Hacking through red tape

I’m so tangled in red tape I can hardly move.

After the wedding, I changed my name on all vital documents except for one: my car registration. I’m not sure how this slipped through the cracks but I didn’t deem it too important, even when I renewed my tabs. Online renewal removes the possibility for awkward questioning by city clerks (and my tabs were expired anyway). Little did I know how this would come back to bite me.

We’ve moved into a neighborhood where most of the street parking requires a zone permit unless you want to park blocks away or risk a ticket (and you WILL be ticketed). The requirement for a permit is simple enough: a copy of your car registration and a copy of a document proving you live in your specific neighborhood zone, i.e. a lease agreement or an electric bill. Fair enough. One problem: the last name on your car registration must match the last name on your other document. My names don’t match.

So change your registration, Heather. I’M TRYING. My car is a leased car, which has made this process all the more difficult. My first rational thought is to go to the Department of Licensing. Makes sense, right? I checked their Web site and learned that if you are leasing a car, you must change your name with the lienholder of the vehicle. I switch course and contact my lienholder. They change my name in their system and tell me they will send me a copy of the registration in the mail, as they cannot fax it. Great, I say.

Three weeks go by and I have received nothing. Meanwhile, we’ve moved and received our first ticket. I call back my lienholder and explain the situation. Now they tell me that they cannot send a car registration as only the Department of Licensing has those. Cool. Maybe you shouldn’t have misinformed me three weeks ago? They say I need a power of attorney form to take to the DOL office, and can then change my name. Great, I say. They tell me they are faxing the form and I should get it within the hour, for sure by the next day. In the meantime, I call the DOL to make sure this form is what I need to change my name.

“Oh you don’t even need that form!” is her pert reply. “You just need to come into an office with your marriage license and current ID, and a copy of something that shows you changed your name with the lienholder.”

“Ok…” I say. “Maybe your Web site should be a little more specific as to your instructions for lessees.”

“It is a bit confusing,” she says. To say the least.

I never got the fax from my lienholder, but I went into a DOL office today with all the documents they told me to bring. I was promptly informed that I needed the actual title of the car. But I don’t HAVE the title because I don’t own the car! Well, the clerk says, your lienholder needs to give it to you so you can bring it in and change your name. The clerk suggested sending in my mismatched documents to the zone permit office anyway. “They should be able to put two and two together,” she said. To which I reply in my head, I’m not too sure of that, YOUR office doesn’t seem to be doing too good of a job.

By now I’m near tears at this whole debacle. All I need is a blasted parking pass. I called back my lienholder, and they told me they wouldn’t send me the title. We went back and forth, and the customer service representative finally agreed to put me on hold and see if they had it in their office. She came back a few minutes later and told me that she found it; would I like it faxed or mailed? Who says I can’t get things done? The fax is due to arrive in my office today or Monday. The saga continues.

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