Buyer beware could haunt truckers purchasing used trucks

| 7/27/2009

While out on the road recently, OOIDA member Jim Cancel of Florida, NY, found a used truck in Tennessee he was interested in buying.

Cancel said that on the surface the deal seemed too good to pass up. The truck was in good condition, the dealership was eager to negotiate, his bank seemed willing to work with him on the loan, but that something still wasn’t sitting right with him.

Then Cancel said he remembered reading an article in the June issue of Land Line Magazine about some OOIDA members who have had their Highway Vehicle Use Tax – HVUT – applications rejected after purchasing a used truck because the previous owner owes back HVUT. If that truck has run in New York before and the previous owner owes back HVUT, the lien follows the truck’s Vehicle Identification Number, not the previous owner.

One phone call to the New York State Taxation and Finance Department confirmed that the used truck was not “free and clear” at all.

“That five-minute phone call saved me about $225 that I would have had to pay out of my own pocket if I would have bought that truck,” Cancel told Land Line on Monday, July 27. “While that may not be a huge amount of money, I don’t think it’s fair to go after the truck’s new owner, instead of the previous owner who didn’t make good on his debt.”

Still not giving up on his dream of finding a different used truck, Cancel found another truck he was interested in buying, this time in Michigan. Again he called the New York State Taxation and Finance Department with the VIN, and again was told that back taxes in the amount of $350 were owed on it.

He said that while many dealerships are snapping up repossessed trucks at a cheap price, this may prove costly for new owners who haven’t done their homework first before buying it. 

Cancel added that both dealerships offered to pay the back taxes owed on the trucks after he approached them with the information he found out after calling New York. Cancel decided to walk away from both deals.

Cathy Koncilia, an agent in OOIDA’s permits and licensing department, advises truckers who are interested in purchasing a used truck to have the truck’s VIN handy and call 518-457-5735 first before signing on the bottom line.

As for Cancel, he said he’s still on the hunt for the perfect used truck.


– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer