So far, my cash for clunkers experience has been nothing short of frustrating. I own an rusty, but road worthy 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a V8 engine. I get about 13 miles per gallon with the beast. I had planned to run it until there was nothing left, but when cash for clunkers was started, it only made sense to take advantage of the program. On a Friday, Chrysler announced they would provide up to a full match, making the cash for clunkers program even more appealing. On Saturday, July 26, I went to my local Chrysler dealer to get the details on cash for clunkers, so I could get into a new vehicle.
I chose a small, compact car, the Doge Caliber, as it is was one of the very few that would actually qualify for the cash for clunkers program, and a partial match by Chrysler in the amount of $3500. With the government kicking in the $4500, it would allow me to buy a brand new vehicle for a little under $12,000. I was super stoked. I was going to get a new car thanks to the cash for clunkers program!
The dealer informed me I would have to wait until Monday, for the program to officially start. I put down $100 to hold the new vehicle. Talk about exciting, I was only a couple of days away from a new car.
With the cash for clunkers program, you must provide proof of insurance and vehicle registration for the last year. After a few calls to my insurance agent, I had everything I needed to prove it was actually insured. I had my certificate of registration from the DMV from November 2008, which would expire in November of 2009. I have the registration from November 2006-2007, but not the one from 2007-2008. The dealer told me I would need to get that copy before I could qualify for the cash for clunkers program.
I headed off the DMV, but to my surprise, the Wisconsin DMV doesn't have the ability to get you a duplicate copy of registration for anything other than the current year. To get the copy from 2007-2008, which I need to qualify for the cash for clunkers program, I had to fill out a form and send it to the state. The turnaround time is about 2 weeks, so who knows if there will even be a cash for clunkers program left when it starts.
I went to the dealership, now fairly upset. It's Wednesday now, and the dealer informed me they still cannot access the government site they need to use the cash for clunkers program. The site is apparently locking everyone out and not working properly. The dealer now has no idea how they will get their money from the government, so they cannot sell me the car, with the cash for clunkers program discounts, until I have the registration from 2007, and until the government gets their act together.
So here I am, still driving around an old beater, not sure if I can take advantage of the cash for clunkers incentives. Will I be able to get that new car? Will my copy of registration arrive on time? Will there be any money left in the cash for clunkers program by the time I get my registration copy?
The dealers are sitting in the same boat, not sure how to proceed. Will they get their checks from the government? Will the cash for clunkers passwords and logins they were given ever actually work? Can they sell the cars now?
Sounds about right for the Federal Government, doesn't it? The cash for clunkers program sounds great, at least in theory. If the dealers cannot get access to what they need to sell the vehicles, and the citizens cannot buy the more fuel efficient vehicles, how much good will the cash for clunkers program really do?