‘Absolutely unacceptable’: Family waiting for car title months after online purchase

A Nebraska family says they are frustrated with car title delays after purchasing their vehicle online. (Source: WOWT)
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 5:23 PM CDT
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PAPILLION, Neb. (WOWT/Gray News) - Imagine making payments on a $41,000 vehicle that you can’t drive. A family in Nebraska says that’s exactly what’s happening.

Colt Wettstein and his wife told WOWT they have been frustrated for months after buying a used Chevrolet Tahoe online.

“We’re actually having to borrow a car from my mother-in-law, which actually doesn’t have enough seats to carry the family,” Wettstein said.

The Wettsteins said they bought a 2015 Tahoe with 60,000 miles from Carvana in mid-April. But the online dealer has yet to deliver a title, so the SUV has been unlicensed for 144 days.

“Finally, I’ve been escalated to the executive level for the non-drivable task force, but all they do is say, ‘Hey, we recommend getting an Uber, park your vehicle and wait until they locate the title,’” Wettstein said.

The family said they have gone through more than one in-transit form, but they have expired and are afraid to drive their vehicle.

An inability to insure an unregistered car isn’t their only concern.

“We get pulled over, the car gets towed, and we’re not able to get it from the tow company until we can prove registration,” Wettstein said.

Sarpy County Treasurer Trace Jones said a key to driving the unregistered Tahoe might be a letter of explanation on his letterhead.

“There’s no guarantee if they’re pulled over by law enforcement that they wouldn’t be cited, but at least it can help tell the situation and hopefully help them catch a break,” Jones said.

The treasurer has traced the title to New York, where a duplicate has been issued for the Tahoe.

“It should never take this long. It’s absolutely unacceptable. They issue temporary tags or dealer tags for 30 days. It should never take longer than that. But things happen, and it’s happened a lot with the online car sales,” Jones said.

Wettstein said he’ll be watching the mail from Carvana, but so far, it has brought only frustrating surprises.

“We received registration paperwork for a Subaru for a guy that lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’ve been getting documents for other people and they’ve been sending my documents to other people,” Wettstein said.

After contacting Carvana, Wettstein said he received a phone call from the online dealer apologizing. He said if the title isn’t sent soon, the company offered to take back the SUV and provide a full refund, including loan payments already made.

“We are working closely with the customer to resolve the issue and ensuring their needs are met,” a Carvana spokesperson said regarding the ongoing situation.