Saturday, May 2, 2009


Look up the word 'bureaucracy' in any thesaurus and the phrase 'Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)' will surely be listed as a synonym.

Here's my current conundrum: My old 1994 Nissan failed Virginia State inspection in a fairly spectacular and very expensive way. As we just bought a new Toyota Rav4 last week, this gives me the flex to say "Time to donate you, faithful Sentra." To donate the car, I need the title. And of course, I can't find the title. So, time to contact Virginia DMV and get a reprint.

They have a wonderful site with all sorts of great online options, and all sorts of accompanying problems.
  1. Bad secure key. That's the first issue. It would appear they are in the process of changing domains. My mailing I just got from them sends me to but as became obvious very quickly, the site's secure key is still tied to Sooo, when you click on any form link you get BIG SCARY SECURITY ERRORS. Understanding the web as I do, I just put in an exception and keep going, but I bet a lot of others don't. Best to fix that, DMV. I suggest using just one domain myself; stick with .gov. You are not a .com.
  2. A 'request a PIN' form that requires a PIN to submit it. Everything on the DMV site -- including the ability to request a reprint of your title -- requires a PIN (Personal Identification Number), which you must request to be sent to you in paper form. So, I filled out the request a PIN form, submitted it, and immediately got sent to a confirmation page that required a PIN. That is ... awesome.
  3. An automated phone system that drives people into a dish-breaking rage. Feeling that I had struck-out online, I tried their automated phone system. Requesting a PIN was an option. Great. You had to enter your customer ID. OK. The auto-attendant started up "If your customer ID begins with an A, press 1. If your customer ID begins with a B, press 2. If your customer ID begins with a C, press 3..." As I looked at my 9 digit Customer ID in front of me, I felt I could not make it, so I abandoned the cause.
At this point, I am hoping that my ill-fated PIN request online went through. I guess I'll know in a week. In the meantime, my car can hang out at the Nissan Dealership, I guess.

[If you're sitting there saying 'Why don't you go to a DMV office?" My response is Ha-ha-ha-ha. The last time I went to one was 10 years ago. It opened at 9am. I got there at 8:30am. The line stretched around the building 3 times and I was told that it was already too late. i.e.,. They counted the people and calculated that they wouldn't be able to get through them all by the time the office closed.]

1 comment:

Pish Posh, @imakeagoodhat said...

I know this is old, but for the future..

MD has some express DMVs now. Maybe VA has some too?