Woman couldn't drive Porsche due to dealership bankruptcy

September 5, 2012 7:43:42 PM PDT
All dressed up with nowhere to go -- that's how a winery owner in Rutherford might have felt when she bought a beautiful Porsche, but couldn't drive it.

Frustration doesn't begin to describe the thoughts that went through the mind. What seemed like a very simple fix, turned into anything but.

A table full of paperwork is what it took for Petra Martin to finalize her purchase of a 2008 Porsche Cayenne. She paid cash in full for the vehicle. Three months later, the DMV still hadn't sent her the title and registration.

"They told me that the paperwork with the DMV was not completed due to bankruptcy of the dealership," said Martin.

A skeleton of a Facebook page is all that's left of Epps Chevrolet in St. Helena. The dealership went bankrupt and closed for good in August of last year, apparently before all the paperwork was finalized. Martin was told to go to the DMV to complete it.

"We were under the understanding after we supplied all the paperwork, that we would get our title and registration probably within the next four weeks," said Martin.

But, it didn't quite work out that way. She was asked to fill out more paperwork in May, then again in June, and once more in July.

"Then the same request, the same application for title came back to us to be submitted again," said Martin.

By now, the temporary registration on the Porsche had run out and Martin could no longer drive it.

"I cannot drive the vehicle with an expired license plate. I was advised it could be confiscated," said Martin.

On top of that, the DMV requested that she purchase a $35,000 bond that would protect the agency from any liability. It was a bond her insurance agent told her could only be purchased by a car dealership.

"That's when I gave up," said Martin.

She called 7 On Your Side and we called the DMV.

"The biggest surprise that I received a phone call from the DMV Consumer Relations at 5:30, about two hours after I have talked to Channel 7," said Martin.

Two days later, she had her title and registration. The DMV described the process of reconstructing the application for title and registration as a lengthy one. It said the eight months it took to resolve Martin's case was normal.

"If I would not have Channel 7 making this phone call, what was I to do?" said Martin.

Martin says the dealership helped her as much as it could and the DMV says it only received one other complaint stemming from the dealership's closure.


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