The Brazil City Police Department is experiencing problems with a local independent car dealership.
"We've been receiving complaints from people about not receiving the titles for cars purchased from West End Auto for about five months now," Captain Terry Harrison told The Brazil Times. "We received another one (Wednesday)."
That brings the total of complaints on file at the BCPD to five, but Harrison said he believes there are more.
"A few people have filed complaints straight with the Clay County Prosecutor's Office or other departments, like the Attorney General's Office, and some people are probably still out there who haven't filed a complaint yet," Harrison said. "They just don't know what to do."
Harrison explained the State of Indiana requires a car dealer to present a vehicle title within 31 days of the purchase date to the new owner. However, West End Auto has allegedly not provided the titles for some cars purchased from the dealership.
"Most dealers give the new owner a title within a few days," he said. "We have one complaint where the new owner has been waiting more than 10 months for their title."
Although specific details are limited due to the ongoing investigation, Harrison the BCPD is working with the Indiana Attorney General's Office, the Secretary of State and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to not only compile case information, but to also help the people involved.
"People need to report these incidents to the department so we can help them," Harrison said.
Although a person can drive a vehicle with a "dealer plate" on it for the amount of time issued to the new owner for them to file for vehicle registration, Harrison said after that date the driver of the vehicle is driving illegally.
"They don't have a title to file for the registration, and if they keep driving and get caught, the potential fines and fees mount up," he said. "If you can't drive your car, it's worth paying the legal fees to get a brand new title issued by the court so you can. We can help people get the information they need to file paperwork for a court ordered title."
To file a complaint, Harrison said people should bring in all the paperwork available about the car, its purchase and the financial records proving the purchase.
"When purchasing a car, people need to ask to see the title before buying from the dealer," Harrison said. "It's also a good idea to do your homework and check out any car dealer for complaints before buying a car."
No charges have been filed at this time regarding the complaints against West End Auto.
The Brazil Times was unable to locate the owner of West End Auto for comment before press time.
To register a complaint or file a report about any crime, contact the Brazil City Police Department at 446-2211.