Thursday, September 07, 2006

I've been a fugitive from justice

While at a funeral yesterday I noticed that my front license plate was missing. Later on at home we found the license plate's bolts in the driveway where I was parked the night before. So it was obvious that someone had stolen my plate and it didn't just fall off by itself.

I called the local police and asked if it was anything to worry about and they told me to go downtown to file a police report. After filling out the report, the officer said I should go to the RMV for new license plates since my remaining plate was being invalidated.

I knew I would have to return the remaining plate so I took it off while in the parking lot of the RMV. I figured with my luck, I'd get a ticket while I was inside. Now in retrospect, I WISH it was something that simple!

So I went inside the RMV with the police report and my registration and remaining plate. Seemed like a simple enough task so far. That was until the woman behind the counter told me that she couldn't give me new license plates because I owed Excise Tax. Dumbfounded, I asked her to repeat herself. Several times. At one point I blurted out loudly, "I NEVER PAY EXCISE TAX". Which, realizing that could be a damaging statement, I quickly corrected to "I mean, it's a Lease vehicle and all taxes are paid for out of my monthly payment". But she printed something showing me that taxes haven't been paid for two years.

So I was in a pickle at that point. I couldn't just leave and put my old license plate back on because it wasn't any good anymore. But I couldn't get a new set of plates because of the unpaid taxes. We didn't know how much was overdue because the RMV's system doesn't say. But she suggested I pay the taxes for now and get reimbursed by the Leasing company later.

That sounded like a good plan so I went to the Tax Collector office. I had my checkbook out and ready to go. The Tax Collector handed me a paper with my overdue balance: $989! I about hit the floor. No way I was paying that.

I left, stunned and speechless, and went to the car dealer. Thankfully they love me there and the Sales Manager knows me by sight. He looked up my Lease Agreement and confirmed that I am indeed paying taxes in my monthly payment.

I went home and called the Leasing company. After arguing with a few people who were trying to point fingers at me, the RMV, and the Tax Collector, they finally conceded that they haven't been paying my taxes after all.

So this means that I have been driving my car illegally since 2005. If anything bad had happened, or even if I was stopped for something, I would have been screwed.

They said that if I had the Tax Collector send them a bill right away, they'll look into it and send payment if necessary. Thing is, how am I supposed to drive while all of this is going on?

I called the guy at the car dealership, who, out of the goodness of his heart and all of the business I've done with them for more than ten years, set me up with a rental car for the next few days. He didn't have to do that because it's not his fault at all but he felt badly.

It wasn't my fault the license plate was stolen but yet I'm still feeling like a bad guy anyway. I went out of my way to go to the Police Station and the RMV only to be told that *I* am a criminal!

So now we wait and see how long until payment gets processed and I can get back in my own vehicle.


Anonymous said...

Criminal. I had a similar thing happen a few years ago. I was at an RMV in a different county from where I live to renew a registration. I owed like $87 in excise tax and couldn't renew until I paid it, but not to the RMV - to the County Assessor's office, which was 1.5 hours away. I couldn't drive there, and was "escorted" outside by the registry cop who warned me sternly about driving. Had to get a ride to the stupid assessor's office for $87.

Fucking Massachusetts. To boot, it took me 2 years to get a gun license.

Anonymous said...

Me, you, and leadbelly should fishbowl your rental several times over to teach them a lesson.


Anonymous said...

That totally sucks. I'm sorry to hear that. Try to do the right thing and see what happens? I hope it's cleared up soon for you.

Anonymous said...

you know you are f'ed because the power always wins...
At least the dealer did come through for you.

Anonymous said...

Just one more thing.

Think about it, since you were billed for your taxes monthly and they didnt pay them, arent they guilty of fraud. Since the bank most likely is out of state that would be interstate fraud and someone should go to jail (not you). Federal charges!

Well what sucks is that you are inconvienced and should be compensated!

shannon said...

Wow, you rule. Free rental car!

a said...

god bless the dmv

struff said...

Update: It took a full week for this to be cleared up...that's a full week of driving a Kia rental car.