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New law helps dealers get car titles quicker

August 3, 2012
Dealers soon can obtain a lien release certificate of title from the Illinois secretary of state’s office for $20, under a law signed July 20 by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The matter cleared both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly without a dissenting vote.
The new law attempts to accelerate the process because some lienholders do not act quickly to release titles of trade-ins after dealers pay off the loans. Some dealers have been ticketed for not having titles for all the vehicles on their lots, and current laws subject those dealers to having their licenses to sell suspended or revoked.
While lienholders are required to release a title within 20 days after a loan balance is settled—10 days if it is settled with cash—banks increasingly ignore the deadlines, citing far-flung centralized locations where all payments must be routed and other reasons.
The new lien release certificate of title will dramatically speed up the turnaround of traded-in vehicles.  With the governor’s signing of this legislation, the secretary of state’s office is programming its computer systems and preparing forms and procedures to implement this legislation. Dealers should expect to be able to take advantage of the lien release certificate of title beginning in mid-September.
The new law also changes the criminal provision for violators of the Illinois Vehicle Code, giving secretary of state investigators the discretion to issue an administrative citation rather than subject dealers to criminal penalties.