Florida threatens to suspend Carvana dealer license

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Florida is threatening to suspend Carvana’s dealer license over issues related to title transfers on vehicles it sold.

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles told Automotive News that Carvana has until Jan. 31 to submit title applications for all vehicles sold in 2021 before Dec. 1. If it does not comply, the state “may commence administrative action to suspend Carvana’s dealer license.”

According to television station WFLA in Tampa, which first reported the news, Carvana was notified by the state via email last week.

The email reportedly included a spreadsheet showing 300 Carvana vehicle sales dating to 2019 that have not had their titles transferred, including more than 100 in Florida. State law requires retailers to apply for a title within 30 days of completing the sale.

“The department has been proactively working with Carvana to identity and assist Florida customers who have not received their title in a timely manner, and in accordance with state law,” the state spokesperson said in a statement. “Florida law allows for the suspension of a dealer’s license if they fail to apply for a transfer of title in a timely manner.”

In a statement to Automotive News, a Carvana spokespersonconfirmed that the company has had “ongoing and productive conversations” with state regulators but anticipated “no disruptions in service in Florida.”

The spokesperson said that while “the vast majority” of its customers do not encounter titling issues, the “ongoing impact of the pandemic has created business process challenges.”

As a result, “certain customer benefits that Carvana provides can in rare instances complexify transaction processing for a small subset of our customers as our industry evolves past dealers selling only to their local customers,” the spokesperson said.

In addition to delivering vehicles to customers, Carvana, the second-largest used-vehicle retailer in the U.S., operates four vending machine locations in Florida, in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. A spokeswoman for the state of Florida told Automotive News in August that Carvana had applied for around 23,500 titles in the state over the previous 12 months.

According to WFLA, Carvana settled with Florida regulators this year over previous complaints about undelivered titles. The company agreed to pay $500 each to 12 customers who had waited between three and eight months to receive titles on vehicles they purchased from Carvana.

The company in August had its dealer license suspended in Wake County, N.C., for 180 days for violating the state’s dealer licensing laws, including by not delivering title work in a timely manner. Carvana is prohibited from selling vehicles at its Raleigh location until late January, and the company was required to conduct a review of its sales across North Carolina to ensure it was meeting title and registration requirements.

Carvana is the country’s second-largest retailer by 2020 used-vehicle volume, with 244,111 used retail vehicles sold that year, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center.

In November, the company reported third-quarter retail sales of 111,949 vehicles, up 74 percent from a year earlier.

Shares in Carvana fell 7.86 percent to $205.61 when the market closed Monday.

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