When Patrick Dunn’s auto dealership in New Jersey went out of business a few months ago, something weird happened to “40 or 50” customers who had bought cars from him, writes Bob Braun at NJ.com. The company Dunn had taken out business loans with, Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC), went to Arkansas and asked for reposession of the cars in New Jersey. The Arkansas department of motor vehicles assumed AFC meant for unsold cars on the lot, so they granted the request—and now AFC says it owns titles to cars that people are already driving and paying for.
Duren says there is nothing he can do, even though his agency’s actions blocked the rightful claims of New Jersey owners. He can’t declare the titles invalid despite his belief AFC had physical possession of the cars when it filed those affidavits.
“I’d need a court order for that,” he says.
Funny, that’s what Ed Alvarado of South Plainfield was told, too. He bought a car from Galaxy that was financed by AFC and, like others, he got a loan from PNC.
“I was told by PNC I should get a court order and get title from AFC,” he says.
As for New Jersey’s motor vehicle department, they say they are equally helpless:
“We can feel personally outraged, but there is nothing we can do,” says Sandy Grossman, a representative of the state Motor Vehicle Commission. “It’s probably a criminal matter, and we don’t have law enforcement authority.”
“N.J. leaves car buyers stranded in title dispute” [NJ.com] (Thanks to Sean!)