MARYVILLE (WATE) – A teenager in Maryville has learned a difficult lesson about a business transaction gone bad. She can’t drive her car because the used car dealer never transferred the title to her family’s loan company and now the dealer is out of business and is talking to no one.
She left with temporary tags that have now expired. Drive-out tags are those temporary tags a dealer puts on your car and are good for 30 days. Under the law, you can’t drive a vehicle for more than 60 days with a temporary plate.
Those two months are supposed to give the dealer time to register the vehicle and get the title to either the vehicle owner or loan company. When that doesn’t happen, the Motor Vehicle Commission can intervene.
Bronte Taylor, 16, longed for the time when she can drive her car. Her dad brought her a sharp looking Volkswagen six months as a birthday gift, but she hasn’t driven it recently. The car was purchased at Kingston Pike Motors in November, but the second temporary tag however has long expired.
“All my friends are driving. I got so excited. I’m 16 and now it’s warm weather. I can’t even drive with my top down,” she said.
Storm Taylor filled out the proper paperwork when he bought the car on November 5, expecting a tag from Kingston Pike Motors within 30 days.
Under state law, only two drive-out tags are allowed to be issued by the dealer.
“We had the temporary tag. Thirty days later, went back to renew it, got another temporary tag. Thirty days later went back and it’s vacant,” said Bronte’s father Storm Taylor.
Taylor said he found no information left behind at the dealership.
“So we started looking around and calling the owner, Mr. David Pinkerton, sent letters, nothing. Checked with the state, haven’t had a reply yet. That’s been over three weeks almost a month,” said Taylor.
Under Motor Vehicle Commission rules, if a dealer fails to deliver a title to a customer, claims against the dealer’s $50,000 surety bond may be made, but the customer has to contact the bonding company to submit the claim.
Storm Taylor has taken some of these steps.
“This has been going on three months now. Just recently have we had any solid direction and still haven’t had a solid answer or reply from the state,” he said, adding that the whole process has been frustrating.
A new dealer is now selling used cars on the site where Storm Taylor bought his daughter’s Volkswagen. We asked a salesman about the former owner of Kingston Pike Motors. Ben Tallent said he doesn’t know Pinkerton personally, but says former customers have come by looking for him.
“I’ve had people who haven’t gotten tags, haven’t gotten titles,” said Tallent.
WATE 6 On Your Side went looking for Pinkerton a week ago, but he wasn’t at his home. After talking with his wife, we left our information. Pinkerton never got back to us, but we did get a lead that got results.
A week ago, we also talked with Darrell Stinnett, a car salesman who knows Pinkerton. Stinnett believed he may be able to help Storm Taylor in getting access to the title for his daughter. Stinnett delivered on that promise.
Monday, he signed Bronte’s title over to her dad. Stinnett received it on Friday from a former associate of Pinkerton’s.
“The car business doesn’t need this. The customers are always the ones getting the short end of the stick,” said Stinnett.
“We do have the title in hand. It seems like we have a resolution,” said Storm Taylor.
That’s good news for Bronte Taylor. She was once caught in the middle and unable to enjoy her car, but all that is changing.
“Her summer will be complete. She’s been wanting to put the top down and cruise on these nice days,” said Storm Taylor.
We don’t know how many other customers are without their titles from Kingston Pike Motors, but the state says the Motor Vehicle Commission is aware of the problems regarding the former dealership.