Local woman fights for a year to get title from Shawnee used car dealer for SUV

Problem Solvers

LANSING, Kan. – In Kansas, car dealers have up to 60 days to get you a title, but Hannah McDonald has been waiting more than a year.

When she called FOX4 Problem Solvers, she was stuck paying a loan on a car she can’t legally own and now doesn’t even run.

“I’m turning it over right now,” McDonald said as she tried turning the key in her 2007 Hummer. “It’s doing absolutely nothing.

And it gets even worse.

“The key won’t even come out of the ignition,” McDonald said. “It’s stuck. It won’t come out of park. It won’t do anything.”

McDonald is beyond frustrated. She paid about $13,000 for the Hummer in August 2019. To this day she’s never received a title. Instead, the owner of the used car lot who sold her the Hummer gave her two temporary tags, and once those expired, he gave her a dealer’s plate.

Car dealers can lose their license for selling cars without titles and handing out dealer plates to upset customers.

McDonald has asked about her title repeatedly over the last year. But every time she does, she said she hears a new excuse.

“He was sick,” McDonald said. “His wife was sick. His dog died. Someone else died. He’s just not been feeling well.”

Meanwhile, McDonald is stuck paying $500 a month for a bank loan and insurance.

“I’m over it,” a very frustrated McDonald said.

She at first tried to be understanding with the car lot owner since she’s a small business owner herself.

In June, she finally contacted an attorney who sent the car lot owner a letter demanding McDonald’s money back. Under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, selling a car with a title is fraud. But the owner ignored the letter, something that surprised even McDonald’s attorney Michael Riling.

“Dealers usually just say, ‘That’s it,’” and return the customer’s money, Riling said. “But this guy is a little unusual in the fact that’s he holding fast for whatever reason.”

So who is this car dealer? Todd Huffman of Auto Gallery in Shawnee. FOX4 Problem Solvers tried to pay him a visit.

Two people working at the car lot said he’s been out sick with COVID-19. We were told that’s the main reason Huffman has never gotten McDonald her title. But that excuse that makes no sense since McDonald bought the car seven months before the coronavirus even hit Kansas.

Shortly after leaving the car lot, Huffman called us. He acknowledged it was time to solve the problem. He promised he would pay off the $10,000 remaining on McDonald’s $13,000 bank loan that very day.

We checked. He did.

The problem is that McDonald is still out the $3,000 she’s already paid. Huffman insisted to us that he’s also out money, and if McDonald wants more from him, she’ll have to take him to court. McDonald’s attorney said there’s no question if that were to happen, Huffman would lose.

“He owes her the full amount of her money back,” Riling said.

It’s all part of Kansas law — something Huffman and Auto Gallery seem to ignore.

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