Consumer Protection: Tips to buying cars

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The Consumer Protection Division of the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office is providing tips to buying a car, after a recent uptick in complaints.

Since the beginning of the year, the division has received 44 complaints regarding used car dealership failing to deliver titles for vehicles within 60 days, as required by law. 

According to K.S.A. 8-126, when the title is not provided during that time period, the sale is "fraudulent and void" and the buyer is entitled to a complete refund.

"Unfortunately, we've seen a substantial uptick in dealerships, particularly in the used car market, selling cars and then not providing title," said Avery Elofsson, senior assistant district attorney. 

The total number of title complaints was 40 and 35, in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

No titling a vehicle can have negative consequences for both the buyer and seller. For example, the driver may be ticketed, the car impounded, fines and penalties imposed, and potentially criminal charges.

"We can't undo what's been done, but we can try to prevent the issue from happening tomorrow," Elofsson said.

He offered three tips to buy a car:

  1. Be safe: Research the safety recalls on
  2. Be legal: Ask to see the title of the vehicle or have them write down who has it
  3. Be aware: Research the dealer and the vehicle

"In Kansas, dealerships cannot a sell a car as is," said Elofsson. "Business is the professional. They're the ones who have the expertise. They're the ones who have the know-how, so a lot of that responsibility is going to fall on the dealership."

Elofsson advised those who buy cars to have proof of the bill of sale, window sticker, and vehicle title.

The Better Business Bureau also has tips for consumers on their website, here.

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