Report: #746692

Complaint Review: california dmv

  • Submitted: Tue, June 28, 2011
  • Updated: Sat, January 19, 2013
  • Reported By: CA.DMV.SUCKS! — san luis obispo California United States of America
  • california dmv

    sacramento, California
    United States of America

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

  California DMV, how I love you! You and your ways of ripping off tax paying Californians. This is the second year in a row I have not received A renewal for registration on a vehicle less than 4 years old. I find it quite convenient that me and many other Californians don't receive a renewal notice before the due date, but always seem to receive the late fees/penalty letter with hefty penalty fees every time.
   I have read some of the other complaints and responses from CA. DMV employees, And all I have to say is shame on you CA. DMV. Absolute thugs with no one to answer to makes for A Hitler run type organization. The California DMV was established in 1915, one would think that in 96 years of business, they could get this sort of thing right. But hey what do I know? If I dont pay I run the risk of rediculous fines, vehicle impounds, tickets and possible arrest. My solution for this problem is to make the entire process automated. Yes there are jobs to be lost but I feel most if not all americans dislike the DMV and all associated with the whole process anyway. So, eliminate the problem! In a dream world that would be the DMV itself, second best is the possibility of human tampering/error. Thanks again for nothing!
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/28/2011 06:59 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 UPDATE Employee

Late renewal


Though I am an employee of the California DMV I am NOT responding on the behalf of my employer. These are my own personal opinions and suggestions. This post is written on my own time, on my own computer and I am solely responsible for it's content. 

The penalty structure is established by the legislature. They tell DMV this is what you are going to charge and how you are going to charge it. I totally understand where you are coming from and the inflexibility is the hardest part of the job.  I've suggested to customers that if they service their vehicle like they are supposed to and keep their maintenance records in order then make a copy of the registration and keep it with the maintenance records as a reminder.

To suggest that DMV withholds the first bill so penalties can be collected is just plain silly. It costs DMV money every time a customer comes in to the office or calls.  And only a small portion of the penalties actually goes to DMV.  

An installment plan isn't an option for DMV fees. The fees have to be paid in full in order to get your sticker. If you were to pay in installments you'd never get your sticker.  The way the insurance program is set up we have people whose registration is suspended every other month because they are a day late paying their premiums.

Never ever use your banking institutions "bill pay" when you pay DMV fees.  These payments are the most difficult to track because the customer rarely includes the license plate number with the payment. DMV can't track the payment to see where it was applied because there isn't a hard copy of a check with the deposit codes on them. And never ever send one check for several vehicles.  This causes a delay in your payment getting posted and it may not be applied correctly.  Use your debit or credit card and only use the RIN number on your notice. If you are paying from the registration card itself you can use the Self Service Terminal at DMV.  

DMV isn't any different than any other business.  If you have three Visa accounts and send one check to pay the three it would cause a delay in processing.  The system works efficiently as long as you don't throw any monkey wrenches in the mix. 

As I said earlier the inflexibility is the hardest part of the job. We have to justify every penalty that is waived.  We aren't supposed to waive any.  If we waived them in the past we are under strict orders to collect all penalties and fees.  No exception.  We have to pay the fees just like everyone else.  Employees in the private sector generally get an employee discount. DMV employees don't get any discount. We have to pay the same fees that everyone else does. And when the fees go up and up we have to bite the bullet and pay the higher fees too.

 By the way...thanks to the pay cuts and the furlough day each month AND the increase in the benefits deductions I am taking home $400 less per month than I was five years ago.  Yes I have a job. (Granted it's a job most people look down on) It is still a job. And it can be rewarding because I  there are days that I actually help those that you mentioned in your post. 

 I hope this information helps you. I know it doesn't pay the bill but if you learned something then I succeeded a little bit.

Though I am an employee of the California DMV I am NOT responding on the behalf of my employer. These are my own personal opinions and suggestions. This post is written on my own time, on my own computer and I am solely responsible for it's content. 

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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Excessive DMV Penalties and Usury

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)

The problem is CA DMV fees are too excessive and there is no grace period for late payment. They also either have no efficient means to notify of the delinquency in a timely manner or they scandolously and delibertly do not notify of the delinqency until maximum penalty has occurred. I surprisingly received a delinquency notice 47 days after the renewal date with a whopping 67% penalty ( $139 ) on an original $196 renewal. I must have lost or misplaced the original. Unusal for me. 

It may not seem like much to most but as one looking for work it caused me to re-budget and cancel two online college courses that cost $144.00 and might of helped me find employment.  A 67% penalty in 30 days is equivilent to over 500% APR and should be considered usury. Yes, it forces me to make a better effort to pay timely without notification next year but that is a long ways out, my memory is not improving, and who knows what other reasonable causes might delay payment next year. CA DMV does not seem to have an efficient means to allow auto pay from institutions or through their website.  

Its reasonable to expect that if they notify timely for other matters,  and penalties increase in 10 day increments,  that they would at least notify immediately of the penalty and within 10 days and as timely as the penalty it increases. Ultimately the penalties are excessive and there should be new regulation to reduce them to a reasonable amount and provide for for a late grace period and updated more efficient means of payment and delinquency notifications. This kind of excessive, rigid, unreasonable, and unneccesary, regulation and penalizing likely and disparatively hurts, the poor, young, old and disabled. It should be changed as I believe it damages  more than it helps society.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

All right!



Glad to hear you had a positive experience.  People have such a low opinion of DMV employees and it's hard to turn people around.  The "Start Here" people speak to 700-1000 people a day. And 80% of those have a negative attitude (because of negative experiences or perceptions).  There are days we feel beat down.  I've been screamed at for smiling to a customer.  She said that the mere fact that I could smile in such a place shows how stupid I am.  

Anyway in the fall when you are trying to figure out your Halloween costume remember that your tags are also due.  LOL

Happy New Year to ya.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Late penalty is waved!

AUTHOR: vic - (United States of America)

Thank you!

I had an appointment yesterday at Sacramento Broadway office, and I did exactly what you said.
I came to a clerk and tried to be as nice as I can be, I wished him happy new year with a smile, he was very nice in return. I handed him the delinquent notice and the reg256 form where I wrote what I told you, and in very short sentence summarized what I wrote, he didn't even read the whole explanation and after I asked if he can remove the late penalty he just said "oh, no problem" and did it! I was back on my way after 15 min.

There are nice people at DMV!
Thank you!
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#5 UPDATE Employee

waiving penalties


In section G clearly state what you said in your message to me.

That you recently purchased the vehicle and wasn't aware that the tags would be due so soon. State that you didn't receive a first bill and that you are requesting consideration in the penalties.

Make an appointment and take the reg256 (you can download it from the website) to DMV.  If the technician tells you no then ask to speak to a manager. 

I have had managers that say no.  But once they consider the facts they usually waive them.  Now if it is a renewal and you've own the vehicle for several years most will only take off 50% of the penalties.
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#6 Consumer Comment

How can I reduce/remove penalty fee

AUTHOR: vic - (United States of America)

@1HotMVFR (DMV Employee), I also didn't receive renewal notice for my truck, I just purchased it in July 2012, but today I received Notice of Delinquent Renewal from DMV and the fee is $127, the due date was 10/31. I honestly just don't keep track when fees are due, I expect to see Renewal Notice, just like bills for everything else.

You have mentioned that if I complete Statement of Facts form, I may have some or all of the penalty fees removed. What should I write on the form? Section "G"?

Thanks for the tip/hint.
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#7 UPDATE Employee

late fees


Paying your bills on time is part of being an adult. If you pay your utility bills late they are assessed a late fee. If you pay your car insurance late it is either cancelled or at minimum assessed a late fee.  Do you have a hissy fit when other creditors assess late fees or only when DMV assesses them?  You have been given options.  You know what to do in the future.  Good luck.
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#8 General Comment

I have a life...

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)

If we relied on ourselves to pay all of our bills when due, without the benefit of receiving invoices or bills as a reminder, bills would not be paid on time by the majority of people. For CA DMV to say that it is our responsibility to know when our registration is due is to imply that we have nothing better to do than to focus on when our renewal is due. The absurdity of this being "our fault" is the DMV falling to understand that if it is our expectation that we will recieve a renewal form in the mail, then that is the reminder which precludes us from having to monitor the due date ourselves. I received a timely reminder on one vehicle, but not on two others. I now have two late fees and must endure the long lines at DMV to get them to waive the $260.00 in late fees. Then there is the exposure to getting a ticket for not having a current registration. Sadly, this is very typical of how poorly government is run. 
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#9 UPDATE Employee

more info please


Ok, how about some more info.  Does it request that you send proof of insurance? Does your vehicle weigh over 10,000 lbs?  if it does weigh over 10K you are ineligible for mail renewal because you may require additional stickers that the online system is unable to process.  The stub includes a section that allows the owner to change the weight info so the appropriate stickers can be mailed.  If the vehicle is registered to a business then the insurance system doesn't collect the required proof of insurance like it does for privately owned private passenger vehicles.  Finally if you mailed the payment with a postmark date prior to the due date (and you are positive you mailed it before the due date) then you can go to any dmv, fill out a reg256 (statement of facts) and complete the section G part of the form.  State your case and 9 out of 10 times the penalties will be removed.
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#10 General Comment


AUTHOR: Victim2012 - (United States of America)

I have read some of the other complaints and responses from CA. DMV employees, And all I have to say is shame on you CA. DMV. They are thugs at the DMV!
I received my renewal registration on time however the notice was indicated that I have to mail my payment and I could not renewal on line,anyway I thought it is a joke since its been quite time that I use to pay any of my bills with check? so I try on line to see if there is error in the notice received and below is the message i got on DMV site:

Online Registration Renewal

This vehicle is not eligible for online renewal. Mail the bottom portion of the registration renewal notice with the fees and requested items in the envelope provided prior to the expiration date to avoid late fees. If you no longer have the envelope, please use the address provided on the renewal notice.

Contact Information
For further assistance, please call us at (800) 777-0133 or send us an email. The email link should only be used for inquiries about your online transaction made at our Website. We do not respond to email inquiries about other transactions or issues.

As a reminder, late fees will be assessed if renewal fees are not paid by the date(s) noted on the registration renewal notice.

So I went to the bank Got my check book for Dear DMV and send the check for $500 dollars with our great usps mail services and since I am driving truck ofcourse I have to pay weight fee. Make the story short after DMV collecting the fund out of my account, send me a appreciation notice called notice of incomplete renewal and Late fees since the application was postmarked after the due date. Please don't tell me I am loosing my mind,so if the mail did not arrive on time or did not postmark it on time at post office is our fault? If the state is out of money,please ask for it,you know how to generate the revenue,here is some suggestion that might help start to add:start your car engine fee,turn on your car radio fee, turn on your car AC fee, passenger at front seat fee, passenger at rear seat fee, night light fee,head light fee, and your car birthday due fee, and please dont lecture us to be responsible since you know it by heart that what you folks are doing to the citizens are wrong.
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#11 UPDATE Employee

Feel better now?


My comments and opinions are my own.  I am not speaking on the behalf of Calif Dmv.


Come on, two years in a row?  Didn't you learn your lesson last year? Why didn't you go to DMV before your tags expired and say hey I didn't get my bill?  When I was 18 my dad took me to buy my first car.  (I paid for it).  On the way to get the car he lectured me about the responsibilities involved with owning a car.  He said that it would be my responsibility to make sure the car was insured, registered and maintained.  Obviously your father didn't give you the same lecture.

Finally I find your derogatory insults offensive.  Just because you neglected your responsibilities that doesn't give you the right to insult and demean anyone.  People like you come into DMV every day.  "I didn't get my bill"  is a broken record for the most part.  Most put the blame on DMV's shoulders.  But some say hey, I should've paid more attn and checked on it.  Most of the time the customer will be handed a statement of facts, asked to make a statement that they didn't get the bill and want consideration in the penalties.  If they've never been late before the penalties can be adjusted.  If we can see a reason why a bill wasn't sent.  Or if it had been returned by the post office then we will remove them.

 For the last 3 yrs state workers carried the weight of the budget deficit on their shoulders.  Our pay was cut, we had to take 3 days off a mon without pay.  The average DMV employee makes less than their private sector counterparts.  I made less than $36,000 last year.  That is below the poverty level.  How much did you make last year?

Your rant didn't do anything but prove that you are irresponsible and ill mannered.  Accept responsibility for your poor recordkeeping habits. If you do not have the maturity to handle the responsibilities of owning a vehicle then I suggest you sell yours and get a bus pass. 
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#12 Consumer Comment

Tyler, you better look in the mirror on this one!

AUTHOR: Southern Chemical and Equipment LLC - (USA)

Tyler, you are calling others "morons", etc...but you posted here as the "owner of the company".

You own the DMV?

You should take a close look at what you are doing before calling others morons.
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#13 REBUTTAL Owner of company


AUTHOR: Tyler - (United States of America)

 I have no sympathy for you overpaid bureaucrats at the CA DMV. The whole thing is a big scam designed to suck money out of my pocket to give useless souls like you to have a job. You might think you are human beings but to me you are nothing but blood sucking tics on a free people. 30 days late and I was charged $168 penalty. Seriously, if a bank or any other private company gouged you for that much of a late fee they would be brought up on fraud charges. I got charged $446 for 12 months of "registration" for my 2yr old sedan, give me a break! And what did I get for all that money? I'll tell you what I got, a fricking sticker!! And I paid some moron like yourself to push a few computer keys. These public union workers are nothing but total scum. You should be ashamed every time you cash your paycheck. Go get a real job and contribute something useful to society and stop expecting honest citizens to cover your sad existence.

The CA DMV are nothing but thieves.
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#14 Consumer Comment

Are you really that much of a "tool"?

AUTHOR: Steve - (USA)

The month and year of registration expiration is clearly printed on your registration, and it is the same every year!

You know when it is due, right?

Then just pay it!

You can go online and do it in less time than it took to do this rip off report!

Problem solved.

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#15 UPDATE Employee

Late DMV renewals


Make the entire process automated?  CA DMV has been trying to get customers to pay their fees by mail for years. Now they are trying to get people to pay by mail, over the phone or by internet. There are still the die-hards that insist on walking in and paying their registration fees in cash every year.  The billing process is automated.  The paper is fed into the printing machine, they are printed and another machine stuffs the envelopes and they are loaded onto the USPS mail truck and away it goes. I don't know how much more automated it can get. 

Shame on CA DMV because you didn't get your bill yet you received the delinquent notice? If you had a problem with the billing last year, one would think that you would be on the lookout for the bill this year.  You do realize that "I didn't get the bill" is one of the most popular excuses people use when they are paying a bill late don't you? And that applies to any bill.  I am not saying that DMV doesn't make mistakes, I am just saying that YOU, the registered owner of the vehicle, is responsible for knowing when those tags expire.  And if YOU don't receive a bill then YOU are supposed to take your registration card to DMV and pay for the renewal.  And just because the "month" tag says JUNE, that doesn't mean that you have until July 1st to pay for the renewal.  The vehicle has a birthday, just like you do, and that is the day the tags renew each year.

There are a couple reasons that you didn't get your renewal notice.  1) If someone sent in a release of liability with your plate # on it (in error of course). 2) law enforcement put a stop on it 3) You moved and didn't update your address 4) The mailman didn't deliver it to the correct address. 

And finally, we are not thugs.  We are human beings, trying to do the best job we can. We do make mistakes, just like the customers do.  We are not whipping boys for the customers to treat like second class citizens. We don't make the rules and regulations that we have to follow.  The people that YOU elected made those decisions and passed those laws.  Since the first of May, we have had to tell people that we were unable to send out their renewal notice because the legislature was trying to raise fees and passed a bill that put a hold on those notices. Now the notices are being mailed out with an insert explaining the reason for the delay, the extension to pay the fees and included an expedite envelope for them to return the payment in.  This past week I had at least 80 people walk into the office with the notices we sent them and I still had to repeat everything that was written on the papers in their hand. 

Finally, if you do not want to be in arrears next year, be responsible and make sure your registration is paid on time.  If you have problems retaining information then get a day planner and make a note when your registration is due.  If you don't receive the bill and its less than 60 days to the renewal date, then make an appointment and go into DMV and find out how much the bill is.  By the way, DMV receives approximately 80,000 pieces of mail 5 days a week.  So be sure to put your plate number on your payment.  If you use online banking I suggest you don't because the online banking system payments get lost more often than any other type of payment.
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#16 Consumer Comment

Never had a problem

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

You must be special for them to pick on you. I have yet to miss a renewal notice in my many years of owning cars. I do know they send them out about 2 months early so it is possible that you just toss it as junk mail. Of course if by chance you don't get one its pretty easy to look at your license plate and think. "hmmm looks like my renewal is due soon perhaps I should look into it. "

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