Ups and Downs at the DMV

No one likes the DMV. It’s generally a last resort. Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid it last week. I still don’t have the title to my van, and the longer I put it off, the more worried I am that I’m never going to get ahold of it. It’s not something that I want to let slide and then have to deal with a few years down the road.

I called the DMV, and waited on hold while the recording told me how valued my call was and that all calls were taken in the order they were received. I like to think I’m pretty flexible and understanding, and I was happy to wait for my turn while getting some other things done on my laptop. And the longer I waited, the less I wanted to hang up, for fear of having to spend hours on hold again.

Finally, after I’d been on hold for 4 HOURS, my mom called the DMV on the house phone. In twenty minutes, that call got answered while my 4-hours-and-counting call continued to tell me how valued I was and that the next available agent would handle my call

Realizing I’d been put on hold for all that time for no reason, I was starting to get frustrated. So I explained the situation to the woman on the other end of the phone, she did some typing, and then bluntly informed me that she didn’t know where my title was.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “I know for a fact that the dealership submitted it to the DMV on February 28th.”

She typed a bit more. “They sent it back to the dealership.”

I waited for more information, like why it was sent back to the dealership, or if I should be concerned, or even just the name of the dealership, since Reno GMC submitted the title but I’d technically bought the van from Redwood Ford. The woman was apparently content to just leave it at that, so I simply clarified, “You sent it back to Redword Ford?”


I waited another moment, still hoping for a little more than sixty seconds and a big question mark after spending four hours on hold. 

“Ok…” I said. “Have a good one.”

“You too,” she said, and hung up, and I was standing there feeling even more frustrated and ticked off than before. So I called the California dealership, where I was met with more uncertainty and finally diverted to their title office, where I ended up on voicemail. I explained the situation, hung up, and then I decided to send Dan at Reno GMC a text about my issues with the title, because I’d let him know that I still didn’t have it a couple of days before.

At this point, I was feeling pretty beat down. No one I’d talked to had seemed too eager to help me out, and even though my title had left the DMV at the beginning of April, no one seemed to have any idea where it wasI’d spent all day on the phone for no reason other than the DMV using a faulty system, and the entire experience left me feeling like I was as significant as a flea to these people.

Dan got his title office in touch with the Redwood Ford title office right away, and promised to help me figure it out, which made me feel a lot better. By morning, Dan had sent me an email with proof that the title was received (for the second time) by the Carson City DMV back on April 19th

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Dan Nichols at Reno GMC is the absolute best. 

Armed with this proof, I called the DMV back.

This time, my call was correctly directed through the answering system, and I was able to talk to someone within half an hour. The woman introduced herself as Heather, and cheerfully asked how I was doing. After explaining the whole thing again, this time adding that I had a delivery confirmation for April 19th, she seemed genuinely invested in my problem. The first thing she did was apologize for my experience the day before.

While she quickly looked it up, she mentioned how great Ford Transits are, and we got to chatting about my awesome taste in cargo vans.

“The title isn’t registered in the system, but let me check the delivery logs,” she said, quickly finding another way to try to solve my problem before drawing me back into conversation. Honestly, I was enjoying chatting with her so much that I wasn’t feeling too worried about the title anymore. I told her about my plans to convert and live in the van, which she was really excited about. She asked me all kinds of questions about it, and we chatted about traveling and some of the traveling she’s done and would like to do.

“We do have a record of receiving it,” she slipped into the conversation. “But it should have been processed by now. Let’s see where it went…

Apparently, processing had once again decided to send it back to the dealership. But Heather reassured me that while, yes, it might get sent back again, there was also a good chance that whatever issue they’d noted was reasonably small enough that the department responsible for sending it back would mark it as ok, and the title could finish processing

All of this information would have been available the day before. The woman I spoke to then, knowing I’d been waiting for four hours, could have dug a little bit deeper and given me a little reassurance. She could even have been a little friendlier, or apologized for the long wait, but she didn’t. I spent a little over ten minutes on the phone with Heather, but by the time I hung up I wasn’t worried about my title anymore. I felt like I knew what was going on and why it was happening, and her cheerful disposition and conversation actually put me in a better mood than before I called

And, just to put the cherry on top, Heather offered to check up on my title personally if I haven’t received it in a couple weeks. She sent me an email so I could contact her directly, and wished me luck with everything.

If I knew I was going to deal with Heather every time, I’d actually enjoy going to the DMV. If I knew that they were genuinely getting to my call as quickly as possible, I wouldn’t mind waiting my turn. But to spend four hours telling me how valuable my call is, when I should only have been on hold for half an hour, only to be bluntly given bare-minimum effort by someone who sounds like she thinks I shouldn’t bother calling at all, is ridiculous. The DMV needs more Heathers. (And Heather deserves a bonus.)

This post is turning more into a rant about the DMV than anything to do with the van. I just really wanted to publicly thank Heather Watson at the Nevada DMV, because she was so helpful, and made me feel so much better about the title process, and made me feel like I mattered after the nightmare the day before. I think people like that, people who really try to make others’ days better, deserve to be recognized. 

And even months after the sale, when he’s not going to make any more money off me no matter how nice he is, Dan is still going above and beyond to help me with every step of this process

It’s truly remarkable, so I’m remarking on it.

Hopefully the title shows up in the mail soon. But if it doesn’t, I’m not too worried. I know Dan and Heather have my back.

The next blog post will be van-build-centric again. I’ve got some updates on the subfloor and the electrical system to fill you in on!