INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Attorney General's Office issued a warning Friday after two major judgments against used car dealers in Muncie and Fort Wayne.
Judges ordered Shaver Motors, of Fort Wayne, and Capitol Motors, of Muncie, to pay back restitution to hundreds of customers who said they were not given titles or warranties to the cars they bought.
In the Muncie case, court paperwork laid out 185 customers who are owed $300 or more. You can view that paperwork here: State of Indiana v. Capitol Motors- Default Judgment.
Jeremy Brilliant, Director of Communications for the Attorney General's Office, said that it's important to ask tough questions when you buy a used car, and demand detailed paperwork.
"People need to rely on their gut instinct," Brilliant said. "If something seems wrong, ask a lot of questions, and ask other people who have had experiences at the same location to see what their experience was."
FOX59 hears from a lot of consumers about used car buying problems. One of them, Kari Walker, said that the car she and her husband bought their son for his 16th birthday is sitting in their driveway six months later because of a dispute over the title.
"It's been terrible," Walker said. "It was the perfect time to get him the car, but he can't drive it."
Walker said that the dealer claimed they delivered the title via FedEx, but the envelope she received did not include it. She learned the hard way that there was no way to prove she didn't receive it, so she'll have to go to court to get an order for a re-issued title.
She said that the lessons she's learned could cause another Hoosier to think twice and avoid the same issue.
"We would demand that we go into the dealership and sign off on the title in front of them," Walker said.
FOX59 also spoke to one of the people listed in the Capitol Motors judgment, who said she had also been unable to drive the car she bought due to a title issue.
"It's been a horrible experience, I don't wish it on anybody," she said.
The Attorney General's Office offered additional tips, saying used car buyers should ask to see the title or a copy of it up front, make sure they get a Dealer Title Affidavit, and, if purchasing a warranty, ask for a warranty contract and a date when the dealer will forward payment to the a third-party provider.
If you have a problem with a used car dealer, you can file complaints with the Attorney General and Secretary of State.