Cash for Clunkers Filing Time Extended

August 24, 2009 9:44:51 PM PDT
For car owners--the rebate program ends Monday night. But officials have extended the deadline for car dealers filing "Cash for Clunkers" claims until 9am Tuesday. Action News reporter John-Thomas Kobos shows us how a bogged-down website and long waits on the phone forced the D.O.T. to extend their program."Thank you for calling the department of transportation cars information hotline." All day long ... nothing but a recording. "We are experiencing an unusually high call volume."

On the internet the Cash for Clunkers website could be renamed 'Crash' for clunkers.

"It's a process. It's long. It's exhausting. Doing the same thing, trying to make sure the documents are there," said assistant sales manager Mario Salcedo at Clawson Honda.

Over the last 48 hours he has been sitting here trying to beat the Monday 5-pm deadline for submitting clunker claims.

Salcedo: "I even brought my kids here yesterday. They were over there playing in the play room, so I brought them in. So I'm over here doing some work."

However, Salcedo and other dealers in town can breathe a short sigh of relief now that the government has extended the claim deadline to Tuesday at 9-am.

"There's been no surprises about this because everything's a surprise," said Future Ford sales manager James Cagle. He's been through it all.

Cagle saw the program run out of money in just four days only to see it get a two billion dollar boost. He's also watched the guidelines change for who qualifies and now this ...

"We're just waiting to get on the website. Yes, it's been down all day," said sales manager Debbie Clark.

Just as the program is coming to an end Clark cannot get online to check on the status of their reimbursements. "At this point it's kind of a crap-shoot," she said.

Notice Clark's wrist. She's literally feeling the pain after spending the last 48 hours at her computer with limited breaks. Clark said the Department of Transportation should have been more prepared.

Clark: "If I could get in right now I would show you I have 96 claims submitted and not one accepted and not one paid."

Back at Clawson general sales manager Manuel Prito was reimbursed on 13 of 110 cars.

"We've had a very good success. A very good run. We've gotten rid of a lot of our inventory," said Prito.

Prito kept the clunker sale running until 3-pm Monday, two hours before it was supposed to stop. That meant the Chohan family, who waited until the last minute, could cash in on a good deal.

Daljit Chohan: "We're just trying to make everything work. gathering all the documents. You need a lot of papers."

Papers that must be processed by Tuesday morning or many valley dealers could be stuck with tough-to-sell clunkers.

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