wjxt logo

I-TEAM investigates car dealer facing fines in multiple states including Florida

The News4JAX I-TEAM has been investigating Carvana, a company that promises “peace of mind” when you buy a car from them. But some local customers told us they’ve had no peace for months – accusing Carvana of failing to follow the Florida law and leaving them unable to get their titles and tags.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4JAX I-TEAM has been investigating Carvana, a company that promises “peace of mind” when you buy a car from them. But some local customers told us they’ve had no peace for months – accusing Carvana of failing to follow the Florida law and leaving them unable to get their titles and tags.

It all comes down to paperwork that’s apparently not getting done and it’s led to fines issued against Carvana in multiple states including California, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina and Florida.

“After the second temp tag expired, I called (Carvana) again. Once again, I got the same runaround,” Jeanette Carawan told the I-TEAM.

She says she never imagined it would take Carvana more than six months to issue her permanent tags for the Hyundai SUV she purchased online in early May of this year. She said she was given not one, not two, but three temporary tags while she waited for her permanent paperwork.

She was also without a title and registration, and Carawan knows she can’t drive the car without them – so she’s now questioning if she even owns the vehicle she paid for.

“They told me they lost the paperwork and had to refile for it, so it would take another 70 days,” she said.

A similar story from Uber driver Charles Painter. He purchased a Jeep from Carvana in February of this year. Over the period of eight months, he says, Carvana issued him five temporary tags from different states.

He says he also got the runaround from Carvana about his title. Painter tells the I-TEAM he reached out to Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles himself to see if he could get his title and registration on his own. The DMV responded in a letter saying in part:

“We cannot process the paperwork when the resident is a Florida resident, and the dealer is a licensed Florida dealer. Mr. Painter will need to contact Carvana in order to complete his title and registration.”

Under Florida law, car dealerships have up to 30 days after the vehicle sale to submit title and registration information to the state.

And regarding temporary tags, on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website, it says “it is a violation of Florida Statutes for a dealer to issue a second temporary Florida tag.”

Well, Carawan says in all, she got three temporary tags and two were from Florida, an apparent violation of the law.

Of the five temporary tags he received, Painter says only one came from Florida -- while the other four were from Arkansas and Tennessee.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office tells the I-TEAM it is investigating 27 similar complaints about Carvana. The company was also fined by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for not providing a dozen Florida customers with their titles and registration within 30 days.

The I-TEAM went to the Jacksonville Carvana location off I-95 to ask questions, but a salesperson told us no one there had answers at the local level and that we need to contact the corporate offices.

After reaching out for weeks, we did hear back from a corporate Carvana spokesperson who gave us the following statement:

“Carvana has pioneered online car buying by continuously delivering exceptional experiences, and we have bought and sold well over a million cars with customers while achieving an industry-leading Net Promoter Score (NPS) and a 4.7 out of five star customer experience rating average. That said, we remain firmly committed to continuous improvement and will stay hard at work making the best car buying and shopping experience available even better.”

If this has happened to you, you can file a complaint with Florida’s attorney general here, and Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles here.


About the Authors:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.