Press Release - 3-5-2021

DMV news


Friday, March 5, 2021


DMV Has Recovered $7.17 Million in Vehicle Titles and $4.87 Million from Unscrupulous Auto Dealers and Repair Shops

Warns of Phishing Schemes Targeting New Yorkers

National Consumer Protection Week runs through March 6, 2021

 During National Consumer Protection Week, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding New Yorkers of steps they can take to protect themselves against fraud, phishing schemes, and ways the agency protects them year-round. The DMV works to safeguard consumers from dishonest auto dealers and repair shops and has returned millions of dollars to consumers who were victimized by unscrupulous businesses.

“In addition to keeping our roads safe and providing identity and vehicle registration services, our employees work hard to protect the interests of our customers,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “If you believe you were wronged during a car sale or repair, our trained experts can help. Our website also offers guidance you should review before buying a car or having repairs done and offers tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam.”

Unscrupulous Mechanics and Auto Dealers

Since 2017, when the DMV began to track recovery data, the agency has helped New Yorkers recover $7.17 million of vehicle titles after the abrupt closing of dealerships left consumers without their proof of ownership. Additionally, since 2016, the DMV's Vehicle Safety Unit has recovered $4.87 million from auto dealers and repair shops for fraudulent vehicle sales or faulty repairs.

While most businesses are professionally and responsibly run, the DMV assists customers who have faced unfair charges or shoddy work. The DMV offers guidance to help customers file a complaint about a DMV-regulated business so our investigators can seek to recover their title, money or to have repairs properly made.

For those buying a vehicle, the DMV helps them understand their rights whether they are buying from a dealer or a private sale. Consumers should review the DMV’s Let the Buyer Be Aware page prior to a vehicle purchase.

DMV also provides guidance when bringing a vehicle in for repairs including:

  • If you request it, the repair shop must give you a written estimate of the parts and labor necessary for each specific repair.
  • The estimate must list each part and its cost, and show what parts, if any, are either used or not of original quality. It must show the labor charges for each repair and by what method they are calculated. The shop may not charge more than the estimated price without your permission.
  • A shop may not perform any services unless you give your permission.
  • You are entitled to the return of all replaced parts, except warranty and exchange parts, but you must ask for them in writing before any work is done. If you authorize work by phone, the shop must keep any replaced parts, and make them available when you pick up the vehicle.
  • When repairs are completed, the shop must give you a detailed invoice listing each repair done, each part replaced, the cost for each, and the cost of labor.
  • You have the right to inspect your vehicle at the shop before paying for repairs.

Phishing Schemes

Phishing schemes, where fraudsters send text messages or emails pretending to represent the DMV to obtain personal information from the recipient, continue to target New Yorkers. Scammers use this information to steal someone’s identity or trick them into installing malicious software onto their computers or phones.

To raise awareness and help unsuspecting consumers from becoming victims, the DMV has created a webpage offering simple tips to protect against these attacks. A separate webpage shows examples of some of the phishing text messages and emails that have been sent. If someone believes they have received a suspicious text message or email posing as the DMV, they can report it to [email protected].

Auto Thefts

DMV also cautions customers to be aware that new, keyless vehicle technology can provide convenience but also can increase risk. Customers are reminded not to leave their key fobs in the vehicle, as doing so can give thieves easy access to steal the car.

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