MUSKOGEE COUNTY — Used cars are a hot commodity.
Prices are up just over 40%, according to the U-S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sky-rocketing prices are due in part to scarcity brought on by the pandemic, which triggered supply chain and workforce issues.
Buying vehicles online can certainly be convenient, and may even save you some cash. But before you buy online, beware.
Just ask Grant Howell, in Muskogee County.
2 News found him on his ranch, feeding his cattle, just like he does every day. We discovered he loves life on his 340-acre home for more than 100 head of cattle.
“This is my getaway, some people go to the lake, some go fishing and hunting, this is what I enjoy,” Grant says.
His wife and two little girls enjoy it, too. Especially his two little ranch hands, who’ve taken to the cows and calves and life on the land. The cows, in particular.
“They love it, they’ve got, there’s a couple of them in here, you’ll see they’ve got Disney character tags on them, that they’ve named.”
It didn't take long, to spot one of those namesakes.
“She’s actually standing over there, that’s Daisy, she’s got a little baby.”
Daisy, we're told, belongs to two-year-old Blakely Kollins. Then, there's Brynlee Kate's favorite bovine, which the four-year-old found for sale, online.
“Now we have a Watusi, her name is Anna from Frozen, something my little Brenlee Kate wanted."
But just getting out to the pasture takes a heavy-duty, four-wheel-drive vehicle, that can tackle the terrain, all those rough ruts, and many times, the messy mud, from flooding rains.
“When you buy a vehicle, you buy one that you want, that’s what I did, I bought one that I could use what I needed it for, and that’s not really working out right now.”
Not working out after what started last summer. That daily trek out here to the pasture ran into roadblocks, when Grant's ole faithful, his trusted pickup for years, finally have up the ghost.
That’s when he decided to buy another pickup online through Vroom. The purchase went off without a hitch, Grant says. But that was last June, 10 months ago.
“Everything starting out was perfect, I was like, this is going to work out.”
Not so quick, though, Grant soon found out.
When the 30-day temporary tag expired, he couldn't get a permanent one, because he never received the title from Vroom. Without a tag, that pickup has had to sit idle, even though Grant's making $500 a month payments, and so far has paid more than a thousand bucks for insurance.
“I think I’ll pay for (the truck), but I don’t think I’ll be able to drive it.”
After four months went by, Grant says his patience, of which he has plenty, ran thin.
“At that point, I didn’t know what else to do. I fought with them, and fought with them until they gave me a rental truck.”
Since November, Vroom has been paying for that rental, to the tune of $2,700 a month.
At least for now, it's that rental Grant uses every day, to tend to the cattle, he puts feed in the back and his girls in the front. All as he still waits for the title to his pickup.
“I’m really not a person that causes problems or who wants to cause conflict, but at this point, I’ve given up and now it’s like I’ve got to do something.”
As he tries to exhaust every option regarding his pickup, Grant says he hears a lot of excuses, he says, a lot of idle talks.
“Someone will call within 48 hours. I can’t tell you how many 48 hours I’ve waited and never gotten a call.”
After Grant contacted the Problem Solvers, we touched base with Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle Commission.
We found out Vroom isn’t licensed in Oklahoma, which isn’t great news for Grant and his delayed title.
“Right now, he doesn’t have any possible recourse, other than possibly talking to an attorney,” says Brian Wilson, a representative with the commission.
Legal action is the state’s only option, as well, Wilson says, when an unlicensed dealer does business in Oklahoma.
“But we try to do everything we can to avoid taking them to court, we issue cease and desist, and we work with them thru the process of getting licensed,” Wilsons tells us.
Wilson says Vroom is working with the commission to become licensed here.
When we contacted Vroom, a representative told us, “Thanks for reaching out. We’ve shared these details with the team and they’re looking into this now.”
And indeed, Grant just received an email, saying his title issues should be resolved in four to five weeks.
Still, Grant is a bit skeptical. After all, he's been waiting since last June, to get the title, and to be able to legally drive the pickup to be bought.
“Everyone’s like just quit paying for it, well, no, because then that ruins my credit, ruins everything I’ve worked for.”
For his family, for his little girls, who love it out on their land.
“My oldest just thinks it is the coolest thing in the world to hand feed a cow, she freaks out when the slobber gets on her you know, but she still thinks it’s the coolest thing.”
Grant can only hope his title will eventually come through, so he can put his pickup problems in the rear view mirror, and focus forward, on his family and the rewards of living on the ranch.
Contact the Problem Solvers:
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --