Computer link helps protect used car buyers

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PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Transportation says their Motor Vehicle Division has come up with an easy way to help consumers fight back against scamming.

"We receive numerous requests for assistance or complaints from consumers who have purchased a vehicle and they're unable to transfer that vehicle into their name," says ADOT's Harold Sanders.

"This particular tool to do a Lien Motor Vehicle inquiry is very valuable for someone to do before they purchase a vehicle," added Sanders.

Sanders is talking about a new computer link on the agency's website that allows you to check the title to a car before you buy it.

Jason Martin wishes the link was around when he bought his Mazda, which was profiled in a 3 On Your Side report.
"I ran into a lot of different cars that I liked but this car, the Mazda, I really fell in love with," said Martin.

But you could say Martin fell out of love when he tried to register his new car at the MVD and discovered that the seller had taken the Mazda to a title loan company and used the car as collateral to get a $1,100 loan.

In order to register the car, Martin had to pay off the $1,100 lien. However, with this new link, Martin could have detected the lien before he purchased it.   

"If there is a problem it will come up with a warning that states either there is a financial lien or there is an unresolved other financial obligation," says Sanders.

To use the link, go to the agency's website and click on the "Lien Motor Vehicle Inquiry" tab. Punch in the VIN number and for just a $1.50 fee, you'll be able to detect if the vehicle you're buying has a financial lien, or it will give you a warning that indicates the vehicle is not eligible to be transferred.
This is a great resource if you're thinking of buying a used car, and quite frankly, it's way over due.

The bottom line here is that $1.50 could keep you from becoming a victim.

If you'd like to do a lien inquiry go to