Wednesday, October 13, 2010

DMV Bureaucracy

I posted this particular diatribe earlier this year, then retracted it after a day, and rewrote it. Here it is again:

Somehow in last year’s move, I misplaced the title to my car. My husband told me to check the firebox, but I did not see it in there. And, so began an adventure. I read the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) websites for the information I needed. I could not get tags for my present state of residence until I had a new title from my previous state. You might be able to understand my frustration with the DMV of my previous state of residence, as it posts the following unclear information below:

Where to Apply

You may apply for a replacement title at either your county tag office or the in-person Customer Service Operations of this department's Motor Vehicle Division. If you apply in-person through the Customer Service Operations on a 'while you wait' basis, there will be an additional $10.00 special handling fee charged per application. At this time, the county tag offices in this state do not issue titles.

If you are now a resident of another state and you have lost your title, you may apply for a replacement title at either this department's Motor Vehicle Division or at the tag offices in the county where you previously resided.

Save money! Apply at your county tag office. Most title applications processed at any of the county tag offices in this state result in the printing and mailing of the titles by this department's Motor Vehicle Division within three (3) business days of the county's entry and approval at no additional charge.

So, let me get this straight. The first paragraph says to apply at the county tag office and then says that office does not issue titles. If you come in person, you will be charged ten dollars and still do not get to walk out with your title. So, where does the title come from? And why are you charged ten dollars to just hand in your application in person to someone who won’t go through the extra trouble of printing your title for you on the spot? So why go there at all?

The second paragraph says that if you live in another state you can apply to the DMV or county tag offices (not that they will process your application). I believe this was largely covered in the first paragraph, and frankly the link to this web page was titled “If you are no longer a resident of this state”, so…

The third paragraph says you can save money by applying at the county tag office (which cannot really help you). The DMV will then print and mail your title. But I believe the first paragraph says if you do it in person, you will be charged ten dollars. So really, that does not save you money, now does it? Interestingly, this paragraph promises the mailing of your title in three days.

The form that I printed off the web shows that in order to have an expedited title, I need to pay a $10 fee in addition to the $8 replacement fee. According to the above quoted site, however, most title applications are approved and sent after three days with no additional charge. Define most. So, I wondered, do I do what the form says, or what the site says in regard to the fee? Is this some kind of trap or game?

Also, because I no longer live in the state of this particular DMV, I cannot apply in person. When I click the links of “department’s Motor Vehicle Division” and “tag offices”, I am directed to a site that shows office addresses and phone numbers. No specific information for my case exists there. There are email links, however. I fear that if I use them, an automatic response will direct me to call. I tried that. Twice. Two waits for ten minutes with automatic disconnection at the end of each wait period. And by the way, clicking the various highlighted links in the online text sent me in circles.

The entire web page (the site really) should be rewritten to say something effective, for crying out loud, like maybe the following:

If you are no longer a resident of the state of X and need to replace a lost or mutilated title, print out the form MV-1, fill it out, and mail it with copies of your current driver’s license (or whatever) to the state’s main DMV branch.

Please include the $8 fee in a check or money order for processing.

If you are able to visit our offices in person, please note that we charge an extra processing fee of $10, but that the new title will still have to be mailed to you.

Click on these links for addresses and phone numbers of the DMV branch you wish to contact:

(Main Department of Motor Vehicles for the State of X

Listing of tag offices by county.)

How hard is that??

So, having followed directions to the best of my ability and having mailed the application, I waited a couple of weeks and called the DMV again. This time, someone answered the phone and transferred me to someone else, who when I told her what the website said in regard to time, process, and fees, laughed at me.

“No,baby. It’s going take about a month to get your title. Maybe longer.”

I asked her if she was able to report to whomever managed the website that none of the information posted is correct. She laughed again. She still would not confirm if I had sent the right amount of money either.

“Can you enter the system and see if my application has been received?” I asked politely.

“No, baby. The only way you know if your application got here is if it has been processed. And then it shows up on the system.”

Well, now, this does not help me at all, I thought, and resigned myself to waiting. Finally, the title did come. The DMV office in my new state processed everything in front of me in fifteen minutes, printed a new title immediately, and I had a new plate in no more than a week’s time. I was not charged extra for showing up in person, nor did the state website provide unclear or untrue information. Beautiful, I thought happily.

Months passed, and my husband was cleaning out his firebox one afternoon. Guess what he found? My old title. Weeks of aggravation and dollars wasted.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be kind, be thoughtful. Words travel.

I approve comments and if I am busy, you might have to wait a day or two to see your ideas posted. So sorry for when that happens.