Monday, August 4, 2008
My Saga with the Calif. DMV and Personal Victory
More than a year ago when we bought our 1955 Crown "canned ham" travel trailer it had new PTI plates that had never been installed, that was one of the reasons we decided to buy this trailer because we did not want the hassle dealing with the DMV, because we have heard all of the horror stories relating to their lack of knowledge in understanding what is eligible for a PTI plate and what is not.
I went to the Palm Spring DMV to transfer this trailer over to our name, and I saw firsthand what many of those camping trailer owners were talking about.
The DMV Clerk, asked me about the trailer, I not only provided her with all of the details, but had the DMV regulations on what qualified us to receive a PTI plate, she told me our trailer would not qualify.
I challenged her and handed her the documents I brought along with me just in case, and she told me I was in correct. I asked to speak to a supervisor, but instead of allowing me to do so she walked over to her supervisor and questioned my statements and he told her that she was correct and because my trailer did not have soft sides it was not qualified to get a PTI plate but in fact it was not a camping trailer and they went ahead and reclassified my trailer as a Coach and took away my PTI registration, that we were told we would have to renew every year. Knowing I was correct, I again protested, to no avail. They even said that because the trailer had the incorrect designation those penalties were due, but fortunately they waved them.
So I began my saga, first writing the Senior Office Manager of the local DMV, explaining to her my situation , I again provided the 3 pages DMV regulations and asked her to correct the mistake, I went on to explain that if they did not correct this mis-justice I would take it up the chain of command.
I hoped because I knew I was right, first because the trailer already had the plate when I bought it, but also knowing that when the previous owners transferred it over to their name they had to take it to the DMV for inspection, because they could not locate the VIN numbers, so they had to get a DMV blue tag VIN plate. so we knew it was inspected and was at that time qualified as a camping trailer and they registered it as such with the original PTI plate.
Needless to say I never heard back from them, so I began a letter writing campaign as well as emailing everyone I could From the Governor, Senators, Assemblymen, and every DMV office that I located an email address for and etc.
Again I got nothing back from any of them; I took it all the way up to the Director of the DMV, Director George Valverde. [A side bar on that was really surprised how hard it was to gain email address of those in California Government, it took me more than a year to locate the Director's email address, they keep these email address well guarded.]
Anyway I had already written a dozen or more letters, but once I gained the Director's email address, everything changed, he referred me to The Manager of Registration and Titling Mr. Mark Keskeny, whom has gone out of his way to resolve my problem, he went so far as getting me an written letter of apology for the Office Manager who blew me off, and he helped me get my original black and gold vintage plate restored to my trailer.
So after more than a year I have been made whole and my entire problem with the DMV has been resolved, he even got me a refund due to the extra money I had to spend with penalty, extra transfer costs, and renewal that I made to keep my standard tags currant.
Right now we are working together to develop an informational sheet, with instructions, which can be provided to those who believe they may have the incorrect designation for their trailers.
Once it is completed I will have copies of this sheet, and any of you whom believes that you have an incorrect designation for your trailer and I can work with you to get it resolved.
So if you are in the State of California and your camping trailer does not exceed 16 feet in overall length, and does not exceed 96 inches in width, please send me an email and there is a good chance I can help you.
I have attached a link below to my build blog displaying a photo of my restored vintage California Black & Gold license plate and new PTI designation tag.