The South Carolina DMV

Today’s post is a rant about the glorious South Carolina DMV and how bad it sucks.  I’ve written about the South Carolina DMV is in an earlier post:  Honda S2000 Gets a Tag.  Today I have an even better story.  So quoting from the famous brewery, “If you’ve got the time, we have the err… story!”…  Read on because you are in for a real treat…

The newly redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline

You see, one of my buddies at work recently bought a new 2017 Honda Ridgeline like the one in today’s featured picture.  Not exactly the same color, but my friend’s Ridgeline came fully equipped with every possible bell & whistle available.  I am not a truck kinda guy, but this one is something else!

A few days after my friend bought his new pride and joy, we went to lunch and he said “Check this out!”…  He about scared the crap out of me:  he floored the throttle, let go the wheel and as we approached a red light (with a car stopped ahead of us), the Ridgeline immediately came to a controlled halt – it automatically intervened and handled the situation.  I’m like, damn!!!  Amazing what technology can do for you, right?

OK back to the South Carolina DMV…

You see my buddy had to travel out-of-state to buy his truck.  He wanted all the gizmos on it and the only one with such accoutrements was found in a different state.  The deal went according to plan, and included the fee for the tag and transfer which is pretty much a given.  Right?  WRONG!!!  My poor friend has had en experience from hell.

You see, the South Carolina DMV gives you 45 days to display the paper, temporary tag.  During that time (or sooner), one should get a) the tag and b) the title.  In my buddy’s case this went terribly wrong.  As it has turned out, during the process of entering the Ridgeline’s vital statistics into the DMV’s database the person doing the typing fat-fingered the empty weight of the vehicle.  Instead of typing 4,100 lbs, they entered 41,000 lbs.

This is basic “Programming for Dummy’s” stuff:  you would have thought the online system at the DMV would have prevented the data-entry clerk from entering 41,000 lbs as the empty weight of a pickup.  But no.  The system accepted the value and immediately produced a very expensive tag transfer fee.  This in turn, caused a pileup of epic proportions between the DMV, the dealer and the bank.

During this time my buddy is patiently waiting for his new tag.  Instead he gets one of those “oh shit” letters informing him the tag is nowhere near because his Ridgeline has magically morphed into a 41,000 Honda tractor-trailer and he now owes something like $4,500 worth of title transfer fees to the state’s coffers.  Day-um, Nikki Haley – today is NOT a good day in the state of South Carolina!!!!

In case you don’t know, Nikki Haley is South Carolina’s illustrious governess and future ambassador to the United Nations.  And she made it a point when she took office to make all employees answer the phone by saying how great a day it was in South Carolina.  Back to my friend’s story.

For the past week my friend has had to work from home.  The 45 day period has elapsed and if you follow the letter-of-the-law, the vehicle cannot be driven in the state of South Carolina.  My friend has made many trips to the DMV and every time somebody just passes the buck to someone else.  The clerks say they can’t change things; they need a supervisor.  The supervisors can’t seem to get their act together.  Today, my friend told me the clerk said all traces of the case have been lost and they can’t tell him where they are.  Honest!  I’m not making this up.  This is for real.

Seriously the irony in all this is that a mistake by a data-entry clerk has landed in the lap of my buddy.  The DMV has clearly stated the 45 day tag cannot be extended and the car not be driven on public roads.  He has also been told this will be “maybe” solved in the next few days.  And of course, all this from folks we (as tax payers) indirectly pay for in the form of their salaries.

Bureaucracy is a bad thing.  Add ineptitude and you have a disaster.  It is a crying shame that in this age of high technology, vehicles are still given “titles” and rely on all this antiquated paperwork.  Then again, I think I am preaching to the choir.

And as always when it comes to this type of situation, it is the tax payer (us) that get the shaft up the arse.

Hopefully soon, I’ll have an update with a satisfactory resolution.  In the meantime, didn’t I tell you this was an interesting story?


7 thoughts on “The South Carolina DMV

  1. Michael H.

    Wow! a 41,000 lb Ridgeline!

    I can’t believe you tested the automatic-braking system. Hope your buddy doesn’t buy a bullet proof vest.

    Our DMV is awful. Really a place where you have to “kill’em with kindness”. NC requires tags on trailers. I went to the Charleston DMV for my boat trailer registration / title / tag. What a mess. I just had to patiently stand at the counter and repeat the low value of a rusty boat trailer and finally the “supervisor” approved it without having to pay any back property taxes.

  2. tysonhugie

    That’s one very obese Ridgeline! What a nightmare! I’m glad to know (well, actually more saddened to know) that other states are just as inefficient when it comes to navigating the DMV mess. The last car I bought – my 1992 Integra – I went to a mom & pop “third party” site that was a LOT less stress and totally worth the few bucks extra it cost. Anyway, good luck to your buddy. Hope he still at least likes his truck. I haven’t driven the new Ridge yet.

    1. bowtie6 Post author

      Tyson the Ridgeline is very nice indeed.

      Regarding the mom & pop operation all I can say is that this is not offered here in South Carolina. I wish we had such thing because they probably know the “ropes” so to speak.

      The Ridgeline is nice. I have not driven one but did ride in my friend’s. It is nice!

  3. Michael Yount

    Ha! I had to make 4 trips with the Volvo engine change — turn the tag in to avoid a penalty because I couldn’t drive it to get inspected when the tag expired, go back to get a temp tag to get it inspected, back to get a real tag after inspection, back to return the ‘real’ tag when my personalized tag came in the mail. All that within a 4 week period. Having to pee one morning, and realizing there was no bathroom at the DMV (you can’t pee at the DMV) inspired me to write the following lyrics to a song….think Charlie Daniels “I was toolin’ along in my Chivalay….”

    Bought a car the other day
    Not new, but new to me
    But before I can drive away
    Gotta head to the DMV

    Outta bed way too early
    No time for spit and shine
    Them ladies mean and surly
    And for that you wait in line

    60 minutes to reflect
    While I stand there shiftin’ weight
    “Your papers sir, they ain’t correct”
    Today I’ll get no plate

    So I head back home unhappy
    Because it’s clear to me
    That tomorrow will be crappy
    Once again at the DMV

    Roll out again the next day
    For the line at the DMV
    Made a stop at Chick-Fil-A
    For a big ol’ iced sweet tea

    Figured that the cold tea
    Would ease my time in line
    Seems it was the warm pee
    Began to occupy my mind

    In line I bravely faced my fate
    As warm liquid reached my knees
    You’ll do anything to get a plate
    Peed my pants at the DMV

    1. bowtie6 Post author

      Nice to hear from you Michael! Your story is very fitting and the lyrics amazing!

      “Your papers sir, they ain’t correct!” – priceless! Amen brother, I’ve heard that before.

      And by now, I can testify that my friend is about ready to do anything to get his Ridgeline tagged and titled.


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