Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Dozens of people have filed reports with the Manning Police Department against Craig's Used Cars, just one day after the dealership closed down. News 19 is On Your Side making sure what happened in Manning doesn't happen to you.
"Second to buying a home, buying a car is usually the most expensive transaction a consumer is going to enter into so they need to make sure that they know who they are doing business with before they sign on the dotted line," said Carrie Grube Lybarker with Consumer Affairs.
Criag's Used Cars in Manning shut their doors after customers filed complaints about never receiving permanent license plates.
Investigators say somehow the money customers paid for their tags wasn't making it to the DMV who in return would issue the driver a permanent plate.
Lybarker says when your tag is close to expiring first contact the dealer, "and if you don't get a response that you like go to the regulator, go to the DMV, go to the police department and follow up."
Officers have been investigating the case for about six months when they started noticing multiple cars had expired paper tags.
Lybarker says there are several ways to vet a business one is by checking current complaints on the consumer affairs website.
"We have a new online complaint system and a person can put in the businesses name and the complaints will pop up."
She also suggests just checking online reviews of companies before buying a vehicle.
"A lot of people won't file formal complaints even though that is the way that we usually find out if businesses are not following the law. But people are more comfortable with going to social media sites, go on Facebook, go on ripoff.com, sites like that so the internet can be a resource too."
You should also not just make your decision based on one source.
"Just because a business has a complaint against them doesnt mean that you should not do business with them, it's really how they respond and that they do respond to the complaint and how it was resolved."
Officers say anyone who has received a ticket for an expired tag will be responsible for it.
Lt. Daniels with the Manning Police Department says despite the situation, people know the law and are responsible for keeping a car with expired tags off of the road.