Tuesday is the last day for car dealerships to register with a new online system now required by the DMV. This system, called VERIFI, is moving paper processes like titles and sales records to electronic form. While the system was created to streamline the process, it has local used car dealers worried about how they'll be able to adapt to keep up.
"Most of us can do these processes ad transactions for a customer in 4 or 5 minutes," says Joseph Hallick, owner of Select Motorcars in Endwell, "Once this is on the computer, we might not be able to do it at all and if we can it could take several hours."
Around 15 used car dealership owners are gathered in Joe's Endwell shop. Most have been in this business for more than four decades. That's usually an advantage, but with this situation, they say it puts them in the position of wondering if they will be able to catch up.
"We're all 60 and 70 years old. We work 6 days a week, 70 hours a week, we haven't had time to become computer literate," says Hallick. Behind him, his colleagues echo that thought with, "we're all the same" and "I'm in the same situation."
The DMV website says all you need is a standard computer and internet connection, but these dealers point out that in itself is a cost they haven't budgeted for. Hallick says he would need to pay for high speed internet, a reliable computer, and a tablet to take customer signatures for electronic forms. And not being comfortable with a computer, Hallick says he can't afford to bring on another employee just to work the system.
"The new dealerships, they're just pawning it off to the office," says Hallick, "We don't have that."
"This is really absurd for a small dealer," says Andy Halavik, he and his wife own and operate Mr. Motors on Front Street in Binghamton.
Halavik and the others say they were only given ten days notice to comply.
"And they told us that if you're not signed up and you're not on line with it you're not going to be able to do business," says Larry Curtiss, owner of Lawrence N Curtiss Used Cars in Endicott.
"This is the first time in 50 years, I don't know what I'm gonna do," says John Selzak, owner of John R Selzak Dealership in Binghamton.
Curtiss also says there are too many unanswered questions with the new system. He wonders how it will work when selling cars to out of state customers when other states want that paper trail, not electronic records.
This group has taken their concerns to Senator Fred Akshar's Office.
"This is exactly what happens when you don't engage the stakeholders at every level," says Akshar.
Akshar says the decision was made by the DMV and Governor Andrew Cuomo, but he'll continue to advocate for the small dealerships.