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Hell Hath No Fury Like Clunker Sellers and Dealers

I asked, and you told me. Boy did you tell me.

I'd heard complaints of people trying to trade in their beaters through the Cash For Clunkers program and finding out dealers won't release the new car that's been bought until Uncle Sam approves the old car as a "clunker" and pays the dealer $4,500. I wanted to see how widespread the problem is. What I'm hearing is a slew of complaints from consumers AND dealers.

Many consumers want their new cars.

Leo in Auburn, Massachusetts told me, "I signed the papers on 15th of August. They submitted the paperwork on the 16'th. My new car is on the lot but I cannot get it until the dealership gets the check for the $4500."

Mark wrote, "I'm 2 weeks into "waiting for the paperwork to clear" before the dealer will release the car. They claim they are NOT waiting for the check, just the approval, but there is no way for me to independently confirm this."

Dealers say, "Wait! Don't blame us. Blame the system."

John Monninger, a Jeep dealer in Manhattan writes, "We submitted 2 deals on 8/3/09, another deal on 8/5/09 and one on 8/21/09. We have gotten a response on only one deal that was processed on 8/03/09. the response was on 8/21/09 that this deal could not be processed as proof was needed for title in wife's maiden name.Clearly this was not a well thought out or well executed plan."

Rob, a Ford dealer in Illinois was even more blunt. He says, "Now, on the last day of the program I have close to 30 deals done--vehicles delivered--clunkers sitting out back with 3 deals paid---27 sitting under review for days at a time. Phil, DO NOT MAKE THIS OUT TO BE A BAD DEALER SCENARIO. This is all about the Fed gov't not being prepared to fund these deals in an orderly fashion. It is 100% the dealers responsibility to determined if the consumer is eligible and if it is determined by the Fed that he was wrong---the consumer still got the new car, the gov't doesn't pay the doe, and the dealer is stuck with a $4500 piece of crap.This is 100% the fault of the federal gov't ----NOT THE DEALER."

Finally John Klein a dealer with several brands in Clintonville, Wisconsin summed it up by writing, "Are you insinuating that this is the dealers fault? Please give us a break. You think the dealers aren’t in clunker hell????"

Dealers are justifiably ticked off that the CARS website run by the Dept. Of Transportation has been slow or, according to many dealers, has crashed today. They are right in being furious about a system that has made Clunkers a drawn out and costly process.

At the same time, the rules on clunker sales clearly say buyers who make they deal should not have to wait for their new car. If dealers were unsure the old car would qualify for the government's $4,500 rebate, they shouldn't have made the sale.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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