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Military and civilian personnel transferring out of Italy can no longer grant someone else a power of attorney to sell their vehicles for them.

The change took effect March 1, according to Lt. Cmdr. David Murree, director of the Naples-based Central Motor Vehicle Registration Office. All U.S. military base registration offices in Italy fall under the control of the Naples office.

Murree said that change came after Italian Ministry of Finance officials asked that the practice be stopped.

All civilian vehicles brought to Italy by servicemembers or Defense Department civilians are imported without being taxed and are expected to be shipped out of the country at the completion of the owner’s tour.

Vehicles also can be sold to other servicemembers or DOD civilians without the seller having to pay any Italian import tax. Not all of those cars, however, have been sold or shipped out, leading the finance ministry officials to make the request, Murree said.

“The whole issue is people leaving ‘junkers’ here,” he said.

There might be a bright side for those wanting to purchase cars, however. As people’s transfer dates get closer, sellers might have to lower their prices for quick sales, meaning that it might be a buyer’s market at base used car lots.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Howard Mann of Naval Hospital Naples is transferring to Japan in May, and he is one of those who will sell his car no matter what.

“Even if I couldn’t sell it, I’d give it away for a dollar or just junk it,” said Mann.

“I’ve never done it, and I’m not confident doing it,” he said about using a power of attorney. “I’m not one to put it on someone else.”

Neither would Amanda Stertz and her husband, Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Stertz. They own three cars, two of which they purchased here. They brought a 1980 Trans Am with them from the States.

“Our plan has always been to take the Trans Am back with us,” said Amanda. “When we bought the cars, we didn’t spend a whole lot of money on them. So if we sell it for really cheap, it won’t really put us out anything.”

But for the majority of people, the change means that those getting ready to transfer and who also want to get rid of their cars will have to plan ahead, Murree said.

Murree said there will be occasions when people are allowed to grant another person a power of attorney to sell their car. Naples base commander Capt. Floyd Hehe will be able to grant requests on a case-by-case basis.

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