Surety Solutions
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Crystal Ignatowski By Crystal Ignatowski • July 7, 2017

Take Control: How To File A Complaint Against A Car Dealer

car dealer complaint

 

You may want to file a complaint against a dealer for things like:

  • Dealer did not provide me with the title to my vehicle
  • Dealer did not provide me with other paperwork needed to register my vehicle
  • Dealer did not pay off lienholders
  • Dealer is selling faulty vehicles
  • Dealer went out of business before providing me with paperwork/other

If any of these things happened to you, you have the right to file a complaint against the dealer. It does not cost anything to file a complaint and most states allow you to file a complaint online.

 

Best Way To File a Complaint Against a Car Dealer

The best way to file a complaint and get a complaint resolved is to work directly with the dealership. In some cases, this might not be possible or you have tried, and it didn’t work.

If you tried complaining directly to the dealership, did you complain the right way? Yes, there is a right way.

 

 

What To Do If You Can't Get The Issue Resolved

If you’ve exhausted your options with the dealership directly, your next options are:

  • File a complaint with your DMV Business Regulation Section or Licensing Board
  • File a claim against the dealership’s surety bond – learn how to do this

 

Filing a Complaint with the DMV or Licensing Board

Filing a complaint with your DMV Business Regulation Section is arguably the best way, for your DMV Business Regulation Section will know about previous complaints against the dealership. The only problem is that not all states will have a department like this.

States that have a DMV Business Regulation Section/similar:

Filing a Claim Against the Dealership's Surety Bond

Every dealership should have a surety bond. A surety bond is a form of protection for you, the consumer. 

If a dealership has not fulfilled their end of the bargain, you are free to file a claim against their bond. 

Bond claims are harmful to dealerships, so filing one will generally get their attention fast.

Learn how to file a surety bond claim and what to expect. 

 

Where to File a Complaint 

If none of the above options are available to you, your State Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau are also great places to file complaints.

More recently, the Consume Financial Protection Bureau is also branching out. You can file a complaint with them here.

Where to file a consumer complaint in each state:

  • Alabama –file a complaint with the State of Alabama
  • Alaska – file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • Arizona – file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • Arkansas – file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Commission
  • California –file a complaint with the DMV
  • Colorado – file a complaint with the Department of Revenue
  • Connecticut –file a complaint with the DMV
  • Delaware –file a complaint with the Secretary of State
  • Florida –file a complaint with the Florida Dept. of Highway and Safety
  • Georgia –file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Unit
  • Hawaii –file a complaint with RICO
  • Idaho –file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • Illinois –file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • Indiana –file a complaint with the Attorney General or Secretary of State
  • Iowa –file a complaint with the Dept. of Transportation
  • Kansas –file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • Kentucky –file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Commission
  • Louisiana –file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Commission
  • Maine –file a complaint with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Investigations
  • Maryland –file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Administration
  • Massachusetts –file a complaint with the many departments
  • Michigan –file a complaint with the Secretary of State
  • Minnesota –file a complaint with the Secretary of State
  • Mississippi –file a complaint with the Secretary of State
  • Missouri –file a complaint with the Dept. of Revenue
  • Montana –file a complaint with the Dept. of Justice
  • Nebraska –file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Licensing Board
  • Nevada –file a complaint with the Dept. of Motor Vehicles
  • New Hampshire –file a complaint with the Dept. of Justice
  • New Jersey –file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs
  • New Mexico –file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • New York –file a complaint with the DMV Regulated Auto Business
  • North Carolina –file a complaint with the License & Theft Bureau
  • North Dakota –file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • Ohio –file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • Oklahoma –file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Commission
  • Oregon –file a complaint with the DMV Business Regulation Section
  • Pennsylvania –file a complaint with the State Board of Vehicle Dealers
  • Rhode Island –file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • South Carolina –file a complaint with the Attorney General
  • South Dakota –file a complaint with the Motor Vehicles Division
  • Tennessee –file a complaint with the Dept. of Commerce & Insurance
  • Texas –file a complaint with the DMV
  • Utah –file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division
  • Vermont –file a complaint with the Secretary of State
  • Virginia –file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board
  • Washington –file a complaint with the  Attorney General
  • West Virginia –file a complaint with the Dept. of Transportation
  • Wisconsin –file a complaint with the Dept. of Transportation
  • Wyoming –file a complaint with the Department of Transportation

 

It’s important to note that filing a claim does not necessarily mean it will be investigated. While all claims should be investigated, it should not be an end-all to getting your issue resolved.

If the issue escalades and your complaint does not get addressed, your final option would be to sue the dealer in small claims court.

 

Related links:

Sample Complaint Letter to a Car Dealer

5 Reasons to Sue a Car Dealer