All I Want is a License Plate

This isn’t a post about how the DMV sucks. Okay, its not entirely about how the DMV sucks, just a little bit at the end. This is a post about my experience trying to get my RV titled and licensed and the things you should keep in mind about the process.

I bought my RV in Ohio because that was where I got the best deal, by far. I picked it up on June 19 and drove it back to Virginia where I live (and where the vehicle sales tax is much lower!)  I financed through the dealership via Bank of America. I was told by the dealer that they would mail me the info to title and register it in Virginia. They gave me the standard 30-day paper dealer tag for the RV.

Two weeks later I still had not received anything, so I contacted my salesperson and was informed that the woman who handles the paperwork was out of town. More waiting. Finally, I heard back on July 8th that they had sent the title to…Florida, WTF?! They insisted that the title had to go to the lien holder to be recorded and that 7 days after BofA received it I could request that it be sent to Virginia.

This was a major problem. Not only was the dealer tag going to expire but I am leaving the state July 26. So, when the title got delivered to the bank on July 10 I didn’t wait the full 7 days but I put in the request to have it sent to Virginia on July 15 hoping it could get processed faster. No response. I sent a follow up email to the bank on July 17 (now the full 7 days I was told by the dealer to wait). No response.

At this point I was in full panic mode, so I called Bank of America on July 19. Of course, they told me that everything the dealer said was wrong. They said I should have requested the title be sent to Virginia the day it was received by the bank and that it takes 5 business days to process the request and another 5-7 business days for the title to get to the DMV in my state. Oh, and of course there was nothing they can do to help.

Aside: I once had a horrible boss; he was really awful to work for. He was, however, a salesman to his core and he taught me one very valuable lesson: Don’t take “no” from someone who can’t say “yes”. This simple rule has helped me deal with everyone from the cable company to foreign government officials. Obviously, this would work on a bank!

So up to the supervisor I went (otherwise know as escalating the call) and managed to get on the line with a lovely guy named Chris B. He was fantastic! He tracked down the title people who had the title brought from the vault and they overnight aired it to the DMV in Virginia. I got follow up calls from Chris and someone in the title department before the end of the day. AMAZING!

So today I went to the DMV. I’ve been to this DMV office several times over the years and I do find them quite pleasant as far as DMVs go. But today I made the mistake of going to the bathroom. Yep, I answered nature’s call and when I came out (within 2 minutes) I noticed that my number had been skipped. So I asked the guard and he sent me to a window and the woman there said they had called my number “6 or 7 times.” Really, in under 2 minutes? So anyway, I finally got to the counter and got my RV titled and registered so I’m now legal to drive the damn thing.

Moral of the story: allow plenty of time to deal with vehicle titles, don’t believe anything the dealer tells you, escalate that call until someone says yes, and the Virginia Beach DMV needs to put speakers in the damn bathrooms!

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