Why I can't stand the California DMV.
First vehicle I bought in-state hadn't been registered in a few
years. Bringing it up to compliance, and registering it for all the
missed years? My problem.
Second vehicle, similar issues, wasted a whole day at the DMV to
find out I couldn't afford it until my next paycheck. Partially
Note that the DMV only takes pin-based debit, and cash. No cards.
Why? The possibility ot a chargeback? I can pay my federal taxes with
a card, so come on.
Any registrations are based on some anniversary date owned by the
vehicle. Thus, the car I bought in November comes due for
re-registration in April.
Ordering a vanity plate takes ten weeks.
When you order a plate, you can pay online for it (yes, that you can
pay with a credit card, but not a renewal), but it's due immediately,
non-refundably, and before your plate is approved.
Once they finish your plate, they are mailed to the nearest DMV
office (where you could presumably pay), not your home. You are then
told "make an appointment to go pick up your plates".
You are told when you get your notice that if you don't pick up your
plates in 30 days, they'll be destroyed, no refund.
When I got my notice, the NEXT AVAILABLE appointment was 29 days from
then. I wound up eating a day, standing around to pick up the plates.
In order to give you any new plates, they need your old ones, so you
basically have to leave your car sitting in the DMV lot with no plates.
(This is technically illegal), and you basically have to swap your
plates in their lot. (I can't, for example, imagine the elderly doing
this with a handicapped plate).
I got a renewal notice in the mail in mid february. I mailed it out
as soon as I got it, for $83, along with the stub they had included.
Two months early, just like my taxes. The stub listed my current
(non-vanity) plate on it. Check was made out for the 22nd, probably
mailed Feb 21st to arrive on feb 22nd, was deposited Feb 23rd.
My registration stickers never showed up, nor did I receive any other
I called the DMV office today. Their IVR asks you "do you need to
renew your registration" but doesn't understand "I don't know". After
three tries I just said "representative" which seemed to do the right
thing at first.
I was then told by the system "your wait time is more than ten
minutes, you should call back at a different time", but given no clue of
how long the estimated wait actually WAS. I was told this repeatedly,
every five minutes for nearly 45 minutes until someone answered.
They requested my license plate number and told me that no payment
had been received. I logged into my bank account and found the
cancelled check, with "Deposit to DMV Account Only" stamped across the
I read it off to her on the phone, and she said "Eighty Three, I
have 121 due here, there's a custom plate fee." However, apparently the
payment I sent back, WITH THE DMV STUB was never applied to ANY bill.
They just took the money.
Nor was I sent a notice that indicated the NEW amount due, ever.
Left alone, this would have just lapsed.
I was then told "You'll have to bring that cancelled check down to a
DMV office." Note that I can't make an appointment, as that takes OVER
That's where we're at right now. Note that the DMV apparently makes NO
NOTE of things like routing number or account number, or else the clerk
would have been able to look up this "mystery" payment instantly.
Note also that, as a AAA member, I can go to any AAA office to handle
"routine" appointments with no wait, but they can't resolve disputes
like this. However, because the DMV's botched systems, I am unable to
take advantage of the benefit I'm paying for.
Yet another day of stupid fucking standing around on Wednesday.