State Pays Man Back After Mechanic Uses False Documents To Sell Car
Francis Kallon still has the title for the 2001 Toyota Avalon that he bought from a police auction, but he doesn't have the car.
"I'm sitting here with nothing. So it's a sad story,” said Kallon.
Kallon admits there was a dispute with a mechanic over the cost of some repairs.
After months of arguments, Kallon went to retrieve his car. It was gone, and so was the mechanic.
"He just disappeared from the place,” added Kallon.
Kallon contacted the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to track down the car.
"And the lady told me, the car is no longer in your name. It's in someone else's name. I said, well how did that happen?"
Turns out the mechanic sold the car by providing a false bill of sale that made it look like the car had come from a used car dealer.
The new buyer took the paperwork to the Ohio Attorney General, where a complaint specialist, who believed it to be accurate, sent a letter to the BMV ordering the agency to issue a new title to the new buyer.
Kallon says that the state of Ohio, basically, helped in the theft.
“Yeah, instead of them protecting me, they helped somebody actually falsifying documents to acquire my vehicle, and they did that successfully."
Sandy Lynskey heads the Ohio Attorney General's Consumer Protection section - which processes 30,000 complaints a year. She says the number one complaint the office receives is about titles.
She says that's because used car dealers often flip cars so quickly, the titles don't keep up with the cars. Sometimes, the Ohio Attorney General has to step in and order a title transfer, which is what the complaint specialist did in this case.
"However the process she went through was not in compliance with our current policies and procedures. She stepped outside of her authority in requesting the Bureau of Motor Vehicles transfer that title to the consumer,” explained Lynskey.
Lynskey says the employee should have taken the complaint up the chain.
"When this came to our attention, we immediately took action. That employee is no longer with the office. And, we have tightened our process as to the letter of authorization that goes to the bureau of motor vehicles,” added Lynskey.
In addition, the AG will reimburse Kallon the $1,200 he paid for the car.
But he's still out more than $800 paid to the mechanic, who can't be found.
"He took my money, took my car and used the same system that was supposed to protect me to sell my car,” said Kallon.