Motor Vehicles Bureau Gets Your Birthday Wrong, Makes You Pay

A Cleveland driver paid to register his van and truck the day before his birthday, but got stuck with late fees because the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office insisted his birthday was three weeks earlier. The clerk’s response when the man produced a driver’s license with his correct birthday? Sorry; we can’t update the computer record or refund the penalty.

The driver, Willie Robinson, called the BMV after paying his fine, and was told he’d have to pay another fee to have his birthday corrected in the Bureau’s computer system:

When I called the BMV in Columbus, I was told I could run into the same problem next year if the BMV didn’t fix its computer record. But they said if they corrected it, the bureau would have to issue me replacement stickers and that would cost “at least” $15 per vehicle, maybe more. Plus, they said they won’t refund the $40 I already paid in late fees.

Robinson took his case to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Sheryl Harris, who intervened on his behalf.

After investigating its records, the BMV agrees that a BMV employee mistyped information somewhere along the line. It has corrected the error. The agency is refunding the $40 you paid in late fees and issuing you replacement stickers at no added cost to you, spokeswoman Lindsey Bohrer said.

The BMV’s apology was not without some finger-wagging, and a defense of a system that relies on contract workers with limited authority:

In defense of the BMV, Bohrer said that deputy registrars — people who work in offices scattered about the state — are contract employees and are not able to fix erroneous date-of-birth entries in computers. …

[The BMV’s Rachel Eaton] said consumers have a responsibility to review registration forms for errors because when they sign they are attesting the information is correct.

Bureau of Motor Vehicles gets man’s birthday wrong, tries to charge him for the mistake [ cleveland.com]