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Jesse’s Story of the Day

Jesse investigates licensing issues at Lakewood auto dealership

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A Seattle man paid for his car in full, but the dealer wouldn’t give him his title or license plates.

Damon Foreman paid nearly $5,000 for his 2004 Mercedes E-500 from Arasi Auto Sales in Lakewood in late February.  For months, the dealer would not give him the title.

“After 45 days I still never got any license plate,” Foreman explained.  “And I was calling them back and forth to see what happened to my license plate and they kept giving me excuses.”

Foreman said he had to drive down to the dealership three times to get new temporary permits.

After nearly four months, Damon’s mother, Marko, called me for help.

“He bought a car in good faith and it’s just the idea that the man keeps telling him to come back out there and get a new tag like he’s going to go ahead and make it right, and he hasn’t done that,” Marko said.

I went to the dealership to get answers.  Employee Sam Sharif called his boss to get them.

“I’ve been contacting the DMV, but {my boss} sent it two days after the guy bought the car,” Sharif explained.

Christine Anthony from the Department of Licensing told a different tale.  She said the dealer didn’t even have the title when he sold the car.

“Dealers are supposed to have the title in their possession when they sell a vehicle,” Anthony explained.

In fact, Anthony says the dealership didn’t apply for the title until May.  It was issued in June to the dealer in June, but Foreman still doesn’t have it.

Foreman said he also didn’t know that the Department of Licensing declared the Mercedes a total loss.

“The dealer is obligated to tell the consumer if the title is branded as rebuilt,” Anthony said.  “That will be something we look at in the investigation.”

Department of Licensing records show it has issued 12 notices of correction against Arasi Auto Sales in the past three years.  Foreman’s case is being moved forward for administrative action where fines could be issued.

“It can get very severe for the dealer,” Anthony said.

Not too long after our interview with the state, Foreman got his license plates and his registration.

“I’m so happy,” Foreman said.

The state told Foreman he will get his title in two weeks.

How do you prevent this?  Get a Carfax or another vehicle history report called NMVTIS, or National Motor Vehicle Title information System.   Those reports would have shown some of the problems.

If you’ve experienced a similar problem, click here to file a complaint through the Department of Licensing.

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