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My DMV Nightmare

This topic contains 43 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  loonyman 5 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #174340

    DivotMaker
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    We sold a vehicle to an out of state buyer back in April. Did all the paperwork, submitted the Release of Liability, and thought all was good. In August, we received a letter requiring payment for renewal of the registration. I called and was told they never receive the Release, so I submitted one online while talking to the rep, verified he could see it was done, and thought all was good. About 2 months later, we receive a late notice, again for the registration renewal. I call back, they look up the file and can clearly see I submitted the Release, and tell me they’re making notes in the file and I should be good. A month goes by and yet another late letter. I call and we go through the same routine. Yesterday we get a “Notice of Delinquent Registration” saying we are about to be turned over to FTB for collection action, including “garnish your wages, attach your bank account, attach real property you own, or seize and sell your real property.” I absolutely cannot believe the incompetence surrounding this. Fortunately, I was able to make an online appointment for Monday afternoon to see if I can finally get this resolved. My biggest fear is we’ll think it’s resolved only to see a wage garnishment by FTB. Good luck getting that reversed huh??

  • #262240

    EGL Admin
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    Heaven forbid the state’s computer system be able to all work together.

  • #262252

    LC
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    Maybe they brought in some IT experts from Covered California πŸ˜‰ I’ve had pretty good luck with DMV, especially in person, sorry about your hassles. I’m sure they can clear it up for you.

  • #262241

    EGL Admin
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    Moral to the story is only sell local.

  • #262262

    ErinO
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    I had a very similar experience with the DMV a few years ago. The Franchise Tax Board kept $250 of my tax refund from the state and said it was for unpaid registration. Well, I’ve never NOT paid my registration, so I told the FTB that it was a mistake, but they told me to take it up with the DMV. So I went into the DMV and talked to them at length, and they couldn’t figure out what it was for. Since it wasn’t very much money, I didn’t pursue it further because it wasn’t worth the frustration of dealing with the DMV. Then the next year they did the same thing – withheld over $200 for “unpaid registration.” So my husband and I made an appointment with a supervisor at the DMV and she was able to finally track down a car that my husband had sold. My husband completed the release of liability but the new owner never registered the car in his own name, so the sale never completed in the system, and therefore still belonged to my husband and now he needed to pay the registration on it. So he just registered it NON OP, and that put an end to any further attempts to collect registration. But as she was looking in the system she said that I also had a car still in MY name as well, that showed in her system that I had completed a release of liability but the new owner never completed their part of the sale. That car was a BMW that had been totaled in an accident and I sold it to an auto dismantler for parts. She suggested that I go back to them and insist that they complete their part the transfer of ownership. That car was totaled and I had completed the papers to “junk” it, surrendered the plates to the DMV, AND completed a release of liability but STILL it was showing up in their system as a car I still owned.

    Anyway…it was a very eye opening experience. I’d always mistakenly believed that if I completed the release of liability that was the end of my responsibility in the sale transactions. Not true. The DMV Supervisor said that I should always go to the DMV in person with a buyer to complete transfer of ownership. Othewise, if the new owner doesn’t fulfill their part of the sale, the car will remain in my name, and eventually they DMV could try to collect back registration. In this case, it cost us about $500 because the new owner failed to register a car he bought from my husband.

    Divotmaker, you should register that car as NON OP or you WILL be paying for the registration on it. The buyer should have done his/her part, but they obviously did not, and to protect yourself, that’s probably your best course of action.

  • #262254

    newmom
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    This happened to a friend of mine years ago,-she sold a car privately, and the buyer got into a car accident on the day he purchased it and hadn’t registered it. The person he hit in the accident successfully sued my friend and won in court because the judge said they should have gone to to DMV together the day of sale, and that since she was still the legally registered owner of the car, she was responsible. The judge claimed the release of liability wasn’t enough to protect her.

  • #262242

    EGL Admin
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    Wow that’s crazy! So they want you and the buyer to stand in line at the dmv to do this? That’s stupid.

  • #262255

    newmom
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    What was even crazier was that her insurance claimed that due to the release of liability they weren’t responsible to cover the costs of the accident anymore and she had to pay out of pocket. She was in her early 20’s, married, working at a car dealership (oh the irony), going to school, and had a kid. She had no money.

  • #262263

    ErinO
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    @EGL Admin 90672 wrote:

    Wow that’s crazy! So they want you and the buyer to stand in line at the dmv to do this? That’s stupid.

    Yes. That’s exactly what they told us to do in the future. Take the buyer with you to the DMV and MAKE SURE transfer of ownership is complete before you hand over the keys.

  • #262236

    DivotMaker
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    Thank you all, this is some very eye opening information. I was always under the assumption that the Release of Liability was the end of the line. I’m really hoping the issue is the buyer being out of state and DMV not having any record of him registering it here as a result.

  • #262250

    joy
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    A similar thing happened to my in-laws. They sold an old car my husband had used as a teenager and then about a year later they were contacted from Kansas because the new owner had abandoned the car. The sale had never been finalized on the buyer’s end and they were told they were still technically the owners. It was a mess.

  • #262256

    newmom
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    @divotmaker 90680 wrote:

    Thank you all, this is some very eye opening information. I was always under the assumption that the Release of Liability was the end of the line. I’m really hoping the issue is the buyer being out of state and DMV not having any record of him registering it here as a result.

    I wonder if you can have the car declared stolen to absolve you of responsibility, since the new owner might have shirked his responsibilities and left the car in under your legal responsibility.

  • #262264

    ErinO
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    At the very least, contact the buyer and ask for a copy of their registration, so that if you have to fight the DMV for garnished wages or tax liens you already have your documentation ready. But honestly, the part that is scariest is the liability issues. The registration won’t be that much money, but if the car still legally belongs to you and the new owners get into a serious accident, that could make you liable for a lot of money in damages.

  • #262257

    newmom
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    And if they refuse to register to it, what can you do? Most likely nothing.

  • #262237

    DivotMaker
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    @newmom 90686 wrote:

    And if they refuse to register to it, what can you do? Most likely nothing.

    That’s my issue. You can’t force someone to register it, especially out of state. Makes zero sense when a signed bill of sale and release of liability cannot protect you.

  • #262265

    ErinO
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    @divotmaker 90689 wrote:

    That’s my issue. You can’t force someone to register it, especially out of state. Makes zero sense when a signed bill of sale and release of liability cannot protect you.

    Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense at all. I wonder how widespread this problem is.

    It might almost be worth talking to an attorney about how to protect yourself from liability.

  • #262260

    politicopedro
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    @divotmaker 90689 wrote:

    That’s my issue. You can’t force someone to register it, especially out of state. Makes zero sense when a signed bill of sale and release of liability cannot protect you.

    Your government at work (or not)!

  • #262267

    loonyman
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    @politicopedro 90767 wrote:

    Your government at work (or not)!

    Do you think it’s only the government that is capable of incompetence? There are plenty of businesses that operate this way. I can think of a few offhand that I’ve had similar problems with.

  • #262253

    LC
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    The difference is that businesses don’t have the same power as government to levy liens and penalties on you, and dialogue is usually cumbersome to non-existent. If you go after them, they have floors of overpaid drone lawyers that can suck your time and money forever.

  • #262268

    loonyman
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    They may not have the same power as a government entity but they can cause a lot of inconvenience with not a lot of dollar amount loss. To go after a private business you would have to take them on in court which may not be cost or time effective. Better to report them to a consumer reporter and let them handle it. You can do the same the with DMV or any government agency. It is just time consuming to have to fight for what is right, no matter if it is Government or Private Business.

    This problem with the DMV could be fixed by our lawmakers and if I was the one being inconvenienced I would bring it to their attention. A release of liability should be just that, a release. It’s not reasonable to expect the seller to force the buyer to register the vehicle.

  • #262243

    EGL Admin
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    Another issue with government is we pay for their incompetence. Private businesses that are incompetent will go out of business. Individuals may lose money, maybe a lot of money, the rest of us aren’t forced to pay for it every year though.

    A release of liability should be just that, a release. It’s not reasonable to expect the seller to force the buyer to register the vehicle.

    I agree. I had always assumed that when you signed the paper you, your liability was released and I think that’s how it was. Then some lawyer decided to sue and found an idiot judge who agreed. Probably the same type of judge who would rule if a burglar got hurt in your backyard that you are liable or if you spill coffee on yourself that McDonalds is liable.

    I think Divot is going to have more fun to add to the story. πŸ™‚

  • #262238

    DivotMaker
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    DMV response: nothing we can do for you. You have to submit another release of liability.

    I lost it then. Told them I’ve already submitted numerous releases. Told them my wages are about to be garnished over this. They have no records of receiving any, even the one I have a copy of that I did online on their website. Waiting for a supervisor now.

  • #262258

    kindrlindr
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    OMG are you kidding me?!?!? Have you got anything printed out saying the online release was done?

  • #262269

    loonyman
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    The DMV is actually one of the better run Government entities I have had to deal with. They have improved dramatically over tb years. In Sacramento you can make an appointment a few days ahead of time and be in an out in minutes. What other Government entity can you say that about.

    You would think that businesses that provide “Incompetent service” would go out of business but that’s not always the case. When there are not that many choices in a given market a business only has to be marginally better than one of their competitors to stick around.

    The reason I replied to this is because I get weary of hearing about Government incompetence (In this case DMV) as a blanket statement. This particular issue can and should be fixed. I would rather deal with DMV and than the car insurance companies and Doctors offices I’ve had to deal with over the years and especially this past month. Incompetence is prevalent in our society, not just in government. And no, I don’t work for the DMV, nor do any of my friends or family.

  • #262270

    loonyman
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    @divotmaker 90801 wrote:

    DMV response: nothing we can do for you. You have to submit another release of liability.

    I lost it then. Told them I’ve already submitted numerous releases. Told them my wages are about to be garnished over this. They have no records of receiving any, even the one I have a copy of that I did online on their website. Waiting for a supervisor now.

    I would call or email your State representatives office now. Then call one of the local TV stations consumer reporters. Hopefully they can help you in this nightmare.

    I’m showing this to my wife. She thinks things like this only happier to her.

  • #262244

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    I haven’t had to deal much with the DMV thankfully. Usually basic stuff before you could do a lot online. My transactions are usually easy, but I still left thinking they were all a bunch of lazy asses. Just watching how slow they went about their jobs, no rush at all. I guess they figure why rush, you’re not getting paid by the person you help. Just watching them slowly saunter around, take their time, come from a break and take 5 minutes to get set up again.

    We have all heard nightmare stories. Not sure I would agree though with them being a well run agency. If they are then that means the rest of them are all pretty bad.

  • #262261

    politicopedro
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    @loonyman 90785 wrote:

    Do you think it’s only the government that is capable of incompetence? There are plenty of businesses that operate this way. I can think of a few offhand that I’ve had similar problems with.

    Absolutely – I have as well.

    But then, I have the option of not patronizing them.

  • #262271

    loonyman
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    The online portal is a big time saver, as is the appointment system. Years ago going to the DMV meant a 2-3 hour ordeal. Now if you have to go in to the office (Like I will have to next month to renew my license) it’s no big deal. Last time I renewed it I made an appointment, filled out the paperwork, took all the required tests, got my picture taken and was out in less than 15 minutes. Even with the employees taking their time.

  • #262251

    joy
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    @EGL Admin 90806 wrote:

    I haven’t had to deal much with the DMV thankfully. Usually basic stuff before you could do a lot online. My transactions are usually easy, but I still left thinking they were all a bunch of lazy asses. Just watching how slow they went about their jobs, no rush at all. I guess they figure why rush, you’re not getting paid by the person you help. Just watching them slowly saunter around, take their time, come from a break and take 5 minutes to get set up again.

    We have all heard nightmare stories. Not sure I would agree though with them being a well run agency. If they are then that means the rest of them are all pretty bad.

    Interestingly, I had to make the trek over to the Mack Rd DMV today to renew my license. It took me 10+ minutes to park. I was in and out in less than 15 minutes. The place was FULL. The line for people with appointments was empty when I got there and there were about 30 people in the no appointment line. Most chairs were full. I found myself wondering why in the world anyone would go there without an appointment. By the time I left the no appointment line was 15-20 people longer. Yikes. It was like that the other times I have been there recently for my daughter’s license. Every employee who helped me was efficient and worked quickly. Nonetheless, there always seems to be a palpable tension in there and I am always happy to leave as soon as I can.

  • #262245

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    The times I have tried to make an appointment it was often booked weeks out. When you need to see them now that’s not going to work.

  • #262272

    loonyman
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    @politicopedro 90812 wrote:

    Absolutely – I have as well.

    But then, I have the option of not patronizing them.

    Yes, you have that option. Unless that Business is your Auto Insurance Company and you get rear ended while at a red light and your adjuster is not on top of things. You may have every right to not patronize them AFTER the claim is settled, but you (Or in this case, I) still have to deal with them in the present. Add in an egotistical body shop owner and, well…I’ll take my chances with the DMV.

    Again, just my experience. It’s easy to make a blanket statement about government workers but I have had more problems with the private sector when it comes to resolving issues. This issue in this thread is not the norm but there are multiple agencies involved with their own rules they must follow so it is bound to get out of hand. I wish Divotmaker the best of luck in resolving it.

  • #262273

    loonyman
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    @EGL Admin 90819 wrote:

    The times I have tried to make an appointment it was often booked weeks out. When you need to see them now that’s not going to work.

    I have found that if one office is booked, a nearby office may not be. If you need to see them NOW (I can’t think of anytime I needed to see them right away, you usually can anticipate when your license is due, when you are registering a vehicle etc.) just pick one in a nearby area and chances are you will get an appointment and not have to drive that far. I don’t have that option when I need to see the Dr. NOW, if they are booked I am at the mercy of their schedule or the luck of a cancellation. For me, DMV wins again.

  • #262274

    loonyman
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    Just to prove my point (And Thanks for jogging my memory) my license expires next month. Because of my schedule I only had 2 days that I could go to the DMV before it expires and I will be in SF that week (One of the busiest DMV offices there is-according to my non-scientific poll). I got an appointment on my first day of choice, at my preferred time. I would still be on hold with my doctors office if I need an appointment that soon :biggrin:

  • #262246

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    @loonyman 90822 wrote:

    I have found that if one office is booked, a nearby office may not be. If you need to see them NOW (I can’t think of anytime I needed to see them right away, you usually can anticipate when your license is due, when you are registering a vehicle etc.) just pick one in a nearby area and chances are you will get an appointment and not have to drive that far. I don’t have that option when I need to see the Dr. NOW, if they are booked I am at the mercy of their schedule or the luck of a cancellation. For me, DMV wins again.

    I can’t imagine any reason outside of a DMV screw up or emergency why anyone would need to go in person. Pretty much everything can be done online. When you need to go in, it’s not usually for a planned thing. My mother in law wanted to renew her drivers license. We checked online at every office with 30 miles. Nothing for over two week, no big deal because she could wait, why no appointment for that long? Why not take more appointments, they can. It’s not like a doctors office. That’s appointment only. A doctors office doesn’t have appointments and walk in like the DMV does. Why not take more appointments?

  • #262247

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    @loonyman 90824 wrote:

    Just to prove my point (And Thanks for jogging my memory) my license expires next month. Because of my schedule I only had 2 days that I could go to the DMV before it expires and I will be in SF that week (One of the busiest DMV offices there is-according to my non-scientific poll). I got an appointment on my first day of choice, at my preferred time. I would still be on hold with my doctors office if I need an appointment that soon :biggrin:

    You couldn’t renew it online?

  • #262275

    loonyman
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    @EGL Admin 90826 wrote:

    You couldn’t renew it online?

    I have a specialized license and must renew it in person every four years and take the appropriate written tests for my endorsements. That’s why I appreciate the improvements in efficiency the DMV has attained.

  • #262276

    loonyman
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    “I can’t imagine any reason outside of a DMV screw up or emergency why anyone would need to go in person.”

    Renewing a drivers license with special endorsements?

    “Pretty much everything can be done online.”

    The people I see in line at the DMV non-appointment line don’t look too tech savvy to me. Maybe they need an outreach program for these folks.

    “My mother in law wanted to renew her drivers license.”

    She couldn’t renew it online?

    “Why not take more appointments, they can.”

    Oh come on, the appointment line would be twice as long and I might have to wait a half-hour.

    “It’s not like a doctors office. That’s appointment only. A doctors office doesn’t have appointments and walk in like the DMV does. Why not take more appointments?”

    That’s what Urgent care is for. Or if you don’t have insurance, the ER.

  • #262248

    EGL Admin
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    Why would the appointment line be longer? Take less walk ins and more appointments.

    You brought up doctors offices. I don’t see them as being the same thing.

  • #262277

    loonyman
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    Maybe not, but I don’t have to go to the Dr.’s office that often (Maybe once a year or two) and I have spent WAY more time waiting in Dr.’s office than the DMV. I don’t see anyone posting on here about the staff at their Dr.’s office taking their time or blaming them when the quickest appointment is over two months away. It is just acceptable to most people. It was just an example that popped into my head. I haven’t yet been able to go to my Dr.’s office website, input my information (Or symptoms) and get a prescription or advice. Maybe that will come in the future.

  • #262249

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    You need to get a new doctor.

  • #262278

    loonyman
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    I actually don’t have a problem getting in to see my Doctor. On the rare occasions that I have to go, I have no problems getting in. And he is an excellent doctor. But I am never in and out in 15 minutes.

    Just like stories at the DMV, I have heard stories about not being able to get an appointment with the Dr. for at least 30 days. Especially in the case of a specialist. Hasn’t happened to me personally (Just like many on here who complain about the DMV haven’t experienced a nightmare, but they have heard stories…) but I know this to be true.

    Having way too much fun, time to try and wrap a few presents.

  • #262239

    DivotMaker
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    The latest on my experience. After an hour of waiting at DMV, the supervisor told me that he thought he had the problem resolved. He contacted FTB and they supposedly stopped the action to garnish my wages (which, incidentally, would have taken effect very soon I was told) and removed the vehicle from my name. DMV did say if I received a letter from FTB that my wages were being garnished to contact FTB, not DMV, for resolution as it was no longer in their control. DMV told me that FTB said they could see the Release of Liability in their system. However, DMV’s system issued the registration renewal the day before I sold my vehicle, and as a result, there was no way to process the Release of Liability without renewing the registration fees. Since the vehicle was never re-registered in California, the computer had no way to know I sold the vehicle. Hopefully this is the end of it.

  • #262279

    loonyman
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    What a mess. I hope this is the end for you.

  • #262266

    ErinO
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    Hopefully it’s the end of the fiasco. Good luck. I guess you’ll know when you do your taxes in few months. πŸ˜‰

  • #262259

    kindrlindr
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    Wow…..I really hope you don’t have to deal with this anymore.

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