Customers of an online car dealer who never received their titles are fighting back through arbitration.
Channel 2 Action News Investigates first reported back in the Spring of 2022 how Vroom customers from Georgia and all across the country were going months and even years without titles for vehicles they purchased on the website.
For 18 months, Derrick Willies had to leave his 2015 Tesla parked in his Buckhead garage.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
He bought it through Vroom, but did not receive the title.
“Literally, it was like I didn’t even own the car. I was in possession of a car I didn’t own,” Willies told Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray.
After twice being pulled over by police with temporary tags that eventually expired, Willies kept the car parked except for late-night runs to a charging station every few weeks to keep the electronic vehicle’s battery going.
“It sat in my parking spot. Actually, I had people come up to me asking if I was interested in selling it, because I never drove it,” Willies said.
He fought back through arbitration.
Because of language in Vroom contracts, customers can not file lawsuits and are bound to the arbitration process.
But after a two-year battle, Willies was able not just to get his title, but also a more than $20,000 arbitration judgment against Vroom.
“Arbitration is the route they make you go, but you can get relief there,” Willies’ attorney, Jarrett Faber, said.
The law firm Faber works for, Kneupper & Covey, is handling more than 200 Vroom title arbitration disputes.
Faber said they have multiple arbitration hearings each week.
The company also has faced legal action in Florida and Texas.
“This is just a complete failure of systems and that’s something Vroom has acknowledged in earnings calls and internally. That this is something they didn’t have the proper systems to fix,” Faber said.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
Vroom said it has made significant progress to fix the titling issues.
In an end-of-quarter earnings call in November, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Bob Krakowiak told investors, “We’ve seen significant improvement in our titling and registration process with 98% of customers receiving the registration before the expiration of their temporary tag in October.”
Vroom told Channel 2 Action News in a statement: “Vroom is committed to creating the best customer experience possible which includes working with consumers to create solutions on any transactions that fall short of that standard. Over the last year, our focus has been on improving our titling and registration process with the goal of becoming best-in-class in this category.”
Even after the arbitration judgment in his favor, Derrick Willies said the experience with Vroom has caused him to fall out of love with his dream car.
“It was the car of my dreams. It was like my last car I wanted to buy, but having to wait over a year and half to drive it, I was over it,” Willies said.
IN OTHER NEWS: