Help Me Hank: Title Troubles
Dawn Szymczak never thought she'd be happy to be back driving her family's old blue station wagon, her kids need a lot of stuff.
"We have two boys, who have tons of equipment, baseball, karate."
And the old blue buggy just wasn't the wheels they wanted.
"It would have been nice to have something a little bigger."
So Dawn and her husband entered the land of shiny paint, new car smells, tempting prices and easy payments and soon spotted a keeper.
"It was brand new, 2004 power and everything."
They traded in the "blue mobile" and drove away in style. But there was one critical bit of paperwork missing -- the title.
"There was no paperwork, no title or anything on the car."
The car dealer told him, don’t worry, it’s on the way, but after seven days -- nothing.
"After having the car for a week, they tell me there's no certificate of origin or title on the car."
So now they can't register their purchase and can't legally drive it, but the dealer said they still had to pay for it.
"I just didn't think it was possible."
They called the manager, he didn't know where the title was. Then they called customer service…
"And I'm like, ‘but this is the customer service number and I'm a customer and I'm in need of service, so please help me, tell me what to do.’"
All they were told, "we're looking into it."
"They were mean, they were really mean to us."
Then Derek made a final request.
"I just want my old car back and that's it."
The dealer did have an answer for that.
"Well, we can't do that because we don't know where the old car is."
Dawn looked at public transportation, looked at getting rides from friends, walking and then she looked at the phone.
"I said, ‘lets just call Help Me Hank and see if there's anything they can do to help us.’"
So take a look at this, we found the state's car title rules are so specific, there is even a warning in red -- a missing title is a red light. What’s more, it says you must receive the title on the date of delivery.
We pointed that out to the dealer and suddenly the Szymczak's station wagon car reappeared. Turned out it was sporting this for sale sticker, which Derek instantly removed.
After that the new car went back and the blue car came home and now that old wagon is looking pretty attractive.
"I'm thanking the lord that we did get the old car back, because we would have been stuck."
The state publishes a very comprehensive pamphlet, listing your rights as a car buyer. For more information on what you need to know before buying a car, check out CarSmart, a consumer's guide to buying, leasing and repairing a car in Massachusetts.