Friday, August 2, 2013

Missing Titles and Loose Weasels

In closing Mama's estate we needed to transfer title of her car. In order to do that, obviously we needed the title to said car. I felt sure I had it somewhere in the papers and files I was keeping on the estate. However, upon a thorough search I could not find it. Then I realized, in all we had been through, I did not remember ever seeing it. She always paid cash for her cars, so it had to be here some where. After an exhausting but thorough search of every thing I had, I could only reach one conclusion: she obviously kept her car title in the same secure location she kept her will - Super.

So, I needed to get a replacement title. I went to the South Carolina DMV web site. It did not take me long to find the instructions to order a replacement title and the form to download. They also offered the option of paying $15 extra to get it "Expedited" so you could get it in 3-5 days. Sign me up.

To make sure that I had read everything correctly, that I had all the documentation they needed, and I knew what part of the forms I was required to complete, I called the DMV Customer Hotline for assistance. Naturally, the form 400 they have for this service is also for persons wanting to obtain new titles for new and leased vehicles, transfer titles, request or transfer titles for house trailers, as well as request duplicate titles for those lost. 

A very friendly Michelle answered. I started with as many questions as I could think of. She told me which part of the form to complete, what documents I needed to attach, and confirmed the address to which I needed to mail it. I inquired about the fee to expedite if and she said that that fee would get the form completed faster, in as few as 3-5 days. When I asked what the normal turn around time was, she replied 21-25 days.

So I carefully completed the form and signed it, attached the documents and the check and sent it off - to the correct address. Ten days later I had heard nothing. I called the DMV again and explained my situation. The Help Desk lady looked it up - the file showed nothing. Then she asked, "Did you Fedex it in?" "No, was I supposed to?" "Well if you wanted it expedited." "The directions did not say that anywhere, nor did the DMV person I spoke with mention that." "Did you write 'please expedite' on the outside of the envelope?" ""No, the directions did not say that anywhere, nor did the DMV person I spoke with mention that." 

"Well then it would have gone in with the regular requests." "So what does my $15 buy me?" "When they get it, they will mail it out first." "And how long will that take?" "Usually it takes them 21 days to get to an application and 1 or 2 days to process it." "So then what?" "You will get it in 3-5 days after that." 

In government speak, I assume this means that my Title will go on the top of the mail pile. I can see it now when the hundreds of envelopes containing titles are sent to the mail room. "Vern, remember now, those envelopes with that green mark go in the box first." "Why?" "They're special. They're being expedited."

When I hung up the phone I decided that if that was what needed to be done, so be it. So I completed another form, attached the correct documents, sent another check, and Fedexed the whole deal. I figured that the second one should get there and be processed before the first one was even opened. God help us all. Of course, my luck is they will get both applications at the same time - there will be some minor discrepancy between the two and they will decline both of them.

All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel. . . 

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