Navy policy reversal makes it easier to sell cars when leaving Italy
October 21, 2006
NAPLES, Italy — Navy officials are rescinding a 7-month-old policy that prevented outgoing sailors and civilians from granting a power of attorney to someone to help sell their vehicles for them.
Rear Adm. Noel Preston, commander of Navy Region Europe, overturned the policy Wednesday, making at least one aspect of the transfer process a bit more convenient, especially for those who leave on short notice, spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder said.
The policy was put in place in March after Italian Ministry of Finance officials asked that the power-of-attorney practice be stopped.
“The whole issue is people leaving ‘junkers’ here,” Lt. Cmdr. David Murree, director of the Naples-based Central Motor Vehicle Registration Office, said at the time.
But now, people leaving Italy can get a limited power of attorney for the purpose of selling a car.
The contracts expire 90 days from the date the documents are signed, and the person doing the selling — called an “agent” or a “grantee” — assumes responsibly for the vehicle, Snyder said.
The change gives members more time to sell a vehicle because it doesn’t have to be done before their departure date. And the new instruction eliminates loopholes that existed before March’s suspension, putting much more responsibility on agents to properly take care of the sale or disposal of vehicles, Snyder said.
For example, after 90 days, vehicles not sold must be scrapped. And if an agent simply abandons the vehicle, the agent could be liable to cover costs, such as towing, she said.
Stricter controls or not, the reversal was welcomed by some.
“I think that’s a great idea. It allows a lot more flexibility to members to sell their vehicles, and maybe will mean fewer abandoned vehicles in the parking garages,” said Mike Nosek, a civilian trying to sell a 1991 Chrysler Plymouth Minivan on a friend’s behalf. His friend, a reservist who left on short notice, received a waiver to the old instruction from the base’s commander, granting Nosek the authority to act as an agent in selling the van.
Preston’s edict applies to all Navy bases in Italy.
Vehicles that servicemembers or Defense Department civilians bring to Italy are imported without being taxed, and therefore are expected to be shipped out of the country at the end of the owner’s tour.
But not all cars were making it out of the country. Some people sell their vehicles to other members, which is permissible. Others simply abandoned them, leaving the Navy pick up the tab for their disposal.