Donating your car to charity can lead to problems ["Fair Exchange; Old Cars Help Fund Nonprofit Groups While Donors Get Income Tax Deductions," Business, Feb. 10]. We donated our car to United Cerebral Palsy of Maryland. We removed the license plates, signed over the title and received tax paperwork about two weeks afterward.

But several months later we received a registered letter from the Baltimore Department of Transportation stating that our car was in an impoundment lot and had accumulated hundreds of dollars in fees, for which we were responsible.

My husband called the charity and was told that the car had been auctioned. The buyer had slapped on tags and driven away but apparently had not registered the car with the state, as is the law. When the new owner decided to abandon the car, it could not be traced back to him or her through the vehicle identification number. Unfortunately, my husband was told, this sort of thing can happen at charity car auctions.

It took a lot of effort to prove to the Baltimore Department of Transportation that the car was no longer ours. If the car is auctioned anew, we'll have to again send paperwork and make calls to clear our record. If other car donors want to avoid similar problems, I recommend that they hold onto all paperwork for several years.


Garrett Park