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Man's fight to get car title from seller serves as warning to others

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Houston man thought he was getting a good deal on a used car, but a problem with the title has left him with no ride and still waiting for a refund.

The car was purchased more than a month ago but the new owner says the title never arrived so he returned the car and still has not gotten his money back.

When Joe McNeely saw a 2000 Saturn for sale on Craigslist, he called right away.

"I test drove the car. I liked the car. I gave them $1,600," he said.

McNeely says he paid cash for the car and was told the title would be given to him the next day.

"Came back the next day, I never received the title," McNeely said.

And then after waiting all weekend, McNeely says he still did not have the title.

"I went back on that following Monday, never gave me a title. So I just got fed up, till Friday, I took the car back," McNeely said.

After waiting two full weeks for the title, McNeely says he took the car back to A-1 Transmission, where he bought the car, and was told he would be given a refund.

"I took the car back three weeks ago. Still no title, no money," McNeely said.

Weeks later the refund was no where to be seen, so McNeely called us. The owner of A-1 Transmission says while the car was sold at the shop, the seller was actually the shop owner's brother. That brother told us he would refund the purchase price in 10 days, but did not. So instead, the owner of A-1 Transmission decided to step in and refund the money himself.

To keep this from happening to you, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles says when buying a used car get the title the moment you pay.

Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau agrees.

"Have the seller accompany you to the tax office when you're getting a title," Russo said. "That way, you can ensure the car is actually put in your name and you don't encounter issues like this."

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles says you should allow for 20 business days to process a title application. If you don't get it by then, you can call 888-368-4689 and 512-465-3000.

If a title issue does persist, the DMV is the place to file a complaint.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

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