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Stock paper supply chain issues impacting local auto dealer

TULSA, Okla. — The supply chain issues impacting car dealers go beyond the chip shortage. Now, a stock paper shortage could delay their ability to get car titles.

Rhonda Pruitt and her husband Chris own a used dealership in Tahlequah. For the past 13 years, they’ve been putting their heart, soul, and money into their business.

“This is how we feed our family; this is how my employees feed their family,” Rhonda said.

Last Friday, The Oklahoma Tax Commission notified them about a delay in printing car titles due to a stock paper shortage. The commission told them they would prioritize titles that are needed for transactions and title transfers. This means instead of taking three weeks to process the title, it could take up to three months.

“It could be up to 12 weeks before we get our money after we sell the vehicle and we’ve already paid the car off and we’ve already paid off the trade in that the customer brought into us so we’re waiting 12 weeks for our money,” Chris said.

They said their customers are feeling the impact as well.

“My customer wants her title. She paid for her car. And this morning she was very upset with us because we could not provide her with her title and felt like we were trying to scam her, and I explained to her the state is behind on titles now and it could take a while,” Chris said.

His car dealership has even started handing out notices to their customers to make them aware of the title delays when they make a purchase.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission says if you buy a car in the state and don’t get a title right then, you can register the Vehicle at a local tag agency. All you have to do is provide proof of ownership such as a bill of sale.

The commission said this will prevent penalties, allow a license plate to be assigned to the car, and create a certificate of registration to be kept in the vehicle.

But this could impact those needing hard copies of titles to transfer to another entity or to register the vehicle out of state.

“We also trade and purchase Cherokee Nation cars and vehicles at the auction, and those according to banks, when you apply for a loan and get a loan from the bank…those are considered out of state titles,” Rhonda said.

The commission said it started a priority print schedule to make sure those titles are printed within the requirements, but Chris said he’s not sure how effective it will be when every car dealer requests an expedited car-title at the same time.

That’s why he’s asking the state to grant them a grace period.

“All I would like to do, is see the state of Oklahoma give us the same courtesy they’re asking us to give them. Let me have some time to give the title to the customer,” Chris said.

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