April 2, 2001
Governor George E. Pataki
Albany, New York, 12224
Dear Governor Pataki:
I am writing you in reference to a letter I sent to you dated March 28, 2001 (attached), regarding my frustrations and difficulties with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. I have learned today that despite my best efforts to resolve a lapse of insurance issue on a vehicle I no longer own, I must still suffer my license suspension for 117 days. I maintain that the NYC Herald Square DMV and at the Insurance Service Bureau have been helpful to the best of their abilities, however, I have identified several areas where I was hindered by the bureaucracy and lead to pursue actions which damaged my case and denied the restoration of my driving privileges to me. Attached is a bulleted timeline which elaborates on my case. As follows, here is a list of the problems I encountered during my long period of communication with the DMV:
C I was not informed until February that my plates had not been turned in. It was my fault the plates were not returned, however, because my insurance company was delinquent in informing the DMV I had cancelled my coverage, I did not receive a timely notice from the DMV which would have alleviated this situation.
C The DMV did not receive the notarized letter I was advised to send, explaining the situation. I sent it by US mail once, and faxed it another time, and it did not reach the people who were assisting on my case. Also, I was unable to contact these people by name or direct line while I was trying to solve these problems, further lengthening the time spent trying to resolve the situation.
C The DMV is not open seven days a week, therefore, their insistence on standards such as 90 days, or 24 hours, should be amended to 90 business days.
C Upon returning my plates, I was not informed my license would be suspended. I was also not informed at any point that my sworn statement would be of no value in the proceedings, if this had been the case, I would have saved the time and effort and accepted the outcome with more grace. The only proof of date accepted by the DMV came from a dealership who is guilty of accepting titles as trade in signed by persons other than those who are trading in the car, and who are not present at the transaction. It appears my license suspension is an instance of the State of New York trusting a company who are proven to be acting loosely outside of the letter of the law, and disregarding the statements of a person who has been the model of a law abiding citizen.
C Correspondence mailed by the DMV is slow to reach the addressee. My license was suspended on March 25. I did not receive notice of this fact until March 30. There were two letters sent to me notifying me of this fact, one was dated March 25, and the other March 27. Both were postmarked March 28. I could have driven for five days without being aware of my license suspension.
I remain very frustrated and disappointed after my dealings with the DMV. The fact that I, a college educated professional, was unable to clear my name after an honest mistake (not turning in the plates), and must now suffer an erroneous suspension of my license for nearly four months is appalling. My sworn statement was worth nothing to the bureaucracy. My word, as a citizen of NYS with a clean driving record was disregarded in favor of protecting a dealership with suspicious titling practices. These are my tax dollars at work? I am dismayed.
Karina J. XXX
cc: Raymond P. Martinez, Commissioner, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
Patty Grosfkopf, Head of Member Services, American Automotive Association
TIMELINE of EVENTS, Karina J. XXX
C I cancelled my insurance on September 24, 2000 on a vehicle which did not run and was not road worthy. I overlooked the license plates, and did not turn them in. I received notice of impending registration suspension on February 20, 2001 (letter from DMV dated February 9, 2001). Upon receipt of this letter, I called the DMV number provided in the letter (February 21, 2001), and was told not to turn in my plates, or my license would be immediately suspended. I wrote the DMV a notarized letter and sent it February 27, 2001.
C I received a second letter from the DMV regarding this matter. I turned in my plates at the NYC Herald Square office on Friday, March 23, 2001. I was told that my file had license suspension scheduled for the end of April, and that I would have 24 hours after turning in my plates to resolve any problems, i.e., bring in appropriate proof of sale.
C I returned to the Herald Square DMV office the Monday morning, March 26, 2001. I presented the receipt that my stepsister had traded in the automobile to a dealership on January 19, 2001. I asked about the letter I had sent, and was told if they had received it, I would have been contacted. I did not ask, nor was I told, of the state of my license.
C I called the ISB that Monday morning following my trip to the DMV office. I was told they had not received my letter, and that my license had been suspended on Sunday, March 25, 2001. This was not within 24 business hours from my trip to the DMV on Friday, March 23, 2001. I faxed the DMV a copy of the notarized letter, and a bill of sale.
C I called the ISB on Wednesday, March to check on my case. They told me to call back later. I queried them on my license suspension, and noted to them I had not yet received a letter informing me of this suspension. After calling, I wrote my original letter to you (attached).
C I received two letters from the DMV on March 30, 2001 notifying me of my license suspension. One was dated March 25, and the other dated March 27. Both were postmarked March 28.
C I called the ISB on Monday, April 2, 2001. I was informed that my word was not good enough by the letter of the law, though I am, as I pointed out, not in the habit of lying in notarized statements, and they had to see the title information from the dealership before they could resolve my case. I was transferred to a supervisor, Carolyn NX, and she informed me she had not received the faxed notarized letter. I also realized I had made the bill of sale out with the wrong date, and faxed Ms. NX a revised bill of sale and another copy of the notarized letter – the third one I have sent to the DMV.
C Despite my best efforts to the contrary, Ms. NX called me and informed me my notarized letter and revised bill of sale were unacceptable under the letter of the law, and my license would be suspended for 117 days. She said if she accepted my word, the dealership would be guilty of a skip in title, and they would get in trouble. Therefore, while the dealership did accept a title signed and not dated by me, and filled in the date by themselves, not in my presence, I am the one who is not believed.