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Temporary tags and dealer tags are two very different things and understanding the difference is key as a car dealer. A world of restrictions come with dealer tags and knowing the risks associated with using them incorrectly can save car dealers from some messy legal battles and costly fees. In this article, we discuss the difference between temporary tags vs dealer tags and why dealer tags can’t be used by consumers.

If you are more of an audio/visual type, click below to watch the YouTube version of this blog.

Temporary Tags vs. Dealer Tags

There are certain timeline and deadline requirements for a title transfer to take place that can take a bit, and in the meantime, customers often get temporary tags. A temporary tag allows the customer to legally drive the vehicle while they wait. The temporary tag has an expiration date and is affixed to the back of the car. A dealer tag is different from a temporary tag in that it is to be used by the dealer, not the consumer.

Case Study: Dealer Tags and Consumers

When a temporary tag expires, sometimes the dealer can get an extension and print a second temporary tag. This is where issues start to arise. Too often we see where the temporary tag cannot be extended, and the dealer just says, “Here, take a dealer tag and use it because it’ll spare you from any problems until we can get the title transferred.” This often happens because the dealer doesn’t want to take the car back, doesn’t want an unhappy customer, and doesn’t want to deal with potential ramifications– all are understandable reasons. Unfortunately, a generous quick fix like this often creates more trouble.

Georgia law has very specific requirements on when a dealer tag can be used for, but one thing is for sure: it can never be used by a consumer. Dealer tags are for dealers to use for dealer business; for example, taking a car to get emissions, taking a car to get repaired, transporting s vehicle for service, etc. It is not for a customer to use while they wait for their title or wait for their tag. That is not a proper use of a dealer tag and if a dealer is caught doing that, they could face serious fines for violating the law.

Dealer Best Practices

Following all tag and title laws is a must for dealers– not only does it protect you, but it also shows your customers that you do business the right way, which inevitably protects them too. As such, if a tag expires before the title transfer, apply for a second temporary tag. If denied, do not give customers dealer tags, rather explain to them what is happening and follow legal course. 

How We Can Help

If you are looking for more support when it comes to understanding dealer tags, you can find more information at You can also book a strategy session with us here. We’ll personalize your counsel and guide you through everything to ensure your business is protected.

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Steven Lefkoff

Steven is the founder of Lefkoff Law and is committed to providing legal educational resources for businesses. Lefkoff Law serves Georgia-based small businesses and specializes in supporting car dealers.

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