Monday, June 28, 2010

Waiting for the Title Guru

I have been having some problems getting a tag for the state in which I currently reside. I take responsibility for the fact that I lived here nearly eleven months before beginning to fill out the necessary application, but at least I managed to accomplish a state inspection and have that sticker on my windshield. Note that the state inspection process revealed a severely deteriorating chassis. Around $1200 later, I now have a car with new ball bearings, a replaced headlight, new wiring, and a myriad of other improvements, so I really wish the grand guru of tags and titles would wave his wand and expedite the rest of the process. The bulk of my problem lies in waiting for my previous state of residence to send me a new title. Somehow, in the move, I lost the original. I did not discover this problem until I returned home from the mechanic’s.

I blogged about my initial experience with my former state’s motor vehicle website, but after a day or two removed the statement because it was just a lot of whining no one really needed hear. I had found the motor vehicle site to be unclear and have contradicting information, which is frustrating considering it should be written for the general public. What I could finally ascertain from multiple rereadings of the site was this: send an $8 fee, send in a certain form and copies of your driver’s license, the title is processed internally in a three day period, and mailed out again. If you go in person, a customer service person will charge you an extra fee; if you want it rushed, a customer service person will charge you an extra fee; if you want to walk out with your title, you need to go the state’s main branch. According to the woman I spoke with on the phone, none of this is true. I know because when I asked about the three day processing described online, she began laughing.

Yes, today, after a month of silence from the motor vehicle people, I called to ask if we could track the process of my application. Apparently, this process takes weeks. In fact, there is no such thing as checking the progress of my paperwork. Your VIN appears in the system only when approved. I told the lady on the phone, and yes, I was very nice about the whole thing, that their website is badly written and promises what cannot be delivered.

Who is in charge of relaying this information and why are these websites so horribly wrong? The driver’s license bureau of that same state has the same problem—thus making my first effort to get a driver’s license in that state a two DMV trip experience. Nothing is easy whenever government bureaucracy is involved. So if I get a ticket for driving with an expired tag while I wait for someone 530 miles away to open their mail, which is really what the lady described to me today, you’ll hear about it.

And just to let you know, here in the glorious state I currently live, actual wait times for customer service at the DMV centers are posted online. All the information for attaining my license was correctly listed on the website. I was in and out of the center in less than 30 minutes. I believe I waited for less than five. The office was large, clean, and modern. The clerk who handled my application even had a sense of humor. I was given a temporary paper license and the actual one arrived in the mail a few days later. Why they do this here, I don’t know, but the visit went so smoothly that I cannot complain. I hope everything will be this simple when it comes to registering for a new tag in this state as well. If not, you will read my vent here again, too.

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