I-TEAM: Complaints mount against car dealer facing fines in multiple states, including Florida

Several drivers come forward after I-TEAM investigation into Carvana

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s an update to a News4JAX I-TEAM investigation into the car company, Carvana.

Local complaints are mounting against it after our investigation exposed potential violations of state law earlier this week.

Several drivers have come forward saying they, too, have been waiting more than six months for their title and registration, which should be provided to them in 30 days.

Carvana customer Angela Herrin says she’s found herself in a horrible situation. She needs the Volkswagen Jetta she purchased in May to get to doctor’s appointments, but she can’t get her car fixed. She says her steering wheel and airbags started malfunctioning, which are typically very expensive repairs covered by her car warranty. But the car warranty is refusing to pay for the repairs because, on paper, she says the car is not legally hers.

″I’ve had three temporary tags. I’ve been pulled over four times, and I’ve been told by my tax collector’s office I’m not supposed to be driving my car on the road because it’s past the 30-day limit,” Herrin said.

Seven months after purchasing the Jetta from Carvana, Herrin says she still can’t drive the car she paid $21,000 for. Since May, she says, Carvana has issued her two temporary license plates from Florida and one temporary plate from Arizona.

“It goes month after month after month, and they tell me the paperwork is being processed,” Herrin said Friday. “And it’s eight months later, December, and I still have not received my tag, but because, as I’m being told yesterday, it’s still being processed.”

According to Georgia Department of Revenue law, a car dealer cannot issue an additional temporary operating permit, nor can the customer operate the vehicle legally with an expired dealer-issued temporary operating permit.

Florida law is similar. Car dealerships have up to 30 days after the vehicle sale to submit title and registration information to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

On the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website, it states, “It is a violation of Florida Statutes for a dealer to issue a second temporary Florida tag.”

Herrin, whose husband is legally blind, says she needs her vehicle to get him to doctor’s appointments and she’s beyond frustrated.

“They treat me like someone on the street who gave them all this money and they were like thank you and didn’t care to do anything with it,” Herrin said.

Herrin isn’t the only Carvana customer with whom the I-TEAM spoke on Friday. Two others say they’ve been pulled over by law enforcement for having an expired tag.

We reached out to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Georgia Department of Revenue — which have this advice:

  • Make sure you file an official complaint with the agency of the state you’re in. In Florida, it’s the FLHSMV. You can file a complaint with FLHSMV here. In Georgia, file a complaint with the used motor vehicle board through the secretary of state’s website.
  • Ensure that you keep a copy of that complaint with you in your vehicle (that way you can show it to the law enforcement officer, who may very well be aware of this growing issue).
  • You can also request that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issues a special authorization for a temporary tag for you, while the issues with Carvana are being resolved.

Carvana has still not been able to provide News4JAX an explanation as to why the company is having issues getting customers their titles and registrations beyond delays because of COVID-19. The online car retailer is on probation in Michigan, it’s been banned for six months from selling cars in Raleigh, North Carolina, and it’s been fined previously both in Texas and in Florida.

About the Author:

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