May 26, 2016

West Virginia Vehicle Identification Numbers
Where do you get a VIN check in the state of West Virginia?

Individuals in West Virginia can request copies of Vehicle Information Record by submitting form DMV-100-TR online at DMV Online Services or at one of the Division of Motor Vehicles Regional Offices. It is very difficult to get motor vehicle history on a vehicle which is not yours through state agencies without the current owner’s consent unless you have their Power of Attorney. For this reason, many states suggest using the National Vehicle Motor Title Information System which we will discuss further later.

The state of West Virginia Agency of Transportation Department of Motor Vehicles has a list of vehicles which require VIN verification. VIN verification is not necessary if a title will not be issued on a vehicle; however, it is required for the following:

  • Vehicles being titled in West Virginia for the first time which were purchased through a private sale and have not been registered or titled in the owner’s name in another jurisdiction;
  • Vehicles with “Salvage” Documentation from any state, including West Virginia;
  • Vehicles being titled under bond;
  • Vehicles with registration from any foreign country, including Canada;
  • Vehicles over 25 years old, for which a West Virginia resident is seeking an “exempt title;”
  • Motorcycles which are not able to be titled but are 500 cc’s or more and have not been registered or titled previously to the applicant or have not been previously registered in West Virginia; and
  • Vehicles with discrepancies in documentation or which do not conform to establish standards.

VIN verifications conducted in West Virginia can be completed by a West Virginia law enforcement officer, personally employed by a law enforcement unit who are under the direct supervision of a law enforcement officer, or a DMV employee who has been designated by the West Virginia Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

VIN verifications which are completed out-of-state should be completed by motor vehicle officials or state level law enforcement officials, or by the personnel authorized in that state to perform VIN verifications. Military personnel may have the VIN verification completed by the Commanding Officer or Provost Marshal of the military base. Any VIN verifications which are performed out-of-state must be accompanied by a letter of identification of the agent on their department or agency official letterhead and are subject to approval by the West Virginia Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

There is a form, which can be found on the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles website, for VIN verifications and other forms, including:

The state of West Virginia recommends that individuals who want more information about a vehicle’s history go to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) website.

The West Virginia Lemon Law is under the West Virginia Division of Consumer Protection and complaints can be made online. For any questions about the lemon law in West Virginia you should contact:

Office of the West Virginia Attorney General

Consumer Resources

120 State Street

Montpelier, VT 05609

Phone: 802-828-3171

DMV Online Services in West Virginia

Form DMV-100-TR – Division of Motor Vehicles Request for Vehicle Information

Form DMV-1-TR – Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle

DMV-7-TR – Bill of Sale

DMV Locations


West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle Forms

Should I perform additional motor vehicle history or VIN checks on a vehicle in West Virginia?

Yes, definitely. While it is good to know the current title information on a car, knowing the history is very important. There are quite a few companies which run VIN and/or license plate checks in the state of West Virginia, some of which cost money and some which provide a certain number of free searches per IP address in a 24-hour period.

One of the more complete VIN checks that you can get is from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. NMVTIS is a database which provides data on cars that have been in recycling yards, junkyards, and salvage yards. They provide information in five key areas which are associated with auto fraud and theft:

  1. Current State Title and Last Title Date;
  2. Brand History – these are descriptive labels applied by motor vehicle titling agencies and include the terms “junk,” “salvage,” and “flood.” This helps protect consumers from purchasing a damaged vehicle without knowing the condition of the car. In West Virginia, which allows consumers to purchase “rebuilt” cars, knowing the history and the “brand” of a car may save you from paying far more than a vehicle is worth or from buying a vehicle which is unsafe or has the potential to be unsafe due to its history;
  3. Odometer Reading – people have been known to “roll the odometer back” to decrease the appearance of miles on a vehicle. This makes the vehicle appear to be worth more than it is worth, and it may also cause a consumer to purchase a vehicle which is unsafe. Odometer readings are recorded at the transfer of the title, so it can be a useful tool to check for any discrepancies of the vehicle’s history;
  4. Total Loss History – when a vehicle has been declared a total loss it has had severe damage. Knowing this information could save a consumer from paying more than what the vehicle is worth or from purchasing a vehicle which is unsafe; and
  5. Salvage History – vehicles with a salvage history have had severe damage. Knowing this information could save you money or save you from purchasing a car that is unsafe.

The data reported to NMVTIS must be reported on every vehicle which they receive into inventory each month and includes:

  • The name, address, and contact information for the reporting entity;
  • VIN;
  • Date the automobile was obtained;
  • Name of the individual or entity from whom automobile was obtained (this information is only to be used by law enforcement and other government agencies);
  • A statement of whether the automobile was crushed or disposed of, offered for sale, or other purposes; and
  • Whether the vehicle is intended for export out of the United States.

The public can’t access the NTMVIS database, but you can use one of the services which can access it and you should. Some of the ones that are advertised on the NTMVIS website include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Clearvin.com
  • Vinaudit.com
  • Instavin.com
  • Titlecheck.us
  • Vinsmart.com

There is also a database, VINcheck, which is run by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and recommended by the state of West Virginia. They provide VIN checks to the public which will tell you if the car has been reported stolen and not found, and if the vehicle has been in a salvage yard. West Virginia also recommends using a private agency, i.e. Carfax, for a vehicle history check, conducting a physical inspection, taking the car on a test drive, and getting an independent inspection.

If you purchase a car and believe that you have been the victim of fraud you are asked to contact the National Insurance Crime Board by:

  • Texting the keyword “FRAUD” to TIP411 (847411);
  • Call 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422); or
  • Submit a form online.

You can contact the West Virginia Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-368-8808.


West Virginia’s Department of Consumer Protection Complaint Form

Lemon Law in West Virginia

The lemon law in the State of West Virginia can be found at West Virginia Code 46A-6A-1 et seq. The Lemon Law falls under the West Virginia Department of Consumer Protection in the Attorney General’s Office.

The West Virginia lemon law covers a passenger automobile which was purchased in or is registered and titled in West Virginia. This includes a pickup truck or van registered as a Class A motor vehicle, and any self-propelled chassis of a motor home registered as a Class A or Class B motor vehicle.

Class A registration applies to motor vehicles of passenger type and trucks with a gross weight of not more than 8,000 pounds. Class B registration applies to motor vehicles designated as trucks with a gross weight of more than 8,000 pounds, truck tractors or road tractors.

The lemon law covers any defect or condition which is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty that substantially impairs the use, market value, or safety of the vehicle. This is referred to as a nonconformity. The lemon law provides manufacturers with a defense if it can be shown that the defect, or nonconformity, is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications of the vehicle.

If the vehicle does not conform to all express warranties and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, the manufacturer must make necessary repairs to the vehicle so that the vehicle conforms to the express warranties, even if these repairs occur after the expiration of the warranty term. If the manufacturer is unable or unwilling to make repairs to the vehicle to correct a defect or nonconformity after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer must either replace or repurchase the vehicle from the consumer.

West Virginia presumes that a reasonable number of repair attempts have been undertaken to conform a vehicle to the applicable warranties if either of the following occurs:

  • The same nonconformity, as identified in any written examination or repair order, has been subject to repair at least three (3) times by the manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer, and that same nonconformity continues to exist;
  • A nonconformity that results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, has been subject to repair at least once by the manufacturer and the nonconformity continues to exist; or
  • The motor vehicle is out of service due to repair for one or more nonconformities for a cumulative total of 30 or more calendar days.

After reasonable attempt at repair or correction of the nonconformity, defect or condition, or after the motor vehicle is out of service due to the repair of the nonconformity of the vehicle for thirty (30) or more calendar days, the consumer must notify the manufacturer (and lessor if applicable) in writing of the nonconformity and the consumer’s claim for replacement and repurchase.

Before the consumer can file a lemon law claim, they must notify the manufacturer, in writing, by registered, certified, or express mail, of the need of the repair and to allow the manufacturer a final opportunity to repair the defect. This does not apply unless the manufacturer informed the consumer, at the time of the sale of the vehicle, that a written notification of a nonconformity would be necessary.

If your vehicle meets the criteria of being a lemon, it is possible that the manufacturer will try and work out a compromise with you in which they replace your vehicle or refund your money and you drop your complaint against the manufacturer. The manufacturer has the right to charge you a reasonable fee for mileage. If the manufacturer is unwilling to do this, then you will need to go to arbitration or an informal dispute resolution.

If the manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement procedure that complies with 16 C.F.R. Part 703, or if they participate in a consumer-industry appeals, arbitration, mediation panel or board whose decisions are binding on the manufacturer then the consumer must first utilize one of these settlement procedures before the manufacturer is forced to either replace or refund the consumer’s money.

The Better Business Bureau AUTO LINE is often the entity in charge of the arbitration process and the same is true in the state of West Virginia. The following manufacturers have an informal dispute resolution process which meets the standards set by the West Virginia law and operates in the state of West Virginia:

  • Audi, Bentley, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC Truck, Hyundai, Indian Motorcycle, Infiniti, Kia, Land Rover, Lincoln, Lotus, Mazda, Mercury, Nissan, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, smart USA, Volkswagen, and Workhorse Custom Chassis.

If you have questions or concerns about the lemon law program or the lemon law in West Virginia, you should contact the West Virginia Consumer Assistance Program at 800-368-8808.

West Virginia Lemon Law

Better Business Bureau Standards of the West Virginia’s Lemon Law

Better Business Bureau West Virginia Summary

Consumer Protection Division for the state of West Virginia

Consumer Protection Division complaint form for West Virginia

Do you need to hire an attorney for a lemon law case in West Virginia?

No, it is not necessary to hire an attorney but it may be a wise decision it may be a wise decision depending on the amount of time that you are able to commit to fighting a large company and your knowledge of the law and the legal system. It is important to remember that the manufacturer of the car and the dealers will have legal experts on their side and you might want the same kind of expertise on your side.

A lawyer will represent you in court, but they will also:

  • Explain the lemon law in the state of West Virginia to you and help you to understand both the process and the possible outcomes;
  • Help you to gather all the necessary documents;
  • Help to ensure that the manufacturer is treating you fairly;
  • Help save you time by handling the communication and other actions on your behalf; and
  • Help you to navigate the courts and the legal terms.

If you do not have an attorney already you should ask friends and family for referrals or even ask attorneys who specialize in other areas for a recommendation for a lemon law attorney. If nothing else, the West Virginia Bar Association has a lawyer referral service.

You are searching for an attorney who:

  • Seek experienced attorneys – A West Virginia lawyer who specializes in lemon law cases will have specialized knowledge in relevant West Virginia laws and procedures;
  • Comes highly recommended – ask friends and family if they know any good attorneys. Ask for a recommendation from people you know who may have worked with lemon law lawyers before;
  • Schedule a consultation – book a free consultation with a few lemon law attorneys so that you can learn more about them and their experience; and
  • Ask about their fees – Make sure that you understand how much the attorney charges and when you will be expected to pay (up front, installments, after the case, or do they take the case on a contingency basis?)

West Virginia State Bar Association

West Virginia Lawyer Referral Service

Flatwoods Department of Motor Vehicles
295 Skidmore Ln
1 304-558-3900

Department of Motor Vehicles
1029 N Randolph Ave
1 304-558-3900

Spencer Department of Motor Vehicles
115 Church St
1 800-642-9066

Division of Motor Vehicles
116 Liberty Sq
1 304-558-3900

DMV Regional Office
1408 Kanawha St
1 304-558-3900

Department of Motor Vehicles
140 Kanawha Mall
1 304-558-3900

West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles
1525 Deckers Creek Blvd
1 304-558-3900

West Virginia Department of Transportation – Division of Motor Vehicles.
1408 Kanawha St
1 304-558-3900

DMV Office
801 Madison Ave
1 800-642-9066

Kanawha City Regional DMV Office
5707 Maccorkle Ave SE
1 304-558-3900

Beckley Department of Motor Vehicles
107 Pinecrest Dr
1 304-558-3900

Department of Motor Vehicles
601 Lubeck Ave
1 304-558-3900

Department of Motor Vehicles
148 Maplewood Ave
1 304-558-3900

Princeton Regional DMV Office
198 Davis St
1 304-558-3900

Department of Motor Vehicles
22278 Northwestern Pike
1 304-558-3900

Department of Motor Vehicles
100 Municipal Plaza #100
1 304-558-3900

West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles
105 Platinum Dr
1 800-642-9066

DMV Office
428 Main St
1 800-642-9066

Department of Motor Vehicles
92 McDowell St
1 304-436-4399

Department of Motor Vehicles
225 E 3rd Ave
1 304-558-3900

Department of Motor Vehicles
410 S Main St
1 304-558-3900

Department of Motor Vehicles
100 Thorn Creek Rd #300
1 304-558-3900

Regional DMV Office
410 S Main St
1 800-642-9066
Closed today

Martinsburg Regional DMV Office
38 Severna Pkwy
1 304-558-3900
Closed now

Wheeling Driver Examination
2600 Eoff St
1 304-558-3900

Charles Town Regional DMV
24 Ruland Rd
1 304-558-3900
Closed today

Legal Aid of West Virginia
203 Green Ln
1 304-645-3131

West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles
38 Severna Pkwy
1 304-558-3900
Closed today

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
17 1st St
1 804-497-7100

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
998 Hopeman Pkwy
1 804-497-7100

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
110 Walker St
1 804-497-7100

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
1629 Forest Rd
1 804-497-7100

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
200 Richmond Hwy #101
1 434-946-5218

Department of Motor Vehicles
9237 Quioccasin Rd
1 804-497-7100

Bureau Of Motor Vehicles West Carrollton
1162 E Dixie Dr
1 937-866-9511

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