(WSVN) - When he bought a used car, the dealer gave him a paper tag and paperwork for the registration. Then an officer pulled him over and placed him in handcuffs. It’s why he turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Artis’s face tells you how he feels about his newest car.

Artis Patterson: “I’m loving it. Crank up and go, and if the police get behind you, you don’t have to worry about anything. You know, you’re legit.”

Stop, Artis, did you say if the police get behind you, you don’t have to worry because your legit?

Why say that?

Artis Patterson: “I got pulled over and arrested for this.”

Artis’s trouble began a few days after he bought a used car from a dealership in Hollywood.

They gave him a paper tag and a temporary registration. Police pulled Artis over.

Artis Patterson: “I was made aware that the tag that the dealership had written me was not valid.”

Artis Patterson: “And officers stated that in the state of Florida, you cannot drive an unregistered vehicle.”

The result…

Artis Patterson: “He handcuffed me.”

The officer then wrote Artis a $179 ticket for the bad tag and was hit with a criminal charge for no motor vehicle registration.

Artis Patterson: “How could this be happening for something that I didn’t do?”

The officer then explained what was about to happen.

Artis Patterson: “‘Unfortunately, I have to take you to jail or arrest you for driving a non-registered vehicle.'”

When Artis told the officer he just bought the car, he let Artis call the dealership so they could explain why they provided this tag and registration.

Artis Patterson: “I got the salesman on the phone, and he’s pointing us to someone else, and from that point on, everybody starts pointing the finger at everyone else.”

After listening to the dealership’s buck-passing, the officer must have concluded Artis was not at fault.

Artis Patterson: “Released me at the scene because he said I was so cooperative and calm.”

Artis then went back to the dealer to get things straightened out. He was told to talk to the owner.

Artis Patterson: “And days went by, weeks went by, months went by, and no call from the owner. I just kept getting the runaround.”

But Artis had a hefty fine to pay and that criminal charge.

Artis Patterson: “I’m facing legal fees and etc., and I’m not getting any help from the Super Deal Motors.”

Well, is the dealer responsible when police say the tag and registration is worthless, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Yes, part of your purchase contract requires the dealer to file the correct legal paperwork. If they don’t, they are responsible for any damage or legal costs you incur, paying the ticket and fighting the charges. If the dealer won’t fix it, file a complaint with the Division of Motor Vehicles. They have power to force them to correct the mistake.”

I contacted Super Deal Motors where I got the same treatment Artis did.

Each employee told me to talk to someone else.

I asked to speak to the owner listed on the state’s records, an employee told me, “I don’t know who that is.”

They were having fun with me, but Artis says, eventually they gave him the proper tag and registration.

We watched as Artis then went to court with it.

Judge: “The state has announced charges against you are dismissed, sir. You are free to go.”

The criminal charge was dropped and the ticket dismissed.

Artis Patterson: “I mean, I was so relieved.”

Relief that began after that call to Help Me Howard.

Artis Patterson: “You certainly were a big, humongous help.”

Patrick Fraser: “Glad it all finally worked out for you, Artis.”

Now, when you leave a dealership how do you know your paperwork is correct? You don’t ’til the police tell you.

But if a dealership gives you bad paperwork, the link to quickly file a complaint with motor vehicles is here.

A problem left you feeling used? Don’t be handcuffed. Tag us to help to let you motor along.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser 7News

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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