Junk title on couple's car turns up years later

  • Article by: LORA PABST , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2010 - 11:03 PM

Don Ingman didn't think he and his wife had been driving around a piece of junk until a Carfax report told him so.

Don Ingman didn't think he and his wife had been driving around a piece of junk until a Carfax report told him so.

His 2002 Dodge Stratus was mostly a grocery-getter and the Osseo couple had only driven about 25,000 miles since they bought it. This summer, a car dealership delivered the bad news when he tried to trade it in -- the Stratus had a junk title, meaning it shouldn't be driven because of a major wreck, flood damage or other serious problem.

"If I would have known that, I would never have bought it," Ingman said.

A Carfax vehicle history report uncovered the Stratus' supposed black mark. Massachusetts had issued a junk title for the car in 2002, just five days after it was first put into service as a rental vehicle. The Carfax report warned that it could be a case of title washing, where someone fraudulently wipes a junk brand off a title to secure a clean title.

Ingman called Whistleblower, because his car was now next to worthless and he couldn't figure out why. Vicki Albu, a director for the state's Driver and Vehicle Services division, tracked down a copy of the Massachusetts title that had been submitted to Minnesota, but it didn't show that the car had ever been junked. So Albu contacted the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Last week, the Massachusetts agency confirmed that an error had been made and Ingman's car had never been a junk vehicle. The incorrect paperwork had been submitted to Carfax.

Chris Basso, a spokesman for Carfax, said if a vehicle owner suspects there is an error on a report, the person can submit a data correction request to Carfax on its website, www.carfax.com. After Whistleblower's inquiry, he said Carfax will correct the report on Ingman's car.

Ingman said he's just happy that he can sell the car with a clear conscience.

State leaders to discuss fraud

Even if you've received every scam e-mail, fax and letter out there, there's always a new one popping up. The Fraud Fighters Forum, organized by AARP Minnesota and the Better Business Bureau, is bringing key state leaders to Mankato Dec. 8 to talk about how to protect yourself from scammers.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, as well as Postal Service and law enforcement officials, will talk about financial schemes, investment fraud, health care fraud and identity theft.

Attendees will also be encouraged to share the information with friends and neighbors. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., a shredding truck will be available for registered attendees to shred one box of paperwork. The free forum will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. at the Best Western at 1111 Range St. in Mankato. Registration is required. To register, call 1-877-926-8300 or visit www.startribune.com/a52.

 

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