Contact 2: Trade-in troubles

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O’FALLON, MO (KTVI) - That used car you traded in could potentially come back to haunt you. An O’Fallon woman says a year has passed since she traded in her car for a newer vehicle. So you can imagine her surprise when she received a court summons this past month for tickets tied to the car.

Rachel Payne traded in a 2013 Chevy Malibu in January 2014. It was out with the old and in with the new, until she received a summons to appear in court in Vinita Park. Rachel says she’s never seen a ticket.

“The car was parked in an apartment complex in Vinita Park, and there was a parking ticket issued, and I received a Failure to Register and a Temporary Tag violation,” Payne said.

Rachel says she's never been to Vinita Park, so why did she get the summons? After all, her Malibu was purchased two days after she traded it in.

When you sell a car to a dealership, they file a notice of sale. The registration stays with the previous owner, until the new owner registers the car.

So the new owner had been driving an unregistered car with invalid plates. Rachel called Fox 2 after taking the document to Vinita Park. It clearly says she traded in the Malibu. But she was still expected to show up for court.

Fox 2 spoke with the prosecutor, who promised to look into it. Rachel also called the Missouri Department of Revenue and an investigator contacted Vinita Park the day before her scheduled court appearance.

Fortunately the case was dropped. But Rachel believes there could be other cases out there similar to hers.

“Anywhere that car is, I could receive a ticket, or if it’s involved in some sort of criminal activity and left abandoned, the VIN number still traces back to me,” she said. “And I could still be liable for whatever happens to the car.”

Unless changes come out of Jefferson City, the consumer will likely continue to face similar issues described in this story. So be sure you keep all paperwork associated with the trade in and make sure the dealer files a notice of sale with the Missouri Department of Revenue.

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