The bill was filed just four days after state regulators used the law to give the Carvana dealership until the end of January to fix the title mess.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – When you buy a vehicle in Florida, dealerships 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 dealer or even suspend or revoke their license.
This law is what gives regulators the power to ensure consumers can register their cars in their name.
But State Sen. Tom Wright of Volusia County has introduced a bill that would remove that requirement, and critics say it gives dealerships more power and cuts consumers.
Senate Bill 1346 would change existing legislation so that a dealer no longer “must” obtain title in the buyer’s name. Instead, the bill would replace “must” with “should”. The proposed bill literally deletes 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 securities, was stunned when he said. been informed of this bill.
“It would have a major consequence,” Fasano said. “One, if you don’t require the dealership to deliver a title to the new owner on their behalf within a certain time frame or perhaps ever, that owner or new owner never actually owned the car.”
That would mean they couldn’t get a permanent license plate. That’s exactly what my ongoing survey of Better Call Behnken revealed about 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 timing “suspicious”.
“My question would be what makes you even think of that?” Fasano asked. “I mean most legislators don’t even have a clue that the transfer of a title has to be completed within 30 days, so to come up with legislation like that, someone must have whispered to you at the ear.”
The bill would also remove the state’s ability to revoke a dealer’s license for failure to transfer title. Fasano says that means the state can’t force a dealer like Carvana to do anything.
“They would have no recourse,” he said.