Dealer-related Information in Washington DC

There have been recent changes made to the District of Columbia's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations surrounding temporary tags. These modifications were made to increase consumer protection against the abuse of temporary tags in the district.

Changes include limiting the number of dealer tags issued to each dealer, eliminating the use of dealer reassignment forms, implementing a new series of dealer ID tags, and completely revising all dealer forms to allow for greater accountability.

The DMV website has a special online service just for approved dealers where they can order temporary tags. Approved dealers must first apply for and receive a digital certificate that authenticates their identity before being allowed to use this service.

Another way the DMV protects consumers and scrupulous dealers alike is to publish a list of active dealers.

Warranties and Inspections

Used vehicles sold in the District of Columbia must include a statement that the vehicle is suitable and in condition to be operated on the road at the time it is sold. It must be able to pass the mandatory inspection process unless the vehicle has been sold as junk.

If the vehicle has been declared a lemon according to DC law, this information must be clearly disclosed to prospective buyers. Additionally, if the vehicle was salvaged or rebuilt, this must also be disclosed.

If a car purchased from a dealer gives the customer a lot of mechanical problems, the buyer may try to seek a remedy from the dealer under DC's Lemon Law. Generally, a lemon is a new car purchased from a licensed dealer that has chronic mechanical problems that can't seem to be repaired despite numerous attempts, or a vehicle that has spent a specific number of days out of commission in the shop.

Dealer Tags

The DMV issues special tags exclusively for use on vehicles associated with the car dealership, such as vehicles in the general inventory of the dealership, loaner cars, and cars being transported to and from the dealership. Special forms are needed to apply for dealer tags.

Surety Bond

As part of their licensing requirements, car dealers in the District of Columbia must be bonded for no more than $25,000. They are also required to have in effect public liability or property damage liability insurance.

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