Kentucky Auto Fraud: Researching the Dealership
If you suspect you or your client is a victim of automobile fraud, one of the first things you will need to do is figure out who owns the dealership. This can be difficult because many dealerships are simply "doing business as" [name of dealership]. They are doing business under an assumed name while being owned by another company, partnership, or individual.
The first place to look for ownership interests is the Kentucky Secretary of State's website. There, you can enter the name of the car dealership and, hopefully, find an active company, partnership, or certificate to do business under an assumed name.
Unfortunately, sometimes that doesn't work. The next step is to file a Request to Inspect Public Records from the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission. I did this yesterday in a case I'm researching against a dealership that, I believe, wrongfully repossessed my client's car (and did so in a fraudulent, abusive, inhumane way). When I called the Motor Vehicle Commission, I asked how I would request the dealership's most recent application for a license to sell cars in Kentucky and was told that they could fax or mail me the Request to Inspect Public Records.
"I's not available on your website?" I asked.
"No. I can fax it or mail it to you."
Here is a .pdf of the Request to Inspect Public Records from Kentucky's Motor Vehicle Commission. Use it to request the most recent application for a car dealer's license. Here is a copy of the blank application to become a car dealer in Kentucky. It will give you a sense of the information you will get by requesting the dealer's license application.
Of course, if you are a consumer and you suspect you have been victimized by a car dealer through fraudulent or scammy tactics, you should consult a lawyer to determine what, if any, legal recourse you might have to fix the fraud, unwind the deal, or pursue the dealer for money damages. This is not the post to explain the many, many ways that car dealers can take advantage of consumers through odometer rollbacks, fraudulent omissions of material facts, scammy financing, yo-yo sales, and wrongful repossessions. This is just to say that you should contact a lawyer because laws exist to protect consumers from the predatory tactics some car dealers use to make a quick (and highly profitable) sale.