TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has filed an administrative complaint against Texas-based online car dealer Vroom alleging that in 47 cases, the dealer failed to transfer titles to consumers within 30 days.
This is the second online car dealer to be cited by the state in recent months for delayed or missing titles. The state has filed two administrative complaints against Arizona-based Carvana. Last month, the state went a step further, telling Carvana it has until Jan. 31 to transfer outstanding titles or face losing its dealer license.
In Vroom’s case, the dealer has 21 days from when it received the formal complaint last week to respond. Depending on whether the dealer challenges the allegations, penalties could range from a fine or a suspension or revocation of the dealer’s license.
Investigator Shannon Behnken reached out to Vroom for comment on this administrative complaint and to ask questions on behalf of consumers who have turned to Better Call Behnken for help.
A spokesperson emailed this statement:
“Our goal is for every customer to enjoy their vehicle from the moment their purchase is complete. As consumers turn more and more to buying cars online, we are investing significantly in our people, processes and operations, so every step in getting a customer their vehicle is an experience they deserve. We are committed to continuing to work with customers like Ms. Bolden and the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles to solve any issues that Florida residents might have at any point in that process.“
Vroom has the option of settling this administrative complaint immediately. Documents sent to Vroom show it would be fined a civil penalty of $500 per count in the administrative complaint, or $23,500 if the dealer chooses to settle this complaint.
A spokesman for FLHSMV told Better Call Behnken that this is an active investigation and additional formal complaints could be filed against Vroom depending on the outcome of the investigation and whether more consumers come forward to express concerns.
This action comes as consumers across the country complain of title delays and the Texas-based company has an F rating with the BBB.
Patricia Thomas Bolden, of Pinellas Park is one of the customers tile complaints. She says she bought a 2019 Kia Stinger in September but can’t drive the car now because Vroom hasn’t sent the title to the state of Florida.
“It’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s a huge ornament in my driveway. I love it but I can’t drive it.”
After complaining to the state, she says Vroom offered a Chevy Malibu rental car, but no answers.
After Better Call Behnken reached out to Vroom, Bolden says she received a call from the company. But she says their response was puzzling. She says she was told her car was a lease and the leasee was being “uncooperative” and the owner won’t release the title.
Bolden says Vroom offered to take the car back but she said no since she has already spent thousands customizing this car. She says she was told it would up to eight more weeks to obtain the title.
“I want my car,” she said. “I love this car. I don’t want to give it back. I just want my tag and title, that’s it.”