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Title but no Financing?

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Michigan

Lemon Law?
My sister-in-law bought a 2000-something (2002 or 04?) Jeep Grand Cherokee from O'Connor's Auto Outlet at 3733 Wilder Rd, Bay City, Michigan around November 25th, not quite 2 weeks ago, and since then they have almost every glitch and problem with the vehicle possible other than simply quitting and dumping it's guts out on the road. Its had engine noises, oil and lube leaks, gears rattling and grinding, power flickers and fades, power windows jamming...

They have been asking about repairs, but have been getting the run-around, and apparently O'Connor's had much of their mechanical work sub-contracted through some guy's own garage business...sounds shady; like Maybe some research should have been done prior to jumping onto a 'great deal'. (a Great deal of trouble) .

So, what is the real deal with the Lemon Law? Does it apply to Used Cars? Certified Used Cars? New Cars? Only Accredited Dealers?

Some people say "Possession is 9/10 of the Law."

Also, there is confusion with their 'Ownership', too.
When they were getting the 'shuck n jive' at the Auto Dealer (or should I say, Snake Oil salesman?), apparently many things were missed.

Their 'Gap Insurance' was offered but forgotten and not applied, their license plate was initially forgotten at the dealer's office until later, and the dealer signed the Title over to my sister-in-law without verifying that she actually truly had financing- thus literally 'giving away' the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
I guess O'Connor's talked with the bank (Email or Phone?) and they understood that they approved her for the Jeep. But now, nearly 2 weeks later, there is Confusion between her bank and O'Connor's because her bank did not actually agree to finance the Jeep....SO- the Jeep and the Title have been in her possession since then...at the error of the dealer...

...Now,... on the Playground and in the Bar and at Garage Sales and lesser circumstances, this would be a simple case of "Sorry about your luck, this is My property now." But, in this kind of situation, how does that work?
It's not technically a stolen vehicle, right? They didn't walk in or break-in and take keys and steal a car- Because the title was signed over under free-will and otherwise good conscience? ...no forced hands. Even though there many have been false pretenses, it was not due to any fabrication or lies from the customer. It was apparently the Dealer who made the arrangements for financing and never made the confirmation of actual financing, then signed the title over...

What should they do?

Do they have a legal obligation to return to the dealer and work it out? Should they look for legal counsel? ...or is returning or not returning merely a matter of ethical choice on their part? Either way, there are extensive repairs and over-due critical maintenance that needs to be done on the Jeep Grand Cherokee to assure that it is safe and reliable for five or six 30-mile round-trip drives for her job each week from Beaver Township in Kawkawlin to MidMichigan Medical Center in Midland.

Just get back to me when you can... I want to make sure that they know what to look out for or what they could be getting into depending on what they think they want to do... Thanks!What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?


Senior Member
Reply when you get the REAL facts. Almost everything you posted are guesses and maybe's.

Google 'Michigan Lemon Law' for your answers.


Junior Member
I'm just the middle guy here. My sister-in-law does not have Internet, so I am doing research for her.
Those are the facts as they were presented to me.

It is a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

An update that received this Morning is:
O'Connor's corresponded/communicated with the bank, but just this week the bank contacted my sister-in-law and stated that they were not able to approve the financing because O'Connor's didn't provide them with enough of the correct information.

She and her fiance' looked at the Jeep on the prior Friday, discussed possible purchase on a Monday, and then "completed" the purchase (per say) on Tuesday the 25th of November.

To summarize, the dealer never provided enough information to the bank, thus never receiving a confirmed approval, and proceeded to sign-over the title as well as the vehicle to my sister-in-law.

Now, she is in possession of the Jeep and the Title, but the bank is asking for information because the dealer never gained approval for her- but released the vehicle to her anyway. At this point, the dealer (prior owner) has not contacted her- only the bank (who does not own it at this point either- since no lien is written on the title)....

What she is looking for is Not whether she has any moral or ethical responsibility to return to the dealer and bank to correct their errors- but does she have a Legal responsibility to do so.
Like I had mentioned, in lesser circumstances at small garage sales and personal transactions, most people say that "Possession is 9/10 of the Law"....but this is different.
The vehicle is clearly unsound in mechanics or function; it is, from reading your description, a genetically-enhanced super-lemon.

My first question to you is: Why would they want to keep the vehicle in the first place?

You never mentioned any initial down-payment having been made on the vehicle, and since the bank couldn't approve the financing, it seems there were no losses on the part of the consumer.

What she is looking for is Not whether she has any moral or ethical responsibility to return to the dealer and bank to correct their errors- but does she have a
Legal responsibility to do so.
I would say her obligation to return the vehicle falls within the realm of common-sense.

And lets not forget our moral and ethical responsibilities.

The party is in possession of a vehicle that they didn't pay for. Despite its poor condition, the party questions whether or not they should keep the vehicle, reason being presumably for a possible (undeserved) financial gain, since stated vehicle condition doesn't warrant any other foreseeable benefits.

And perhaps the reasoning behind this is that the dealer should in some way pay for his possibly misleading the consumer into buying what ultimately turned out to be a lemon? I'm only speculating, of course.

Also, in your state, a title transfer isn't complete until the following steps are completed:

1. Obtaining the title from the seller [Notice that this is only the first step].
2. Making sure the seller has correctly included the appropriate information, such as the odometer reading, sales price, and your name.
3. Verifying that the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the title and the vehicle match.
4. Confirming that the seller signed and dated the title.
5. Checking that there aren't any outstanding liens on the vehicle.
6. Signing and dating the title.
7. Going to an SOS branch office to complete the transaction.
8. Paying the 6% use tax.
9. Paying the $15 title transfer fee.

Simply having the title document doesn't constitute ownership.


Junior Member
Thank you for your reply.

I will have them look into this further.

After discussing this with others, conversations have led us to imagine that perhaps my sister-in-law actually had been Financed by the dealer and was not aware of it.

I admit, there seems to be something that I am not being told, but considering that the bank was not financing the Jeep, it is nearly 100% unlikely that a dealer was so completely absentminded that they just let a their merchandise walk away without blinking.

I think, what may have happened, she was being hurried by the seller as well as by her fiance', and probably didn't pay close attention to what she was signing. She very likely signed 'something' and did not pay close mind to it- much the same way that neither of them bothered to closely scrutinize and eyeball the entire vehicle prior to purchase.
I always test-drive a vehicle for no less than 5 miles around corners, at high speeds, low speeds, reverse, etc...Some people settle for assumptions and an attitude of "I guess this is as good as I can find..."

If was, in my speculation, a situation of: "I want a Jeep. Period. Oh look, there's one...." and that was that. Again, that was just a possibility. Who knows.
She probably got caught-up in the heat of the idea and went with the whole deal instead of watching for blunders and scams.

They haven't got two Nickles to rub together, so I am certain that there was no down payment. She was previously driving a Leased Ford Focus from Midland Ford from Saginaw Road in Midland; but she returned that vehicle to Ford upon obtaining the Jeep from O'Connor's in Bay City.

The vehicle seems to have very little value, yes. There seems to be very little to be gained financially out of the deal for them in this.
Visually, it is quite decent. But it is mechanically worrisome. They are unhappy about their deductible-to-warranty ratio, and after the fact, she thinks she's been had.

I see Both sides being at fault in some different ways here.

I am all for doing things ethically. The fewer enemies you make, the better off you are. There is no reason to leave a mess of anger and deceit behind you as you make your way through business relationships.
Even when I feel as if I have every right or ability to lash-out aggressively and verbally attack or reprimand people, or even 'pull a fast one' on someone who is not keeping an eye on their end of a deal- there is nothing to be morally gained.

But, people like her fiance' don't seem to live by the classic mantra of "don onto others...."

I will add more to my question (or riddle, as it seems to be) as I am presented with additional facts and details.

Again, thank you for your detailed response.


Junior Member
lemon law

I worked in financing for 4 years, at an auto dealership. In Wyoming here is how it goes.
Lemon Law. The same problem has to occur on 3 seperate occasions. And not be repairable. Used vehicles, unless already repaired under warranty with provious owner, or still under warranty, the authorized dealership will repair it. If it has been repaired by a shade tree mechanic, warranty is void.

The paper work. Dealerships release vehicles before financing is approved on occasion. They look at the credit application, and, in house determine if the customer is financable. Before buyers remorse sets in the dealer wants the vehicle signed for and off the lot. Regardless of financing being in place, and without a deposit, the customer probably signed a dealership contract, in several places. Odometer, as-is, provide insurance, will obtain financing. If the financial institution turns the customer down, the customer must find their own financing. You sign you buy. And buyer be ware. That is why you take test drives, and a visit with your mechanic, and a car fax. I am not a lawyer, this information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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