Tuesday, September 11, 2007


You may recall my post 2 months ago that we traded in both our Suburban and Civic on a used Honda CRV. The whole process was so easy... until about a month later when I got a call from the bookkeeper at the dealership, asking me for the titles for the trade-ins. I told her this was the first I'd heard about the need for the titles. No one at the dealership had asked us for them earlier.

I really had no idea which of the multiple boxes of paperwork contained the titles to the vehicles, or if we even possessed the titles, so I tried to weigh my options. I could spend god-knows-how-many hours searching through boxes and boxes of unfiled paperwork for documents we may or may not have, or I could go online and pay $5. each for a duplicate title from the DMV website. It didn't take long to decided.

However, when I began to follow the links on the DMV website I found that you can't really do anything other than get information unless you login using your drivers license number. Problem: a few months ago we traded in our VA drivers licenses for DE drivers licenses, so the VA drivers license number was no longer valid. Dead end. So then I scoured the website to find a phone number in the hopes of explaining my need to a real person. They obviously don't want phone calls, because I tried the number several times on several different days and always got a busy signal. No, rather than phone calls, the DMV prefers in-person visits with their personality void employees. After a week of busy signals, I stopped trying.

Then today I just got a call from the credit union where we'd borrowed the money for the CRV. The guy said the final loan papers were never returned and last week's payment had not been made. After some investigation I realized I'd accidentally misplaced the loan papers we signed a month ago in my stack of stuff to be filed. Ooops. I explained, and promised to mail the signed papers in and make the payment right away, which I did. The guy was very nice and said he was calling to find out if something just like this had happened.

Then, as if everyone were ganging up on me at once, I got a call from the dealership where we'd purchased the CRV. He asked about the titles for the 2 trade-ins. He said our temporary tags were going to expire in a few days and that they were unable to submit our tag request to the DE DMV because they hadn't gotten the trade-in titles yet. I apologized and told him I'd had terrible trouble trying to reach anyone at the VA DMV. He gave me another number to try and I promised to work on getting it resolved today.

I called the number he gave me and after waiting only 18 minutes on hold, I got a real person who genuinely seemed to want to help. That's not usually the case with the VA DMV. So I explained my need to obtain duplicate titles and my inability to use the DMV website since I no longer had a VA drivers license. She checked in her system but said she was unable to issue duplicate titles because both the vehicles had lender liens on them. I explained that both vehicles had been paid off several years ago, but she said that the lendor liens had never been removed. The only way to remove the liens was to show proof that the vehicles were paid in full, as if I had a receipt or something, or to request the lender to send a lien release letter. She promised to mail me forms to request the duplicate titles, with the instructions that once I'd received the lien release letters I should enclose them with my completed duplicate title request forms and a check for $10. and mail them all to a special DMV address.

So, I thanked her for her help and called the finance company who'd lent us the money for the Civic, which was paid off in 2003. To my surprise they were able to locate the loan immediately and agreed to mail the lien release letter right away.

Then I called the credit union who'd lent us the money for the Suburban - the very same credit union who'd call me earlier in the day wondering where in the hell were the signed loan papers! Fortunately I didn't have to speak to the same person. That might have been embarrassing. Imagine the conversation:

ME: Yeah, hi its me again, the one who never mailed back the signed loan documents for that new car.
CREDIT UNION: Oh, uh huh...
ME: You know, its really funny, but in addition to not mailing back the signed loan documents for that new car, I've also managed to not be able to find the title to that car I bought umteen years ago. Kooky, huh?
ME: Yeah, so now I need you to go back through your file of paid off loans and find mine, and then send me a letter saying its paid off. Preferably today. Kay?
CREDIT UNION: Sure. We'll get right on that.

The idea really made me feel like a big looser, so I silently vowed to go threw those boxes of paperwork before the end of this year (4 months) and get our affairs in order.

The credit union lady was unable to locate the paid off loan in the 'regular system', so she transferred me to the 'records department' where a lovely but tired-sounding woman named Vera said it would take some time to research the loan. She took my number and promised to call back when they'd located it.

So now I wait. First I wait for Vera to call back and tell me they've found the paid off loan and ask me where to mail the lien release letter. Then I wait for the lien release letters to come for both vehicles, while I simultaneously wait for the duplicate title request forms to come from the VA DMV. Once I match those up and mail them I will wait even more for them to be processed and to receive the duplicate titles in the mail. Then I'll take them to the car dealership and wait for the title and tags from the DE DMV for the new CRV. Meanwhile, as all of this waiting is going on, the tags on the CRV will have expired. Maybe this is what we deserve for waiting so long to act?

Now I know why rich people hire personal assistants.

Drag Queen name of the day: Rosa Corn


tornwordo said...

It couldn't take more than a day to go through all your boxes could it? That would solve everything right, if you could just find the titles?

cb said...

Even if you HAD found some relevant paperwork in your boxes, chances are that the DMV would have crushed your nads on something else.

They suck.