What's The Worst DMV Experience You've Ever Had?

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Waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles has to be one of the most hateful and mind-numbing wastes of precious time anyone can ever endure, and the faith lost in humanity can only multiply when you talk to a person working there. What are your worst DMV stories?

(Photo by Oregon Department of Transportation on Flickr)

Since this is a sharing exercise, I’ll start it off. For the amount of cars I buy, I spend an extraordinary amount of time at the DMV, but this recent experience stands out:

I went to a local DMV after buying a car out of state, Texas, to be exact. After waiting an hour and a half in a line that would’ve taken 10 minutes at the slowest Dunkin Donuts on Earth, I hand the non-plussed clerk my vehicle’s title signed and dated, with cash in hand to pay for the registration, taxes, and fees. The clerk takes one look at the title and says that she needs a copy of the previous owner’s driver’s license because she can’t make out the guy’s signature. I told them that I got the car from a dealer, whose name was clearly stated on the back of the title in the “1st Reassignment” category. I had no idea who the previous owner was and not only was the title signed, dated, and stamped by the dealer with their representative’s signature, I had the bill of sale from the dealership along with temporary in-transit registration in my name.

At no point was any information missing, she apparently couldn’t fathom that a person could have crappy handwriting. She ends up writing on the title that I have to get a copy of the license of the previous owner in Texas in order for me to register the car. I call for a manager, and out comes a guy that looked so put off that I disturbed his five dollar foot-long that at no point in our conversation did he attempt to make eye contact with me, instead staring at the gray depressing canvas that made up the walls of this hellhole. I asked him what I was supposed to do since they expected someone 2000 miles away who I didn’t buy the car from, to hand over a copy of their sensitive personal information to me, a complete and total stranger. His answer was a hearty “That’s not my problem. We’re done here.


I called up the dealership immediately afterwards and arranged to have a third party agency that had a good rapport with a local New Jersey DMV do all the paperwork for a fee. Turns out, the signature read just fine and about a week later, I got my title and plates in the mail. Moral of the story? Fuck the DMV.


You can send your horror stories to apidaonline@gmail.com, and I’ll arrange them in an upcoming post. Also, if you’re a DMV employee and you have some crazy customer stories, feel free to email me as well. Who knows, maybe we’re the problem.

All stories will be kept anonymous.

Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn’t feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.

You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He won’t mind.