Carvana Is in Major Trouble in Florida

Carvana, the online, used car sales dealership that promises its customers delivery to the door, no hidden fees, and certified inspected vehicles, faces fines, fees, and dealer license suspension in Florida. The company is accused of filing title paperwork in an untimely manner. Florida residents have also complained about title delays that prevent them from licensing their vehicles within the timeline required by state law. 

The state of Florida is not alone in finding fault with the car company. Carvana is banned from providing car sales in Raleigh, North Carolina, until Jan. 29, 2022, and its  Charlotte location is on probation until November of 2022. The reason behind the North Carolina ban and probation is the same as the issues currently at stake in Florida, such as untimely paperwork filing, and title issues. 

Carvana’s marketing strategy was innovative, at first

An eight-story Carvana vending machine building in Huntington Beach, California
A Carvana vending machine building | MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Carvana‘s car vending machines were a popular marketing gimmick, but ultimately most buyers chose Carvana because of the company’s delivery model. Carvana’s willingness to offer financing to those with poor credit, its promise of transparency and minimal small type, and its excellent web design added to the online car sales company’s popularity.

The company is listed as the second-largest online car dealer in the U.S. It is expanding its physical footprint with locations in Las Vegas, Detroit, and various cities in Florida. An unnamed Carvana spokesperson told AutoNews that the company’s services are still ongoing in Florida, and measures are being taken to address the issue of providing titles more efficiently.

Car sales, in general, have moved online since 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so Carvana is now seeing competition from more traditional dealerships. Car buyers have more options and choices and have also become more sophisticated in online car shopping. Additionally, as competition increases, Carvana is undergoing scrutiny.

Other dealers are increasing their online presence

Used car sales are not typically completed remotely. Dealers have to abide by state and federal regulations. As a result, most used car sales occur locally and regionally. So, Carvana’s national model gave it an advantage. Additionally, the company had swift access to a greater number of used vehicles to trade and sell because they bought them directly from owners nationwide.

Traditional dealerships have to go through a lengthier and more expensive process involving ordering used vehicles from other dealerships, shipping those vehicles to their own dealership, and then selling them. In doing so, traditional dealerships had to follow the regulations set by the state and region. It makes sense that car dealerships started paying attention to Carvana’s too-good-to-be-true business model.

Should car buyers trust Carvana?

Dealers are wary of Carvana, but that only makes sense considering the company is cutting into their car sales. However, should buyers trust Carvana? The answer isn’t a strict yes or no. Like any other product and service, consumers have to determine the best choice. Some pros and cons worth considering are:

Pros of Carvana

  • Anyone accustomed to online shopping will have no problem navigating the site and choosing their vehicle.
  • The site offers its own financing.
  • The vehicle choices are astronomical. There are many, many, many kinds of vehicles available.
  • Each vehicle is inspected and certified by Carvana. 
  • Carvana provides CarFax documents and offers a seven-day return guarantee.

Cons of Carvana

  • No test drives are allowed.
  • Online pictures might not show all vehicle damage or engine issues.
  • You may end up paying more than you would at a dealership, in part because of shipping and delivery costs.

According to a spokesperson from Florida, Carvana applied for approximately 23,500 titles in the past year. News station WFLA reported that over 100 titles were delayed. The odds aren’t stacked up against you, but if you are one of the few who experience paperwork delays, then the inconvenience might not be worth it.

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