Woman waits months for permanent license plate

WSMV4 Investigates exposes car dealership caught breaking the law
A woman said she hadn't gotten her permanent license plate even though it had been months after she bought it, Lindsey Bramson reports.
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 9:40 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - WSMV4 Investigates has a warning for you before buying your next car.

Be sure to do some research on the dealership and find out how quickly it is getting drivers their permanent license plates.

One woman was waiting months for her, and it turns out that the dealership was breaking the law.

Aimee Ramsey had her eye on a 2018 Ford Explorer for months.

She bought it from Beaman Ford in Dickson and, of course, it had a temporary tag on it. She said she was told her permanent plates would arrive in a few weeks.

That was in March.

“I can’t even trade it in if I wanted to,” Ramsey said.

Fast forward to November, Ramsey still has a temporary tag on her car and underneath that one there are seven others.

“I want them to be honest with me about what’s going on, and I want my tag. That’s all I want,” Ramsey said.

Under current Tennessee law, dealerships are only allowed to issue up to two 60-day tags. The state said anything more is breaking the law.

“It’s a recurring problem that the Motor Vehicle Commission sees across Tennessee,” Kevin Walters, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, said.

WSMV4 Investigates uncovered out of more than 400 complaints made this year to the Department of Commerce and Insurance, 28% of those are related to title and tag issues.

“It’s a small thing but ultimately it could have big ramifications if you don’t have it taken care of,” Walters said.

Documents obtained by WSMV4 Investigates show while Ramsey purchased the vehicle in March, the dealership didn’t drop off paperwork until November once WSMV4 Investigates got involved. It was processed the same day.

WSMV4 Investigates discovered it happened at least one other time where paperwork was dropped off in November for a car purchased in August.

“I can’t even get anybody to answer their phone, and if they do, it’s the same story repeatedly,” Ramsey said. “I don’t know what to do anymore. Nobody’s helped me besides you now.”

Ramsey said for months she couldn’t get answers.

WSMV4 Investigates went to Beaman Ford in Dickson to get them for her.

Bramson asked one of the managers at Beaman Ford.

“Are you aware the dealership is breaking the law?” WSMV4 Investigates asked. “In what regard?” the manager replied.

WSMV4 Investigates explained that Ramsey had been trying to get her license plates for the car she purchased in March.

“Are you able to tell me why she doesn’t have them?” WSMV4 Investigates asked. “For privacy reasons I can’t talk to you about anything that has to do with another customer,” the Beaman Ford manager said.

When asked, the manager said he was not familiar and not sure why she kept getting one temporary tag after another.

A few days later, Ramsey got a call that her permanent plate was ready.

“I’m happy that I finally got it,” Ramsey said. “I didn’t have any traction with anybody until I got you guys involved.”

The state is now investigating the incident and Beaman Ford of Dickson could be fined several thousand dollars because of this.

If this should happen to you, you do have options on who to contact for help and to get your tags.

You can file a complaint with the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission, call 615-741-2711 or email Motor.Vehicle@tn.gov.

You can also check and verify if a dealership is properly licensed by clicking here.