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With car repossessed, owner fights to get title back from company even after paying off debt

Tamika Pouncil never drives her car without first grabbing a whole lot of paperwork to prove -- when she gets pulled over by police -- that she owns the car and is desperately trying to get it registered.

“Now I have five tickets,” said Pouncil, a single working mother of two. “I'm in court in Olathe next month.”

Pouncil isn’t upset with police. She knows they are just doing their job. She’s upset with her car loan company.

Although she paid off her entire car loan in March, the loan company won’t give her title. That means she can’t get her tags renewed and is driving illegally.

Pouncil said she has no choice but to keep driving.

“I'm livid because I work in Kansas and I have a child that is disabled and another child that is in physical therapy due to a car accident,” she said.

“I explained to a judge what's going on,” she said. “It's not my fault.”

Pouncil’s problems started last February after her car was repossessed because she had fallen behind on her payments.

With the help of family and friends, Pouncil paid off the entire car note a few weeks later and got her car back. That was on March 21. But when FOX 4 Problem Solvers first met Pouncil in June, she still didn’t have her title back.

So who has her title? Santander. That’s the name of the loan company that repossessed her car and then put the title in its name. The title, however, should have been signed back over to Pouncil on March 21 – the day she got her car back. But it wasn’t.

“I can't get it resolved,” Pouncil said.  “I've done everything they've asked me to do.”

But every time she calls Santander to find out where her title is, Pouncil said she is told Santander is still missing paperwork that it needs faxed over.

“These are the fourth set of faxes,” she said as she waved a pile of documents.

To make matters worse, Pouncil said Santander customer service representatives often won’t return her phone calls. When we talked to her in June, more than a month had passed since she had actually gotten to speak to a Santander representative on the phone.

"He said, 'Ms. Pouncil, we are still missing your ID,'" Pouncil recalled. She told the customer service rep she had already faxed a copy multiple times, but would email it to him while they were talking.

“He confirms he has it,” Pouncil said. Then she said he promised her she would have her title in seven days. That never happened. That’s when she called FOX 4 Problem Solvers.

We called Santander, which promised to look into the problem, but told us it couldn’t share any information without violating Pouncil’s privacy. Pouncil emailed Santander, giving the company permission to share the details of her account with FOX 4. But Santander still refused.

We also suggested Pouncil file a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. That’s the federal regulatory agency that oversees many banks and loan companies, including Santander.

Two weeks later, Pouncil got her title.