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Massachusetts RMV
In late September, I tried to get a driver's license at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. "No can do," I was told. "You need a Driver's Record from New Hampshire."

So, I got one. No big deal, but it took a couple weeks to get it, and a couple weeks to motivate myself to go over there again. November 29th.

"This doesn't help. It tells us the same thing we already know. You need to have something that says you've been driving for at least 3 years." Huh? That's not what you told me before. "Well, let me check. Oh, I guess it's just one year." Okay, well, I have been driving for one year in NH, but this driver's record doesn't say that, and if it doesn't now, why would it ever? "Well, you'll have to get a corrected copy from NH." Let me talk to someone. "You have to go over there." No, I'm not moving until you've told me *who* I'm talking to and until they've come over and let me know that I need to talk to them. Supervisor says that I need to see her.

"I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do. You need three years of driving experience on paper to get a license." Huh? Where does it say that? Not the website "The website is out of date." Not the driver's manual. "We don't have new ones printed yet." Can you give me some piece of paper that has this rule on it? "No." So you're telling me you have a rule, that's not written down anywhere that says I have to have... wait a second. Three? How many is it? I've been told 1 year and 3 years.

15 minutes of papershuffling and conversing with every person working at the RMV later:
"It's 2 years." How do I know? "Because I told you." And this isn't in writing *anywhere*? "No."

Grumble. Get driver's record when in Illinois. Return today.

Here's my proof of residence, Social Security Card, 3 additional forms of ID, 2 Driver's records, and most recent license. "Hm, this hasn't been two years..." Person next to RMV employee: "Oh, the supervisor told me we don't need to check those anymore." Wha? "Yeah, we don't check them anymore." You're kidding me. I spent 3 months driving on an invalid license, getting paperwork, and came to this place 3 seperate times to be told that the regulation blocking me from getting a license *never existed*?

Thank you, Mass RMV. I am now a licensed driver in spite of you, rather than because of you. (Temporary license for a couple weeks, my new one will be in the mail after that.) All due to a policy which no longer exists. And they wonder why I was being slightly suspicious of this rule that no one had written down anywhere.

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Or, as we say in NorCal, "What the helling hell?"

Glad you got a new license though :)

Here's my proof of residence, Social Security Card, 3 additional forms of ID, 2 Driver's records, and most recent license.

*dies* Worse than a passport, isn't it? At least they would know the rules.

I was actually short a photo-id form for my passport, so we seriously just took everything I had with me at the time out of my wallet and scanned it. (2 major credit cards, 2 debit cards, social security, driver's license, plus my birth certificate.)

It worked, I got my passport, but I did feel goofy.

However, it's not a problem with the identity that I have. Those are nicely outlined on documentation on their website and in the RMV. It's the *undocumented* rules that bug me -- because something tells me, given the attitude, that they're not rules. They're policy. And treating policy as the law pisses me off.

Write a formal letter of complaint about it? when it's a shop giving poor service I tend not to bother with direct complaints, I just don't use the shop again, but when it's a government department, they deserve a good public flogging because there is no alternative and we're paying for it through taxes. I don't know about the US, but the UK government has a general policy on the need to log and respond to written complaints so at the very least you get the satisfaction that you pissed them off in return for them doing it to you.


Hear hear. Look online as required for the name and address and e-mail address of:

  • the Governor;
  • whatever Cabinet official is in charge of the RMV;
  • whoever's in charge of the RMV itself;
  • whoever's in charge of the particular office you went to;
  • the state representative and/or state senator representing your district;
  • all the other state reps. and sens., just for good measure; and
  • every media outlet you can think of, print or electronic. (Local TV news stations love this shit.)

    Tell them, nicely, that (a) these people dicked you around, (b) they gave you many conflicting bits of information, (c) that you are concerned that these bits of information have nothing whatsoever to do with MA motor vehicle law [should be able to check that online], (d) that these bureaucrats may be inventing silly rules for no particular reason, and (e) that obviously, the staff need clearer direction as to what exactly are and aren't the rules, and need to be spanked if they're being idiots.

    BTW, if you do do all of the above, let me know. My satellite TV gets its eastern US network feeds from Boston, so if one of the local TV news shows does indeed pick up your story, I'll get to watch. "I like to watch." [Bonus points for the character, actor, and movie from whence that quote cometh.]

  • ...Chance? Being There?

    Actor, I cannot do.

    Excellent. 10 points out of 15.

    Peter Sellers, in his last role before his death.

    I love that movie. I need to watch it again.


    That sounds like the Registry.

    Welcome to my humble home, the great Massachusetts.

    I can't wait to get the fuck out.

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