A former used car dealership is accused of selling cars to people and not giving them the titles.
Austin Police say 30 complaints have been made against that car dealer so far, but they believe there could be more than 200 victims.
Discount Auto Sales is no longer in business. Police say the dealer is not cooperating with them. His license has been sanctioned until police can figure out what happened.
When you buy a car, it's yours. That's how it's supposed to be. Austin Police are investigating Discount Auto Sales which had two locations off of Airport Boulevard in East Austin.
"Potentially there may be more than 200 titles that were not properly transferred by this dealer," says Officer Ivan Ramos, Austin Police Department.
Discount Auto Sales is no longer in business. According to Texas law, car dealers are required to file a buyer's title paperwork with the county within 20 business days of the sale date. Police say that was not happening.
Bonilla's Auto Sales sits across the street and employees were shocked to hear what was going on.
"Well I think the people, they don't know how to run the business. Everybody knows it's wrong," says Jorge Aguilar, salesman, Bonilla's Auto Sales.
If you purchased a used vehicle from Discount Auto Sales between January 2014 and April 2016 and never received a title, police ask that you contact them. In other words, right now those customers are not able to drive their car because they aren't legally the owner.
We searched the business on the Yellow Pages and here's what some of the reviews said:
They will not give you your car title. Don't buy from this dealer they take your money and run.
My bf can't even drive his car since the temp title expired so his money was wasted.
The last review was posted more than two months ago. Moving forward, APD has a tip for car shoppers.
"If you're going to purchase a vehicle, make sure you do that by money orders or cashiers check," says Ramos.
Paying in cash means there is no paper trail. Police ask that you also make sure the dealer is properly licensed and do a title check. Before affected customers can drive their vehicle legally - they must get a bonded title or try to get the title from the dealer.
Affected consumers should complete a Motor Vehicle Dealer Complaint form, available online at www.txdmv.gov/dealercomplaint or by calling TxDMV at 1-888-368-4689.
Make Sure the Dealer is Properly Licensed: Texas auto dealers are required to be licensed by the state. Before purchasing, you can search TxDMV's license database to see if the dealer has a license: www.txdmv.gov/dealerlist.
Do a Title Check: With the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and for a small fee, you can obtain a vehicle's title history to find out if it is salvaged, rebuilt or was damaged in a flood. A Title Check cross references the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, a national consumer protection database that provides title information from states across the country. Title Check is available at www.txdmv.gov/titlecheck.
According to police, a local dealership has improperly processed more than 200 vehicle title transfers.
The Austin Police Department and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles are asking customers who purchased used cars from Discount Auto Sales, between January 2014 and April 2016 as well as customers who paid cash during that time to come forward.
According to police, state law requires dealers to file title paperwork with the county within 20 business days of the sale.
Police said customers who have been affected in the case should go here and fill out a complaint form or call the DMV at 1-888-368-4689.
The DMV is also reminding potential car buyers of two key steps to protect themselves by:
1. Make Sure the Dealer is Properly License. Before purchasing, you can search the DMV’s license database to see if the dealer has a license: www.txdmv.gov/dealerlist.
2. Do a Title Check with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Title Check is available at www.txdmv.gov/titlecheck.