Well, well, well. I FINALLY have new license plates for my car. But it came with a hefty price tag, and lots (and I mean LOTS) of annoyances. It was about all I could take, and then it seemed to keep going. I'm glad it's over, because I was about to go postal.
Almost a year ago, the lease on my car was up and I needed to make a decision on whether I was going to purchase the car or give it back to VW and get something new. I decided on keeping the car and applying all the lease payments to the purchase price. It was an easy process, I got a loan, they sent me the title, and wolah... the car was mine.
Apparently, I made a mistake. No one ever told me that I needed to go and register my car. Nothing in writing, nothing from VW, nada. I know that these things are supposed to get done, and usually don't happen automatically, but I figured there would be some type of reminder or booklet explaining how to do this. There's not, but after going through what I went through, there should be.
This March, with my tags severely expired, I decided to go and get them renewed. I went down, got the car inspected, no problem. Then I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Waited in line for 20 minutes to see a representative there. I wasn't quite sure why I was there, so I went in a bit under prepared. The lady looked at my title and told me it wasn't my car. How could that be? I bought the car last year. Well, she needed to see the paperwork. So, I drove home, got the paperwork and came back (it was cold and rainy, by the way). I waited in line again, and after another 15 minute wait, I showed a different lady the paperwork. She, also, told me that the car wasn't mine. I asked why they keep telling me that, and she showed me on the title that VW didn't sign it over to me... thanks guys.
So, from the Department of Motor Vehicles, I got a form that said I didn't have to pay property tax on my car last year, since I didn't own it a full year. From there, I walked to the Department of Revenue. Keep in mind, all I wanted to do was re-new my car tags. Here, I waited in line for 20 minutes, and finally got to talk to lady there. We talked for about 30 minutes, and it boiled down to me HAVING to have my title signed by VW before I could do anything.
I left there and went to Commerce Bank, where my auto loan is. I talked to a lady there who called the auto-loan department. They both told me they couldn't do anything about this and that I'd have to call VW. So, I got on the phone and called VW. After another 30 minute phone call, I was told to FedEx the title to them, and they'd FedEx it back to me, signed. You're kidding, right?
Nope. I got my "signed" title back two days later... eight months AFTER I bought the car. So, I loaded up all of my papers and headed BACK to the Department of Revenue (which, by the way, is one of the hardest places to get to from downtown with all the stupid one-way streets and what-not). I talked to the same lady from before, who didn't remember me, so I had to explain it all again. I gave her all of my stuff, we talked for another 30 minutes, and she told me that I owed somewhere around $1000 - sales tax, late fees, new tags, etc. She wrote down on a slip of paper what I owed and told me to bring that amount back in. I asked what if I came in a month later (since I was about to go on a trip), she said it didn't matter, the fee wasn't going to get any higher.
Fast-forward over a month (yesterday). I decided it was time to go and get this all finished out. I run to the bank to get a cashier's check for the amount the lady told me. Of course it's not an easy process, you have to find a spot downtown first off, and then wait in line, yadda yadda. Twenty minutes later, and check in hand, I fumbled my way through the maze downtown to the Department of Revenue (I think they make it so hard to find that you'll always be late with payments).
I took all of my paperwork to a lady there (since the one I've talked to before wasn't there) and explained all of my work. Eurkea! I had everything I needed!!! She typed up everything, grabbed me a set of new plates, and told me my total - $1119.20. WTF!?!? A month ago I was told that it wouldn't go up from what I was told then!!! The lady didn't understand why someone would say that and told me they were wrong. Well, that doesn't really help me now does it? Isn't a slip of paper given to me from a worker there some type of legal binding document?
Grrrrr... well, apparently there are tons of "processing fees" that the other lady didn't take account for. Still, $70 dollars worth? [NOTE 1: The reason there are so many processing fees is because the State doesn't pay their banking fees anymore. Ahhh... that makes sense. Wait, AREN'T THEY THE STATE!?!?!]So, I had to rush home, write a check to cover the amount, and then fumble my way BACK to that damned place. [NOTE 2: I had to write a check because while I can buy a hamburger, fries, and a chocolate shake with my debit/credit card, the DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE doesn't accept them.] I go inside, hand my checks to the lady and get my plates.
I was not happy. What a long and drawn-out process. I kept thinking they would have me go get tested for HIV or complete a family tree as well. Ah well, what can you do? I suppose I could have kept driving the car as it was. I've been pulled over in the past year, and the cop said nothing about the tags. And since the title was still in VW's name, hmmmmmm.