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Triangle dealers waiting for 'Clunkers' money

Posted August 24, 2009

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— The Transportation Department extended the deadline Monday for auto dealers to submit their Cash for Clunkers deals, giving them more time to make sure they get repaid under the popular $3 billion government rebate program. Some Triangle dealerships say while the program boosted sales, it also had its setbacks.

“We sold a lot of cars. The program was successful, and the only part that is a downfall is getting the money from the government. It’s been very slow and frustrating,” said Bill McNamara, with Auto Park Honda-Cary.

McNamara said the paperwork, along with the wait for government reimbursement, had been a hindrance for the 2100 Auto Park Blvd. dealership.

“One customer came in and wanted to know what do I have to do to qualify for the Cash for Clunkers. We told him, ‘You need to have patience because the paperwork takes a lot of time,’” McNamara said.

Dealers hit 'clunkers' obstacles Dealers hit 'clunkers' obstacles

The extra paperwork was particularly time consuming since it had to fit the federal guidelines exactly or it was rejected, McNamara said. A reject meant dealers wouldn’t get reimbursed for the $3,500 to $4,500 knocked off the price of a new car.

“The customer doesn't really have a big of risk because they've got their new car and we don't have our money yet,” McNamara said.

Computer problems have plagued the Clunkers program, as it proved far more popular than government officials expected. A rush of filings also bombarded the online system earlier this month when it appeared the first $1 billion Congress set aside would run out just days after sales began. Transportation officials later expanded its computer network capacity and tripled the number of staffers working on the program.

Of Auto Park Honda's roughly 160 Cash for Clunkers deals, the dealership has been paid only for seven, McNamara said. The numbers are even lower for Capital Ford of Raleigh.

“It’s close to a little over $1 million,” Jerry Mosley, with Capital Ford of Raleigh, said of the government money the dealership is waiting on.

The 4900 Capital Blvd. dealership has made about 400 deals under the program, but has only received government reimbursement for two, Mosley said.

“We know we're going to get it. It's just that it came so hard and so fast, and I don't think anybody realized that the public was going to be so excited about participating in the program,” Mosley said.

Dealers now have until noon Tuesday to submit the necessary paperwork, after the deadline was pushed back from 8 p.m. Monday. All sales under the program ended Monday evening.

The change came after government computers set up to handle the filings buckled under a flood of dealers trying to send in their sales agreements at the last minute. Under the original plan, those deals that weren't submitted on time wouldn't be repaid, leaving many dealers fearful that they would be left on the hook for clunker sales they made.

Clunkers that without government reimbursement aren't worth much to the dealerships, according to Mosley.

“Hopefully we can get rid of them (clunkers) one day,” Mosley said.

44 Comments

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  • Lyle Aug 26, 2009

    Maybe it sounds like the percentage of stupid dealers is 80%.

  • Lerxst Aug 25, 2009

    80% rejection rate!? Sounds like the requirements and paperwork were not as simple as they thought it was.

  • Lyle Aug 25, 2009

    "In 2008, I traded a gas guzzler for a new Toyota Corolla and nobody gave me $4500 to help with my purchase". Was that the guy you voted for?

    And in 2009, somebody else is (the guy you didn't vote for?), and ya missed the boat.

    I guess I'd call that a case of bad timing!

  • Lyle Aug 25, 2009

    For those of you who think the dealers won't be paid, what assurance do you that YOUR employer will pay you next week? How do you know the gov't will send you your tax refund each year (if you are entitled to one)?

    To participate in this program, dealers had to do their homework. And slog through paperwork. And satisfy some pretty simply requirements, just like the customer did. Bottom line is, they made a sale they MIGHT not have made otherwise. Additionally, if you think your taxes are buying my car, that's as ludicrous as me yelling at your kid to get off the jungle gym that my taxes paid for.

    Are you American? Then let's pull together, like your parents and mine did, instead of trying (futilely) to be "right" all the time.

  • HockeyRules Aug 25, 2009

    "In 2008, I traded a gas guzzler for a new Toyota Corolla and nobody gave me $4500 to help with my purchase.

    Why should I pay taxes to fund someones purchase in 2009 just because we have a Socialist Spread the Wealth President in the White House"

    Someone needs a WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMBULANCE

  • Lerxst Aug 25, 2009

    I certainly hope these car dealers get the money that is owed to them. I certainly wouldn't hold my breath though!! - mjones3

    At a rejection rate of 80%, don't count on it.

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2086995/cash_for_clunkers_last_gasp_popular.html

    "Just yesterday, media reports sharply critical of the Transportation Department's handling of Cash for Clunkers expressed widespread auto dealer outrage over dragging reimbursement claims and alarmingly high claim rejection rates: four out of every five claims submitted were rejected according to NHTSA. NHTSA attributed the high rejection rates to dealers improperly filling out required forms"

    Hope those dealers dotted their i's and crossed their t's.

  • mjones3 Aug 25, 2009

    I certainly hope these car dealers get the money that is owed to them. I certainly wouldn't hold my breath though!!

  • ThinkChick Aug 25, 2009

    And this is the Keystone Kops administration who wants to take my health care into their hands...

    NO THANK you...

    Seen this video yet?http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/22/video-marine-goes-nuclear-on-democrat-over-obamacare/

  • Pandoras Box Aug 25, 2009

    My bad, small calculator! :) Take one look at our schools and it's no wonder our economy is the way it is. Teachers are hired and then fired in the same year because of funding. Student programs are cut to the bare minimum. Our education is so lacking it is unreal. Take even a portion of his recent spending and invest it in something that will actually last. Even a fraction of that large deficit spent on education would help. I don't mind investing in our children, but I have a problem with giving my money to someone that should have purchased their car by themselves.

  • working for deadbeats Aug 25, 2009

    It was a gov't program. What did these dealers expect?

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