New law prohibits Washington wholesale vehicle dealers from conducting business outside our state

March 31, 2016

Photo of window sign at a wholesale vehicle dealer location showing 180 separate licenseesThe Washington Legislature recently took action to change our state’s wholesale vehicle dealer license law to stop out-of-state businesses with no connection to Washington from obtaining licenses to conduct vehicle dealer business outside of our state.

The primary changes to this law include requiring wholesale vehicle dealers to only buy vehicles from, and sell to, other Washington state licensed vehicle dealers. It also prohibits more than three wholesale vehicle dealers from sharing a single business location.

Photo of interior of wholesale vehicle dealer license location showing long rows of empty desksRecently, there has been an 800 percent increase in the monthly number of wholesale vehicle dealer licensing applications submitted to the Department of Licensing. These applications are submitted on behalf of out-of-state individuals by Internet-based companies.

These companies advertise the service of taking care of all of the paperwork necessary to set up a Washington business and obtain a Washington wholesale dealer license on behalf of their clients. As a result, these out-of-state business owners are all located at a handful of addresses in our state including a single address in the small town of Wilbur in Eastern Washington used by more than 300 wholesale vehicle dealers as their place of business.

Because these out-of-state wholesale dealers are not located in Washington or doing business here, it is impossible for the Department of Licensing to monitor, investigate or regulate these businesses.

Our state’s wholesale vehicle dealer license law is set up to provide a lot of operational flexibility to companies that only sell buy and sell vehicles at dealer-only auctions or directly to other vehicle dealers. Dealers with this type of license are prohibited from selling vehicles directly to consumers. However, individuals across the country have been taking advantage of our flexible laws and obtaining these licenses in our state with no intention of doing business here.

Other office buildings in Moses Lake, Everett and Spokane Valley also are set up in a similar way to house out-of-state wholesale dealers who are, on paper at least, located together. There is no evidence that any of the hundreds of wholesale dealers have ever stepped foot in any of these facilities. Instead, they pay monthly rent to the owners of these Internet companies and receive mail forwarding services.

This new law (ESSB 6606) takes effect immediately and the Department of Licensing will soon begin notifying current wholesale vehicle dealer licensees of the new requirements.


Green thumb with an eye to match? The landscape architect licensing board is looking for you

April 20, 2011

Interested in landscape architecture and don’t have a family or business connection with the industry? Here’s your chance. The landscape architecht board has a vacancy for its public member position.

The public member provides an important perspective: they offer a view that is sometimes difficult to see as a member of the profession and they advocate for the public as a whole.

The Landscape Architect Board examines candidates for licensure, holds disciplinary hearings, and recommends adoption of rules and regulations. The board meets 4 times a year and members serve 6-year terms. They’re entitled to reimbursement for their travel expenses and receive a small stipend as compensation for their service. For complete information about this governor-appointed position and application process, click here.


Don’t let your dream event turn into a nightmare

April 1, 2011

Teens getting into a licensed limo

If you‘re hiring a limo or town car for a prom or another special event, make sure you’re riding safely and in style.

Washington has a lot of licensed limousine companies to choose from.  Before hiring one, make sure the limo and the driver are properly licensed by the state.

To find out if the limousine service you plan to use is licensed, visit the Department of Licensing website at www.dol.wa.gov or call 360-664-1414.


Check the status of business and professional licenses online

February 4, 2011

 Always be sure that the person you’re doing business with is properly licensed. If you want to find out if a person or business has the proper license, you can search business and professional licenses on our website.  You can also get information on:

  • If a person or business has a professional license.
  • If a business is licensed with a city or the state.
  • If your business or professional license is active.
  • When a business or professional license will expire.

You can search by name, license number, type of license or location.  The search will only provide information about business and professional licenses issued by the Department of Licensing. For information about licenses issued by other agencies, visit the list of licenses.

Click here to watch our YouTube video about our license lookup system.


Considering a short sale of your property? Make an informed decision.

January 12, 2011

The economic challenges that so many are facing have resulted in many homeowners needing to sell, but owing more on their home than the home is worth. A short sale is a real estate transaction where the sales price is insufficient to pay the debt and obligations on the property along with the costs of sale, and the seller is unable to pay the difference.  

Every short sale is dependent upon the seller’s lender agreeing to the transaction and agreeing to release the lender’s interest in exchange for less than what is owed. In some cases however, the lender’s approval of a short sale does not necessarily mean the lender relieves the seller of liability for repayment of the entire debt.

A short sale is a very complex transaction that involves numerous issues as well as legal and financial risks. Information on our website addresses some of these issues and risks, but isn’t necessarily fully comprehensive.  You should always get the advice of a lawyer and tax professional before proceeding with a short sale.


DOL is more than just driver licenses and car tabs

November 29, 2010

Every working day, DOL is serving Washington residents. The agency licenses and regulates drivers, vehicles and vessels and works with law enforcment to ensure our roadways and the traveling public is safe.

But there’s a whole other side of the agency that isn’t as obvious, but is critical to consumer protection in our state. DOL licenses and regulates 30 different professions, and issues business licenses through the Master License Service.

Each year, we:

  • Manage about 262,000 professional licenses.
  • Register nearly 4,000 complaints regarding professional licenses.
  • Issue over 3,000 cosmetology operator licenses for cosmetologists, barbers, manicurists, and estheticians.

  • UPDATED: Pierce judge overturns emergency real estate suspension

    September 9, 2010

    FRIDAY, OCT. 8 – A Pierce County Superior Court judge overturned an emergency suspension of the real estate licenses of Hellickson.com, Inc. managing broker Michael Hellickson and broker Tara Hellickson.  After today’s ruling, DOL has reissued the real estate licenses. Click here to read the judge’s ruling.

    The temporary suspensions were put in place by DOL on Sept. 2.

    DOL spokesperson Christine Anthony says that the agency stands by its decision to issue the summary suspension, but will certainly abide by the judge’s decision. She says the agency will present its case at an administrative hearing beginning Oct. 19.

    ORIGINAL POST, Sept. 9

    The Department of Licensing (DOL) has indefinitely suspended the real estate licenses of Hellickson.com, Inc., managing broker Michael Hellickson, and broker Tara Hellickson for misconduct following the investigation of 27 consumer complaints. They are barred from engaging in any real estate business and transactions, pending further disciplinary proceedings.

    While investigating these complaints, DOL investigators found evidence of ongoing patterns and practices that financially harmed consumers. These practices included:

    • misrepresenting to sellers that the home would be purchased by the broker if it didn’t sell within 30 days
    • telling homeowners to stop making mortgage payments so they could do a short sale
    • listing homes at prices not authorized by the homeowner
    • listing homes at artificially reduced prices in order to generate low-ball offers
    • misrepresenting the contents of listing agreements by having homeowners sign blank addenda and later filling in unacceptable list price authorizations
    • failing to provide sellers with copies of executed listing agreements
    • telling homeowners to vacate their home before they were legally required to do so
    • communicating negligently with homeowners, potential buyers, and lenders

    The department also found evidence of false advertising about the real estate practice. The company’s website claims Hellickson is the number one agent in both Hawaii and Oregon, when neither of them is licensed to sell real estate in either state. The website also claims the Hellicksons or their company, Perfect Fit Loans, can provide home loan services, but this company is not licensed by the Department of Financial Institutions.

    Consumers with a pending transaction or a signed contract with the Hellickson group are encouraged to seek advice from an attorney or a licensed real estate broker before taking any action.

    Consumers who are worried about losing their homes may contact the Department of Financial Institutions about their options. To talk to a counselor, call 877-894-4663. They can also get more information at Homeownership.wa.gov. Consumers can also contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-551-4636. If you need help finding an attorney, the following resources may be useful:

    Washington State Bar Association for Lawyer Referral Services
    Housing Justice Project
    Department of Housing and Urban Development Mortgage Counselor Services
    WSBA Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project:  877-894-HOME
    KCBA Housing Justice Project:  206-267-7090
    Northwest Justice Project CLEAR line:  888-201-1014 (outside King County), 206- 461-3200 (in King County)
    Legal Action Center:  206-324-6890


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