KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The newest and flashiest player in the car business, Carvana, has some of its customers upset.
Customers say the company, which sells cars online and then delivers them to your door, has major problems that they wish they’d known about before they ever decided to buy.
Derek Mundhenke thought he’d hit the jackpot when he bought a silver Subaru Outback from Carvana.
“I’ve been wanting one since I’ve been in high school,” Mundhenke said, who works as a bartender in Waldo.
Mundhenke paid in full for the $13,000 used Subaru when he bought it 11 months ago. Despite not owing a dime on the car, Mundhenke still doesn’t own it. Carvana has never given him the title. Instead of title, Carvana keeps giving him new temp tags from states he doesn’t even live in, including Arizona and Indiana.
All that’s illegal under Missouri law, but every time Mundhenke asks Carvana about his title…
“They just dance around the subject and never give me a good answer and they just give me false and misleading information about documents I could use (to register the car) instead of the title,” Mundhenke said.
Carvana had the nerve to tell Mundhenke to try and register the car at the DMV with the title application, not the actual title.
As anyone in the car business should know, that didn’t work. In fact, it was downright embarrassing when Mundhenke tried.
“I told the lady I bought a car from Carvana and she chuckled at me,” Mundhenke said.
That’s because Mundhenke is not alone. FOX4 Problem Solvers discovered hundreds of customers across the country are having similar problems. States are cracking down.
North Carolina’s Attorney General temporarily suspended Carvana from selling cars in Durham after failing to deliver a title.
Carvana is also on probation in Michigan. Florida has threatened to pull the company’s license if it doesn’t clean up its act.
Problem Solvers was determined to get Mundhenke his title. First, we paid a visit to Carvana’s multi-story car vending machine off Southwest Boulevard. Although there were employees inside, anyone outside had to call and leave a message if they wanted to talk to someone. We did. A woman named Audrey called us back and Problem Solvers explained Mundhenke’s problem.
“You can’t drive a car unless you can register it and you can’t register it without a title,” FOX4 told her.
Under Missouri law, titles are supposed to be handed over the day of the sale. But Audrey, who promised to look into the problem, told us that Carvana operated under a special rule call 5830, which gives it more time to deliver a title. When we asked how much time, she wouldn’t tell us. So Problem Solvers read rule 5830. It gives Carvana exactly 30 days to hand over the title or give the customer his money back. Mundhenke had been waiting 11 months.
Kansas City consumer attorney Bernard Brown said what’s happening to Mundhenke is inexcusable and should be investigated.
“Where’s law enforcement? Brown asked. “Missouri AG, Kansas AG get rolling. This is your job. People who buy cars who can’t get titles.”
Brown said Mundhenke could be arrested for even driving the car.
“You want to see a bad interaction with police?” Brown asked. “That would be exactly where it would start. It’s against the law to operate that car.”
Brown isn’t the only consumer lawyer paying attention. In Pennsylvania, attorney Robert Cocco is suing Carvana in both his home state and in Arkansas. Cocco said he’s heard from dozens of angry customers who all have had similar problems. That number of complaints “indicates that this is a problem that is out of control,” he said.
In a court filing, Carvana denied it had repeatedly violated state law and defrauded customers.
Problem Solvers tried repeatedly to get a response from Carvana regarding Mundhenke’s problems. We received this email from Carvana’s public relations department.
“Thank you for your patience. We are committed to ensuring the customer’s needs are met and the issue has been resolved.”
That same day, Mundhenke received his title by express delivery.
“Ooh la, la,” Mundhenke said as he ripped open the package. “It only took 11 months.”