Bill would remove the requirement for auto dealers to transfer title within 30 days

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The bill tabled just four days after state regulators used this law to give Carvana dealership until the end of January to fix the mess of headlines

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – When you buy a vehicle in Florida, dealers are required by law to request the transfer of title to your name within 30 days. If they don’t, the state can fine the reseller or even suspend or revoke their license.

This law is what gives regulators the power to ensure that consumers can register their cars in their name.

But State Senator Tom Wright of Volusia County has introduced a bill that would remove the requirement, and critics say it gives dealers more power and clamps down on consumers.

Senate Bill 1346 would amend existing legislation so that a merchant no longer “has to” obtain title in the buyer’s name. Instead, the bill would replace “must” with “should”. The bill literally strikes out the words that give power to state regulators.

Wright did not respond to calls from consumer investigator Shannon Behnken to explain his motivation, but Pasco County tax collector Mike Fasano, whose office handles titles, was stunned when he was informed of this bill.

“It would have a major consequence,” said Fasano. “First, if you don’t require the dealership to hand over a title to the new owner in their name within a certain amount of time or maybe never, that owner or new owner has never really owned the car. “

This would mean that they could not get a permanent license plate. This is exactly what my ongoing Better Call Behnken investigation revealed to Carvana customers. On December 17, state regulators responded, giving Carvana until the end of January to resolve title issues or risk losing its license.

Wright’s bill was introduced four days later. Fasano calls the moment “suspect”.

“My question would be: what makes you think of that? asked Fasano. “I mean most lawmakers don’t even have a clue that a title transfer has to be done within 30 days, so to come up with legislation like this someone must have whispered to you at the ear.”

The bill would also remove the ability of the state to revoke a concessionaire’s license for failure to transfer title. Fasano says that means the state couldn’t force a dealer like Carvana to do anything.

“They would have no recourse,” he said.


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