TxTag fees adding up for Burnet man who sold car months ago

A growing pile of documents and hundreds of dollars owed is what Burnet resident Ronald Farrell was left with after selling a truck last summer.

"The last time I sold a vehicle was over 20 years ago, and back then I just signed the back of the title and got a bill of sale and that was it," said Farrell. "I left the license plates on the truck because I didn't know I was supposed to take them off, plus, the kid that bought the truck said he had to go to work the next day, so I figured he'd drive the truck and get the title transferred in a day or two." 

That was in July.

A couple of months or so later, there was a TxTag bill in Farrell’s mailbox. It was only a couple of dollars, and he paid it. Then, he got another bill and realized something was up. 

It appears the person who purchased the truck never officially transferred the title or obtained new plates and registration, which Farrell noted, has since expired.

"He has run up $846 worth of toll tags," said Farrell. "And I'm sure I'm fixing to get another bill."

Farrell acknowledges mistakes were made.

"It’s my fault I left the tags on there, but I should not be responsible for a vehicle that I haven't seen since last July," said Farrell.

He has spent months calling and writing letters to multiple police departments, TxTag, the CTRMA and the DMV. 

Meanwhile, the driver runs up the tab. 

"He's all over that Pflugerville area," said Farrell. "Why they can't stop him I don't know."

According to the Texas DMV, state law requires private sale vehicle buyers must title the car in 30 days or face financial penalties.

Sellers should also take initiative and file a vehicle transfer notification.

Farrell gave the buyer the benefit of the doubt and didn’t do that, until he started receiving bills. 

The DMV states there is a 30-day deadline to submit the vehicle transfer notification, but it also notes, "the department will still notate your record if submitted after the 30 days."

Farrell said he eventually filed the VTN, and it appears updated in the DMV system in a print-out he showed FOX 7.

However, he still hasn’t gotten anywhere with TxTag.

"It seems to me that they should be working with the police to get this guy," said Farrell. "They know where he goes."

Farrell did get a response letter from the CTRMA. The agency also asked for proof of a vehicle transfer notification. 

"So he's just running up and down the highway there, and I'm getting the bills, and I'm supposed to stop him," said Farrell.

The Pflugerville Police Department directed FOX 7 to TxTag.

A spokesperson for TxTag shared the following information:

"When transferring ownership of a vehicle, we encourage drivers to change their license plate in the TxDMV database and remove it from their TxTag account in order to avoid receiving toll bills for that license plate. TxTag can resolve toll transactions that have already been charged if the customer provides TxTag with proof that the vehicle was sold prior to the tolls being charged to their account. Please provide the customer contact information and a Customer Representative will contact him directly regarding his account.  

We also ask that customers remove and discard the TxTag sticker from the vehicle being sold and deactivate the tag by updating their account online or by calling the TxTag Customer Service Center. This ensures the account is not linked to a vehicle the customer no longer owns. Even though the customer’s vehicle has been sold, they are still liable for toll charges until the title is transferred to the new owner or until the customer submits a motor vehicle transfer notification. If the customer receives a toll statement for a vehicle they no longer own, they can file a Vehicle Transfer Notification Form (VTR-346) with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles AND contact the TxTag Customer Service Center at 1-888-468-9824 after receiving confirmation of the title transfer."   

FOX 7 reached out to CTRMA and did not hear back.

FOX 7 also reached out to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and will add to this article with any updates.

Here are some consumer protection tips for Texans who are selling a vehicle:

  • Vehicles are required to be titled in the buyer's name within 30 days from the date of sale. Failing to properly transfer a vehicle into the buyer's name could result in the seller being held responsible for tickets, toll violations or even crimes committed with the vehicle. To ensure this doesn't happen, sellers should accompany the buyer to the county tax office to ensure a vehicle title application is filed.
  • Provide the buyer with the following: A properly signed title, including the date of sale and odometer reading. Signed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U) with the sales price clearly shown.
  • A properly signed title, including the date of sale and odometer reading.
  • Signed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U) with the sales price clearly shown.
  • A seller should keep detailed written records of any transaction, including contact information for the buyer, the date of sale and information on the vehicle, including the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • The seller has the option to remove their license plates and registration sticker from the vehicle.
  • To protect themselves from liability, sellers should complete a Vehicle Transfer Notification within 30 days from the date of sale. Sellers may still submit it after 30 days from the date of sale, but it does not guarantee release from liability.
  • When a Vehicle Transfer Notification is received, TxDMV updates the motor vehicle record to show the vehicle as sold.

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