Woman surrenders vehicle after failing to receive title

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. - For Cassandra Cameron, the thrill of buying a BMW SUV has turned into a nightmare that continues months after making the purchase.

"I'm so stressed about the whole thing, it's not even funny," Cameron said.  

In November, Call for Action first reported on what happened to the Harrisonville woman. She paid TSM Enterprises at 85th and Troost in Kansas City $14,500 for the used SUV. But the dealership owner never gave her the title before going out of business. Without the title, she cannot legally drive it.

Cameron hired an attorney and won a judgment against the dealership's bond company, but has not been able to collect the money. Still on the hook for the loan, Cameron decided to hand over the vehicle to her bank last Friday.

"We offered them a deal and we haven't heard anything from them. We gave them the vehicle on Friday. It's definitely not a fun place to be," Cameron said.   

Monday, the Missouri Attorney General's office filed suit against several Missouri dealerships and a lending company for selling cars to consumers but not giving them the title. Under Missouri law, dealerships are supposed to hand over title to consumers at the time of purchase.

Sometimes when a consumer buys a car, the dealership pays its lender for the vehicle, which holds onto the title.  The dealership may take days to pay off the loan, get the title and send it to the new buyer.

In the Cameron’s case, the dealership's lender still has title to her car.

“If you take possession of a vehicle and you don’t have a title, you are at risk of being on the hook for a loan for a car that you'll never own," T.R. Hoefle said, attorney for the Camerons. 

What should you do if the dealer wants you to wait a few days to get you the title of the car you purchase?  The Missouri Independent Auto Dealers Association said consumers should ask to put down a deposit on the vehicle then finish buying it once the dealer has title in their hands.

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