TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Carvana customers in the Tampa Bay area, as well as customers in several other states, are reporting their frustrations at not being able to register their cars in their own names.
Joshua Johnson says he grew tired of driving around the Tesla he bought from Carvana because it had a temporary Arizona plate. He turned to Better Call Behnken for help. But Carvana, he said, is now planning to buy back the Tesla and pay him $3,000 for the tint and audio system he put in the car.
Johnson said all he really wanted was the title to the car he bought and loved. Now he plans to go elsewhere to buy a car.
Another customer who turned to Better Call Behnken, meanwhile, has received his plate and registration. Michael Johnston said he’s glad his fight with Carvana is over. He too had been offered a buy-back, but he refused.
Some buyers say they are furious and want to know why the state of Florida, which regulates car dealers, isn’t doing more to help them and hold Carvana accountable.
“I think the state needs to step in and do something to either enforce what the laws – which are, they need to provide you a title within 30 days – or slap them with a pretty hefty fine to make sure this doesn’t happen,” Johnston said.
When Carvana could no longer legally issue a Florida temporary tag to Johnston after 30 days, he was sent a temporary tag from Arizona. That got him pulled over twice by law enforcement, who issued him a warning and told him his car needs to be registered to the state in which he lives. Johnston said Carvana offered to buy back his Infinity SUV and couldn’t tell him when he would get the title, despite the company continuing to promise “a few more weeks.” Johnston said no to the buy-back offer.
“Due to your interaction with Carvana, I was able to get a legal temporary tag,” he said. “They have refunded me some of my money I paid toward two payments on the car because the car sat for 60 days unusable.
For months, our Better Call Behnken investigation has exposed Carvana cars without proper titles and registration. Florida law mandates dealers provide titles within 30 days of purchase.
We’re now hearing from consumers in numerous states with the same issue.
Consumers tell us they are stuck with temporary plates from Arizona or Georgia, no matter where they live. The state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles confirms it has two open complaints in the Tampa area. The department recently settled another Carvana case with a $6,000 fine, after an audit of title transfers.
Carvana has not answered email from Better Call Behnken in months, despite numerous attempts to seek comment and answers.
State regulators confirm they have two open investigations in Carvana’s Tampa region and one in Jacksonville.