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Car paid off, but he never gets title

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Updated: July 29, 2012 9:12PM

Dear Fixer: I’m hoping you can help me. In 2007, I bought my daughter a new Chevy Cobalt. The car was financed through US Bank.

I paid the loan off on April 19. The bank told me I would get my lien release and title within 60 days.

I never got the title, so I called US Bank’s main number. That was in June. They told me they would send me a copy of the title and I should receive it within 14 days.

In the meantime, I did receive the lien release letter, but no title. After a month of talking to my local branch, I was told US Bank had sent out the title and I needed to go to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and pay $95 to get a duplicate.

All I know is if I do not receive a utility bill because of the mail, it is still my responsibility to pay the bill. Is it not US Bank’s responsibility to send me a copy of the car title?

John Grano, Addison

Dear John:

The Fixer was about to strap on the ol’ anti-gravity suit to climb into the black hole your title had fallen into, but happily, there was no need. US Bank came up with a much easier fix. Spokeswoman Lisa Clark told us that while it is true that they mailed the title on April 25, they wanted to get this resolved for you. They have sent you another lien release and a check for $95 made out to the Illinois Secretary of State, so all you have to do is go get that duplicate title.

A consumer’s tale of woe

You know the cliche, “It is what it is”?

Well, when a used car is “as-is,” it really is what it is.

Cassandra of Lansing got ripped off on a used car purchase when she bought an “as-is” vehicle.

It happened last winter, when Cassandra bought a used 1995 Buick.

“I’m a single mom. I asked the salesman if was there anything wrong with the car and I was told nothing was wrong, that they service all their cars. So I trusted these people,” Cassandra wrote The Fixer.

“Two weeks later, the transmission was going out.”

And unfortunately, since the car had been marked “as-is,” Cassandra had no recourse.

The people at the dealership fixed the car — but they added the cost of the repairs to Cassandra’s loan.

Unfortunately, “as-is” is what it is.

Under the Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule, vehicles that are labeled “as-is” are sold without any warranty protection.

Another lesson from Cassandra’s expensive mistake is to never, ever, ever take a salesperson’s word about the condition of a used car. Always have an independent mechanic look it over, inside and out.

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