Woman Hit With Traffic Ticket For Car She’d Sold To CarMax Months Earlier

When you sell your car to a used-car operation like CarMax, you’d assume that anything that occurs with that vehicle after that point is not your problem. But a California woman says she was charged with running through a tollbooth in car she’d handed off to CarMax months earlier.

The woman tells CBS Sacramento’s Kurtis Ming she received the ticket several months after selling her vehicle to the used-car chain. She provided proof of sale and release of liability to Fastrak, the operators of the electronic toll service, and the DMV.

She thought the matter was handled, until she then received a letter from the the State Franchise Tax Board saying that it would be taking money out of her tax refund to pay for the ticket and late fees.

After Ming got involved, Fastrak explained that when the woman alerted them that the car had been sold, it transferred the ticket to CarMax. Problem is, CarMax then challenged the ticket, claiming that while it had purchased the car from the woman, CarMax was not the registered owner.

In California, CarMax and other dealers don’t need to register a purchased vehicle in the company name. So even with her release of liability, the DMV considered the former owner to the registered owner of the ticketed vehicle.

“If [CarMax] don’t own it, who does?” asks one attorney who says the former owner can not be held liable for the ticket. “There’s no way [she] can be responsible for a car she does not legally own.”

For its part, CarMax tells CBS Sacramento that it claims to have never communicated with Fastrak about this particular case.

After the media got involved, Fastrak admitted that it was a mistake to transfer the ticket back to the former owner. The company apologized and provided the woman with a refund check.