Cash For Clunkers Filing Deadline Extended

Posted: August 25, 2009

Cash for Clunkers is over, but if you squeaked in under the deadline with a late-Monday deal, you can relax about the paperwork.  The government has extended the deadline for dealers to submit applications for vouchers.

The Los Angeles Times reports, "The $3-billion "cash for clunkers" program limped to a close for consumers Monday evening after packing an economic punch for the nation -- and a nightmare of red tape and computer glitches for dealerships that are owed millions of dollars by the government."  Dealers were required to stop completing Cash for Clunkers deals by 8 p.m. Monday.   Many stopped accepting the voucher-driven deals hours earlier, since program rules required them to submit all paperwork for each deal - a time-consuming process - by the same deadline.

Automotive News explains, "The original filing deadline was to be Monday at 8 p.m. EDT. That was postponed Monday afternoon until Tuesday at noon following a computer outage that has not yet ended after about 12 hours."  A second extension was granted late Monday night.  Dealers, unable to access the Department of Transportation's online system for submitting Cash for Clunkers claims, flooded the department with calls about the crash.  DOT spokesperson Jill Zuckerman "didn't specify a particular time for the deadline, and said it depended on how long it would take the government to get the clunkers Web site up so that dealers could file claims."

Program rules require dealers to complete transactions before applying for the government voucher, meaning the dealer is at risk for the value of the voucher if reimbursement is denied. The Dallas Morning News notes, "Under the original plan, those deals that weren't submitted on time would not be repaid, leaving many dealers fearful they would be left on the hook for clunker sales" that were made before the deadline, but not submitted because of the website's failure.

Dealers may also be at risk if, when the final tally is taken, they've submitted claims for more money than Congress allocated for the program.  The Detroit Free Press reports, "With the money in the program running low, Congress would have to approve any amount of claims from dealers over the $3 billion already granted, of which about $100 million will be needed to cover the government's operating costs."

The Cash for Clunkers program has wound down, but if you have any lingering questions, you may find answers on our Cash for Clunkers page. For the latest news on the program, check out Cash for Clunkers news.

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