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Nebraska woman frustrated with delays of car title after lease buyout

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Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The prices for good used cars are running hot so many people with leased vehicles are buying what they already drive.

But there may be potholes in getting proof of ownership.

Instead of searching for a quality used SUV Mary Kay O’Connor bought the one in her garage.

“The car had more value than the buyout amount and it only had about 20,000 miles on the car so it’s practically brand new to me,” said O’Connor.

Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing says she’s not alone.

“What we are seeing is there are more people buying out their leases,” said Ewing.

The head of a national online car dealer Tred.com says car leasees are in the driver’s seat.

“You have 20-40% extra value in your vehicle you can keep for yourself if you go out and sell it yourself. But to do that you have to get access to your title,” said Grant Feek from Tred.

And that’s a big bump in the road for Mary who has paid off the manufacturers’ value on the car when the lease ended two months ago but she hasn’t received the title from the finance division.

“I’ve lost a lot of sleep over it because I know I’m driving a car around with no tags,” said O’Connor.

She worries the license plate blue stickers are a red flag.

In case she’s pulled over because of the expired tags, Mary has a plan by carrying her bill of sale in her car, to convince the officer she wants to be legal.

“And I’m going to beg and plead my case, explain what’s happened, and hopefully avoid a fine or ticket,” said O’Connor.

The county treasurer staff processes the title paperwork from finance companies.

“Out-of-state ones are a little more difficult now and taking a little longer,” said Ewing.

That’s not Mary’s only concern. The cashiers’ checks she sent to Honda finance in Philadelphia went uncashed for weeks so she wired $28,000.

“Now they have the money twice and I still don’t have the title or tax documentation so I can’t register the car yet,” said O’Connor.

Issues she hopes soon will be in the rearview mirror.

“It will be very nice to have this behind me and have this vehicle actually be my own with proof that it’s paid for,” said O’Connor.

6 News contacted Honda corporate and media reps say they can’t comment on a customer’s finance account. But they are looking into this title issue and hope to have it resolved soon.

Mary Kay O’Connor not only wants half the double payment refunded she argues the finance company should pay for any fees the delay has cost her.

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