You’ve worked hard. You made your payments, and finally, the vehicle is YOURS! Right?
So after your hard work and dedication, after you’ve made every payment that was due, you expect a free & clear certificate of title to your vehicle. After all, that is what the contract entitles you to, right? So you wait and check the mail every day, but weeks go by and nothing comes. What do you do?
Believe it or not, this actually happens sometimes. Particularly with poorly run buy-here-pay-here car dealerships. Sometimes, the dealer may just be lazy, and if so, you can probably resolve the issue with a quick phone call.
If a phone call doesn’t get you the title within a week, you need to write a letter. A title demand letter. You can see a copy of one HERE: Title Demand after payoff.doc (It is an MS Word Document that you can adapt to your own use).
In Alabama, they have 10 days after they receive this letter to send you your title. Be sure to send it to the right address. As you make your payments, you need to be sure to have their current address at all times. Sometimes they move away from the business location where you bought the car, so you need to keep up with their whereabouts.
If they don’t give you the title in 10 days, then you may need to take them to court to compel them to release the title. Very often, a refusal to deliver a title after full payment is a sign that they defrauded you by selling a vehicle they didn’t even own. If this happens, you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.