Monday, February 1, 2010

Missouri Mails You Things

This isn't one of those fun, care-free, sterilized for your protection type posts you're used to from Arch Observer. No, this one poison-tipped. How does one poison-tip a blog post? Dip a corner of the computer you're typing on in whatever large vat of poison you have lying around the house. What's the point? I don't really know. It seemed very vindictive at the time. I wouldn't recommend trying it though. All it did was make it so I can't type the "^" symbol (the real symbol I can't use was replaced by this one for safety's sake) and the contact with my computer has ruined a perfectly good vat of poison. I should have just written this to "Every Rose Has It's Thorn." Anyway, this hastily sorta-poisoned post is aimed towards you, Missouri Department Of Revenue!
Purchasing a new car can be a stressful situation for many people. Not so for me. Doing a ton of homework before a big decision is sort of "my thing." I go in knowing as much as there is to know and there was no exception when I decided on ditching my older, larger, nicer car for more of a city-optimal small car. When all was said and done I chose to go with a Volkswagen Rabbit. It fit all of my pre-purchase needs; It needed to be small, a good value, have an auxiliary jack for the iPod and drive reasonably well. It even came with a bonus Donnie Darko inspired nickname: Frank. Well, it didn't come with it. I added it on.
All my mindless research and back and forth with dealerships led me to Sunset Ford out on Gravois Rd in St Louis County. The used VW Rabbit they had on the lot completely fit all my categories of want and even looked like a Frank. I was helped by an excellent representative by the name of Derrick Wood. Derrick is the internet sales manager and could not have been any nicer or straight forward. We worked out a price over email and the phone before I even saw the car.
It was seriously the finest car buying experience I've had and I can go on and on, but that not at all what this post is about. Buying the car was what led me to discovering a slightly strange fact about Missouri law. Before we get into this let's hop in my Delorean time machine (I don't use it as a day-to-day car), punch in one year ago this month, get this baby up to 88 mph, and get in line with 1-year-younger me at the St Louis BMV. That was where a very nice lady handed me a letter and instructed me to send it to the lien holder for my car. The letter instructed my lien holder, GMAC, to kindly send the title of the car to the Missouri Department of Revenue. I found this strange considering that every other state I've lived in doesn't ask for this. Feeling a little off about it, I asked her to clarify. Yes, in the state of Missouri the lien holder does not get to keep the title. Satisfied with the answer, I left it at that. I send the letter... GMAC sends them the title... Whatever.
Oh no! It's 10:03 pm! Quick - get back in the Delorean!
Back to 2010. Or "the Future." I go to see the finance guy at the dealership to finish up the paperwork. He asks me for the Saab's title. I say the state of Missouri has it. I know this because GMAC sent me letter saying they had sent it to them. "Yeah," he says, "they should have then sent it to you." I never received a car title I assured him, but he insisted that they should have sent it to me. He makes a few phone calls and the state gives him a date that they apparently sent it. This was now proof enough that I lost it. I agree, blaming the mail is a huge cliche, but in my building they screw up the mail all the time. I'm not surprised at all.
What I am surprised at is that the State sends title in the mail and doesn't, at least, certify them! I mean, it's a car title. A pretty important document if you ask me. If I had known that Missouri actually sends these to people I might have called and inquired to where mine was at. I never considered they'd send me a title to a car that I didn't outright own. I had assumed it was safe and warm in the belly of some concrete building in Jeff City sitting next to government conspiracy documents. Surely I'd need Nicholas Cage to acquire such important paperwork. Nope, they send it to you. Presumably wrapped in newspaper.
Not knowing that the state does such a thing cost me an extra $50 so that Sunset Ford could get a new copy of the title. Nevermind that it only costs $11 through the Missouri Department of Revenue. Apparently this puts Sunset Ford out so the extra cash is to recover... I don't know... Styrofoam coffee cups and rubber key chains. Luckily, my experience here didn't ruin the whole car purchase for me. It was a short and annoying inconvenience that I thought they were being a bit ridiculous on, but I still drove away happy that I had made a good decision.
And let's get this straight. It was only $50. Certainly a small pittance compared to the cost of the vehicle. Plus, it's still true that the title was my responsibility even though I had no knowledge that it should be. Still, I could have used that money on a sweet french fry holder.
There you go Missouri Department of Revenue. This post just totally nailed you. Literally dozens of people will hear about this. And just think if a link to this falls into the wrong hands... I imagine those "wrong hands" might send a sternly written but poorly worded email about this to completely the wrong department. Again, that's if. Consider this your warning. In the meantime I'll likely just raise my eyebrows a little whenever I get mail from you. Visually, most won't notice, but inside I'll mocking you. Perhaps my first chance will be if and when I get the title for Frank. Wouldn't it be a delicious update if I don't end up getting that one too. Eh... I'm actually sort of over it already. Apparently blogging is cathartic. Instead I'll just update the Facebook status. Segue!
That's right! In case you haven't noticed has joined Facebook. Check over to the right of the screen and click on the "become a fan" button if you're interested in day-to-day observering. I'll be doing things like updating my beard status as well as live updating from different St Louis events and such. Plus, it's a great chance to publicly judge me and discuss topics with other fans. Wow! It's like we're from the future!


Courtney said...

Great post, as usual.

I just wanted to point out to your readers that there were only two blog posts in the entire month of January. Which means you only shaved two times in 31 or more days. Can that possibly be true?! Yes, yes it can.

Bridget said...

I'll continue to follow you on your blog, which I totally enjoy. I don't do Facebook just to piss off my sister.

madsp said...

Car dealerships are actually being sued now for charging illegal "processing" fees. There are several cases going on in St. Louis right now.

Stephanie said...

Yeah, I would have kinda flipped if I never got the title to my car. It has a little "leinholder" section which would have GMAC on it. Kinda weird.