InvestigatorsMatter for Mallory


Carvana customer waits six months for Maryland license plates

Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 07:11:39-05

BALTIMORE — Drivers are experiencing all kinds of delays when it comes to renewing licenses, titling, and registration but a Maryland man did not expect a six-month wait after he bought a car from Carvana.

Gregory Coulson decided to shop with Carvana after seeing a commercial advertising zero hidden fees.

“The truck dealers charge $500 for paperwork,” said Coulson.

He checked out the company’s website and found a truck he liked.

“Looked at prices of dealers and so forth, competitive with dealer prices. They advertise no fees, so I went ahead and did all the paperwork and now I have a truck without a license plate,” said Coulson.

When he purchased the truck in August, it came with temporary tags from Georgia. Coulson figured he’d get his Maryland plates soon, instead, he received temporary tags from Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee.

“The mistaken temporary tag that’s still available on my computer is for somebody else’s vehicle in New York City and, incidentally, it’s a Tennessee tag. It’s not a New York tag, it’s a Tennessee tag,” Coulson said.

The law requires dealers to issue Maryland temporary tags on vehicles registered in Maryland and submit all required documents, taxes and fees within 30 days of delivery.

Coulson said he hasn’t felt comfortable driving his new truck without Maryland paperwork.

“I got an Ohio sticker on my plate, I got a Maryland license in my pocket, and, you know, I’m suspicious looking guy,” said Coulson.

He had difficulties getting a Carvana representative on the phone but conveyed his frustrations through text messages. He also couldn't get a straight answer on when he'd receive his Maryland tags.

After WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii contacted Carvana, a member of its executive resolution team reached out on January 19. Carvana eventually confirmed they mailed his information on January 30.

“If they can send a FedEx package, they could’ve done that back in August,” said Coulson.

Sofastaii asked a Carvana media relations representative what caused the delay. She didn’t respond to Sofastaii’s requests for an interview and didn’t answer any questions. She wrote: “We were able to work with the customer to ensure his concern was resolved.”

“I mean there's no reason it should take six months, none at all,” said Coulson.

MDOT MVA met with Carvana’s corporate counsel to gain clarification on this issue.

"Carvana is a registered dealer in Maryland, but due to their business model, this sale is technically an out-of-state transaction and is not subject to Maryland’s 30 day titling and temporary tag requirements. Only vehicles sold from Carvana’s location in Gaithersburg are considered in-state transactions. Carvana’s representatives said they will follow up with the customer directly with a status update."

-Whitney Nichels, MDOT MVA spokesperson

Last week, Coulson finally received his Maryland tags and a sum of money as a gesture of goodwill.

Last March, Governor Hogan ordered an extension of all driver's and business licenses, identification cards, and registrations that expire during the state of emergency. The new expiration date will be 30 days after the state of emergency expires.