This policy follows Oregon statute and these requirements offer important consumer and non-profit organization protections.
Non-profit organizations acquiring vehicles through direct donation fall under the definition of "vehicle dealer" in ORS 822.005
when the stated purpose of vehicle donation programs is to raise cash for the charity and create a tax deduction for the donor.
There is no exemption in ORS 822.015
that would allow a non-profit organization to operate without first being certified as a vehicle dealer. Note: In using the links above, you may need to scroll down to find the correct ORS reference.
When non-profit organizations act as unlicensed dealers, their lack of dealer training often results in failing to satisfy transaction requirements that protect the non-profit, the donor and the buyer of the vehicles.
For instance, often the vehicle title is not put in the name of the non-profit organization. In addition to making the non-profit organization an unlicensed dealer there is no record in the vehicle chain of title that the vehicle was donated to the charity. The consumer who purchased the vehicle does not know the non-profit organization was actually the seller of the vehicle.
As the popularity of non-profit organization's vehicle donation programs increase, incidents of disgruntled donors rise. A common occurrence is where an individual purchases a donated vehicle at an auction and the vehicle is not transferred into the purchaser’s name or the sale/transfer of interest reported to DMV. If the vehicle gets towed because the new owner gets numerous parking tickets or the vehicle breaks down and is abandoned, the prior owner (donor) is responsible for the tow bill and any fines because there is no documentation of new ownership on DMV's record.
In cases like this, a non-profit organization's reputation suffers, donors become dissatisfied and their interests are not fully protected.
There are other regulatory issues involved in vehicle sales beyond DMV requirements. Besides bonding and insurance requirements, advertising, contracts, buyer warranty disclosures, disposal of fluids, and even washing cars are subject to government regulations at the state and federal level.