Thursday, February 28, 2013

North Carolina Blows

The North Carolina DMV wants to suspend my driving privileges. Second problem is, because of reciprocation, SOUTH Carolina will suspend my license unless I clear up the issue in NC (At least they're giving me 60 days notice).

Problem is, I haven't lived in NC for over 13 years. They know that. I know they know it because I discussed the matter with a NC DMV rep this morning. Here's the 411:

My "NC driving privileges" were revoked for "failure to appear" in 2001. Notice it wasn't my driver's license that was revoked, since I don't have an NC driver's license.

So my question was "failure to appear for what?? I assure you I've never mastered invisibility." Her reply was that I was ticketed in 2001 for speeding in a work zone. I told her I remember that ticket; I remember it because I was ticketed for traveling less than 5 mph over the limit... and furthermore, I PAID IT. She said, yes, she knows I paid it. According to her, I "complied with the conditions of the violation", but I failed to appear on the court date. As I'd plead guilty and paid restitution, any further appearance should have been completely unnecessary. Note that I did not fail to appear at the courthouse. I did that to pay the ticket. I failed to appear on the court date,  So the judge revoked my driving privileges.
In 2001. 
And they're just now getting around to telling me.

my ghast is flabbered. Why did I bother to show up at a courthouse and pay a ticket if they were going to ignore that and revoke privileges anyway? And why was I not told when I paid it that I had no choice but to show up on the date and time listed, no just pleading guilty and paying the fine as you can do in 48 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands?? And why was I never notified that said revocation had occurred???

Chirping crickets. So I asked what it would take to clear it up, mentally prepared for the inevitable extortion. She didn't disappoint: "$100". Okay, fine, whatever... it would cost more to have a lawyer listen to me bitch. So I asked if she could take that payment over the phone, mentally prepared for the inevitable retardation. She didn't disappoint: "No."

BUT, she cheerfully explained, theres this number I can call so that a third party company could take that payment for a small processing fee. Uh-huh. Somebody has a nephew.

I called the number. It's answered like this: "Hello". I give the case number. Bubba don't know jack about no case numbers. So I tell him the issue, and Bubba says yes, he can process that for me. Basically he takes my info, then goes to the courthouse with a $100 bill and pays my fee. This is for the meager sum of $37. So he charges my card for $137 and assures me that it will be paid by noon today, and it would be a couple of days later for the violation to be "cleared from the Federal registry."

In the meantime, the South Carolina DMV is expecting me to arrive at my local office with a letter stating that the issue is cleared, so I expect North Carolina has more merriment up their sleeves.

UPDATE: I called back the NC DMV about that letter, and the good news is that Bubba was true to his word and paid the fee. Concerning the letter, the NC DMV rep said, "We don't issue no letters. You won't need no letters. South Carolina knows that. They only told you that 'cause you aren't cleared yet."  We'll see.


Here's my take on the subject. North Carolina needs some money. And they find easy targets for money in the form of people who live elsewhere who can be bled on whatever pretext they can dream up.

This is not the first run-in I've had with the North Carolina government. Previously they've sucked my bank account dry for "back taxes" on money that was not earned in North Carolina. I live in SOUTH Carolina, and did business in both states. North Carolina wanted to tax all of it.... not just the portion that was earned in NC, but the entirety of the income amount listed on my Federal return... and they did because (and only because) they could. No recourse.

In 1999 a Greensboro policewoman rear-ended my car. She did it because she had just come from the garage where they'd installed her new on-board computer, and she was watching that instead of the brake lights of my car stopped at the intersection ahead of her. It's actually a good thing for someone else that she plowed into me, because if I hadn't been there, she'd have careened through that red light, causing heavy damage to multiple cars in lunch-hour traffic. It looks like you're being busted for drugs if you're ever in an accident with one of them, as they'll send out two more cars and a police captain. I offered to simply exchange insurance information as you would do in any accident, but no... that's when I found out that police cars in NC are UNINSURED... they say they are "self-insured", but when they do not pay their bills, that makes them liars in that regard. North Carolina wanted me to get the repair work done first, on my dime, and then present them with a receipt. Not a bill... a receipt. Here's how insurance works... when you're at fault, you pay for the damage you caused. The cost of that damage is evaluated by a trained insurance adjuster. What the NC Police have is not insurance, because they don't do that. Nor would they accept my insurance company's figure. To get it fixed in NC instead of back home in SC obviously means I'd've been stuck in NC with no car while it was being fixed, because they don't pay for loaners, either.

And this latest fee... accepting a credit card over the phone is so trivial that I myself can do it using my cell phone to process the charge. YOU could be set up to accept payment by phone in 10 minutes flat armed with nothing more than the knowledge that you can Google the means to do it. The little podunk town where I live can take payments by phone. Yet NC manages to fail, so that they may refer business to nephew Bubba, who'll take care of that for you. Yay, Bubba.

People of NC, I love you lots. But you elect and employ idiots. There is no way in Hell I would ever live there again, nor visit voluntarily, nor do business with anyone there. Not one penny. Not for vacation, not for business, not on a dare, not if I were drunk or senseless. If I ever contract Alzheimer's, the last thing I will remember on my deathbed is "stay the Hell out of North Carolina". Nor would I suggest anyone I know ever do business there for any reason whatsoever. North Carolina blows, sucks, AND bites.