Kayle says she didn't get any help for a year and a half.

She paid cash. How could she still not have her title?

Arizona law states dealers cannot sell a vehicle without having a title, except under a few circumstances.

Bell Road Toyota gave no details but blamed California DMV for the delay. So, we asked DMV and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to investigate Kayle's case.

... and they did.

"The good news is, I have my title," she says.

Kayle got the proof of ownership she should have had more than a year ago.

"I can say it's my car. It belongs to me," Kayle says.

California DMV says when they were "made aware of the issue, they "completed the paperwork and a new title was sent."

ADOT says dealers can only issue "one temporary registration plate... It lasts 45 days."

In an email, ADOT says:

"A citation was issued to the dealer, however it is up to the court to decide what, if any, civil penalties will be imposed. As for specific issues with the delay would need to be addressed by the dealer. Again, we do appreciate you bringing this to our attention so it can be resolved for the customer."

While Kayle still doesn't know what took so long, she's happy to finally put this behind her.

"That is a huge weight off my shoulder," Kayle says.

We're hearing from more car buyers having title issues with different businesses.

We're looking into that, the law, and the penalties.

If you have a similar issue, email me: