Paperwork Sucks

Filed under: rants @ 17:17

I renewed my vehicle registration with the California DMV sometime in October or November. The DMV was (unlike last year) quite prompt in both initiating and following through with the transfer of information and funds. I, however, proceeded to lose the registration card and sticker after they sent it to me. Now I have to pay $32 to get new copies. I could lie and tell them I never received the stuff in the first place, but lying sucks. Fine. I have an appointment at 3:10 pm Monday afternoon to straighten everything out. Despite the pain of being at the DMV, I’d rather negotiate this treacherous path in person than hope for miracles to occur behind the desk in some DMV warehouse of trained monkeys.

The bigger issue? There need be no appointments and no monkeys (trained or otherwise) involved in this situation. Here’s what I had to do. I called the DMV hotline and found out that they could do nothing for me. Nothing. So I printed out a paper copy of DMV form REG 156 and filled in the little boxes by hand. I see, too, that in the corner, this form will eventually be initialled by some poor sap. How many people have to touch this piece of paper before I get my sticker? At least I was able to print it from online rather than being forced to pick it up in person.

I should also note that part of my reason for deciding to speak to someone face to face is that the exact names of the bits I lost (the registration card and the little year sticker) are not defined anywhere on the form or the website as far as I can see. Presumably, they are explicitly named in the missive originally sent to me by the DMV. But that’s lost (indeed, I checked the “Lost” box on the form). It reminds me of inquiring of your bank the number one should call after having lost one’s credit card. “The number is on the back of the card” is not a helpful response. So, in order to determine which of several likely looking checkboxes on the form I need to check, I need to ask someone.

Incomplete information aside, there’s a big problem here. The DMV has a giant computer database of vehicles and owners (or rather, I pray to all I call holy they do; I can’t fathom doing everything with files and cabinets). Stovepipe a damn user interface on the thing and allow me to access some of it from the web. Asking for replacement stickers cannot possibly be a very difficult task, but doing it via paper and several middlemen is costly and time consuming. That and I hate it.

Somebody get these people some IT.

1 Comment

    MDA 02.14.2006 @ 12:19

    I got this all done a while ago. I was only at the DMV for about 45 minutes, and they gave me a new sticker and a new registration card right there (no waiting for the mail!). I’ll just note to myself that the boxes I needed to check were “Registration Card” (as I figured out) and “License Sticker” (as I wanted to assume).

© mdawaffe (Michael D Adams) - Powered by WordPress - Full Credits