May 23, 2016

Arkansas Vehicle Identification Numbers

According to the law in the state of Arkansas, it is against the law for anyone to intentionally deface, destroy, or alter the VIN. It is also against the law for anyone to place or stamp and serial number, engine number, or mark upon a motor vehicle except for the one which is assigned by the Arkansas Office of the Motor Vehicles. A person found violating this law can be charged with committing a Class C Felony. The law does allow for owners, with permission from the office, to restore an original serial, engine or other number during a restoration. It also allows the number of marks to be placed upon motor vehicles or parts thereof during the ordinary course of business.

In Arkansas, it is recommended that you have an Arkansas license plate lookup or a VIN search. The license plate search is free and finding a site is as easy as searching the Internet. A free license plate check will tell you if any claims have been filed for the vehicle, including accidents and damages by other means. A VIN check will tell you if the car has been in a flood. Although you may get a better price on a car which has some water damage around the bumper, if the car has been in a major hurricane and the water has reached the engine, you will find that the damages can be significant and difficult to repair. In these cases, cars are issued a “flood title” which will show up on these searches.

Arkansas VIN Checkup

Another searchable database that is very useful is the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System which is used for cars that have been in the possession of auto recyclers, junk yards, and salvage yards. These places are often easy prey for thieves to steal VIN numbers from cars which have been destroyed. Therefore, they are more heavily regulated by the government and the data to be reported is mandated, including:

  • The name, address, and contact information for the reporting entity;
  • The VIN;
  • The date the automobile was obtained;
  • The name of the person or entity from whom the automobile was obtained;
  • A statement of whether the automobile was crushed or disposed of, or offered for sale or other purposes; and
  • Whether the vehicle is to be exported out of the country.

NMVTIS is not mandatory and only 40 states are participating 100%; however, if you are in one of those 40 states it would also be a good resource for someone looking for information on VINs.

A good question is “is the person who is selling you the vehicle the person who is listed on the title?” If you are purchasing from an individual this guarantees that the title is clean and that they are the legal owner. If you don’t have a title, then you are not the legal owner of the vehicle. A license plate search will tell you who is the rightful owner of the vehicle.

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

Lemon Law in Arkansas

Lemon Laws are laws which are written to protect the consumer from defective equipment. Consumers in Arkansas are expected to try and resolve the problem directly with the dealer and the manufacturer, which is where the manufacturer’s warranty is useful. New cars which are defective in a way which causes serious harm and/or death should meet the criteria for the Arkansas lemon law.

However; there are some exceptions:

  • Cars are covered for 24,000 miles, 24 months, OR the length of the manufacturer’s warranty – whichever is longer;
  • Mopeds, motorcycles, vehicles weighing more than 13,000 pounds, and the living area in a motorhome are NOT covered.

The manufacturer has three attempts to fix your car, although if it is a serious matter which could harm someone it must be handled immediately. If, after three attempts your car has not been repaired you should notify the manufacturer/authorized dealer that they have one final attempt to remedy the situation. After ten days of receiving that notification (and you should probably send a copy certified mail just to prove your case) the manufacturer must do two things:

  1. Give you the option of attempting to have your car repaired at a facility near you, AND
  2. Repair the car within ten (10) days of it arriving at the service station.

It is important to keep notes of conversations, receipts, and copies of correspondence because if the case goes to the Office of the Attorney General, proper documentation will only serve to strengthen your case.

If the manufacturer has attempted to repair your car and failed to do so within 40 days, they must either:

  • Replace your car with a new one; or
  • Repurchase and refund you the value of the car.

Most companies are eager to settle lemon law cases because of the negative publicity which surrounds such cases; however, if you are not able to settle your case you may choose to hire an attorney to represent you. If you do hire an attorney, you should hire one who is local to the area and who has prior experience in lemon law cases, preferably ones which are similar to the specifics of your case.

Arkansas Office of the Attorney General

Little Rock Motor Vehicle Office
Department of Motor Vehicles
3 State Police Plaza Dr #300
Open until 11:59 PM

Little Rock Motor Vehicle Office
Department of Motor Vehicles
9108 N Rodney Parham Rd #107 ·
1 501-324-9243
Open until 6:00 PM

Department of Finance and Administration
State Government Office
1509 W 7th St ·
1 501-682-1675
Closing soon: 5:00 PM
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