Who Regulates Car Dealerships in Texas & What to Know About Car Dealerships in Texas

When it comes to buying a car in Texas, understanding who regulates car dealerships and what rules they must follow can help consumers make informed decisions and protect their rights. The regulatory framework governing car dealerships in Texas involves both state and federal laws, but the primary state agency overseeing these entities is the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV).

Who Regulates Car Dealerships in Texas & What to Know About Car Dealerships in Texas

Regulatory Authority: Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) is the main state agency responsible for regulating the licensing and operation of car dealerships in Texas. This agency ensures that dealerships adhere to state laws pertaining to vehicle sales and dealership operations. One of the primary goals of the TxDMV is to maintain a fair and organized automotive market that protects both the interests of the public and the automotive industry.

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Key Functions of the TxDMV:

1. Licensing:

The TxDMV issues licenses to new and used car dealerships, known as General Distinguishing Numbers (GDN). Without this license, dealerships cannot legally sell vehicles in Texas.

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2. Compliance and Inspections:

The agency conducts inspections and monitors dealership practices to ensure compliance with relevant laws. This includes checking for adherence to advertising standards, proper display of license information, and truthful communication about vehicle conditions.

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3. Consumer Protection:

The TxDMV provides resources and support for consumers. This includes handling complaints against dealerships and facilitating dispute resolutions related to vehicle purchases.

4. Education and Resources:

The agency offers educational materials and training sessions for dealers to stay updated on laws and best practices in the industry.

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What to Know About Car Dealerships in Texas

When dealing with car dealerships in Texas, there are several important factors consumers should be aware of:

  1. Licensing Requirements: All legitimate car dealerships must have a GDN license. Consumers should verify the dealership’s license status via the TxDMV website to ensure they are dealing with a reputable seller.
  2. Title Transfer: Texas law requires that the title transfer of a purchased vehicle be completed within 30 days. Failure to do so can result in penalties. The dealership is typically responsible for submitting the paperwork to the TxDMV.

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  1. Lemon Law: Texas has a Lemon Law that protects consumers who buy new vehicles that turn out to be defective. If a new vehicle requires repeated repairs for the same issue or is out of service for a significant number of days within the warranty period, the consumer may be entitled to a refund or replacement.
  2. Advertising Standards: Car dealerships in Texas must adhere to strict advertising guidelines. This includes clear disclosure of any fees, the condition of the vehicle, and the inclusion of any guarantees or warranties. Misleading advertising can be reported to the TxDMV.
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Buyer’s Tags: Temporary tags, or buyer’s tags, are issued by dealerships when a car is sold. These are valid for a limited time while registration and title work is being processed.

1. How to File a Complaint Against a Car Dealership in Texas

To file a complaint against a car dealership in Texas, consumers should contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV). The process involves submitting a detailed complaint form either online through the TxDMV website or via mail. The form should include all relevant information and any supporting documents to substantiate the claim. The TxDMV reviews complaints and can take action if the dealership has violated state regulations.

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2. Who Regulates Car Dealerships in Texas

Car dealerships in Texas are primarily regulated by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV). This agency is responsible for licensing dealerships, ensuring compliance with automotive laws, and protecting consumer rights by overseeing dealership practices.

3. Who Governs Car Dealerships in Texas

The governance over car dealerships at a detailed regulatory level is handled by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, aspects of consumer protection are overseen by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, especially concerning deceptive trade practices and consumer complaints.

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4. How to Report a Car Dealership in Texas

Reporting a car dealership in Texas involves contacting the TxDMV, where you can submit a complaint form. It is crucial to provide as much detail as possible, including dates, descriptions of the issue, and copies of any transactions or communications.

5. Texas Car Dealership Laws

Texas has several laws specifically targeting car dealership operations, including those governing advertising, financing, warranties, and disclosures. Notably, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) offers broad protections against false, misleading, or deceptive business practices.

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6. Bureau of Automotive Repair Texas

While Texas does not have a specific “Bureau of Automotive Repair” like some states, issues related to vehicle repair are handled by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and the TxDMV for regulatory matters related to dealership services.

7. Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division

The Enforcement Division within the TxDMV plays a crucial role in enforcing compliance and regulations amongst automotive dealerships. This division investigates complaints and conducts inspections to ensure dealerships adhere to state laws and regulations.

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8. What is the 10-Day Rule for Car Dealerships in Texas

The “10-day rule” often refers to the requirement for dealerships to pay off the lien on a trade-in vehicle within ten days after a new vehicle purchase. Failing to comply can lead to penalties.

9. State of Texas Auto Dealership Complaints

For complaints specifically related to auto dealerships in Texas, consumers should direct their grievances to the TxDMV, as it is the state authority tasked with oversight and regulation of dealership practices.

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10. Texas Car Dealership Laws Sunday

Texas does not have specific laws preventing car sales on Sundays, but most Texas car dealerships voluntarily remain closed on Sundays. This practice is often referred to as part of the “blue laws,” which historically restricted certain types of businesses on Sundays.

11. How to File a Complaint Against a Car Dealership Service Department

If issues arise with a dealership’s service department, consumers can file a complaint with the TxDMV. Like any other dealership-related complaint, providing detailed information and evidence is crucial for effective resolution.

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12. What is the Blue Law in Texas for Cars

Historically, “blue laws” in Texas restricted the sale of cars on consecutive weekend days, meaning dealerships could choose to operate either on Saturday or Sunday but not both. While these laws are no longer in effect, many dealerships still follow the tradition of closing on Sundays.

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Understanding the regulatory landscape and consumer protections available in Texas can significantly enhance the car buying experience. By ensuring that they engage with licensed dealerships and knowing their rights under Texas law, consumers can navigate the complexities of purchasing a vehicle with confidence. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles plays a pivotal role in this process, serving as both a regulatory authority and a consumer advocate in the automotive industry.

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