What’s in a name? A lot, when it comes to your vehicle’s registration with the DMV. In fact, you might want to take a closer look at your own paperwork.
Joe Kestenbaum loves the motorcycle he bought this summer. Getting to the point where his new ride was roadworthy was a struggle. Not for the reasons you might think.
Kestenbaum went to the DMV in Wethersfield to register his bike. After an hour and a half, he was turned back for a paperwork issue by the seller. He returned, and after another hour and a half, and got his registration. However, it was not registered to his West Hartford address. Instead, it said a man in Madison down on the shoreline was the new owner.
The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters discovered that individual is actually in Atlanta, Georgia and has not lived in Connecticut for more than a decade.
Kestenbaum was stunned “My license plate my VIN number, my bike, but not my name. Some other person’s name.”
Kestenbaum explains the DMV did keep him from having to make a return trip to a branch. It took another hour and a half to clear up the agency’s mistake.
“The person on the phone said, ‘…gee I wonder how this happened’, and I said I’m sure someone just clicked on the wrong name. And she said ‘yeah, that’s really easy to do’ in the new system that’s what she said.”
The DMV tells the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters in the case of Kestenbaum’s motorcycle, an examiner just grabbed the wrong identification off the system. Agency spokesman Bill Seymour says this has happened occasionally with both its new computer software, and the previous software it used as well.
“I know for sure that it’s not widespread, we’re not getting major reports into the commissioner’s office, and to our title unit, and our registration unit, and into our branch offices, with people saying, how did this happen?” Seymour said.
Kestenbaum expressed frustration at the sitution. ”This is a pretty straightforward interaction. Buying a new vehicle. Getting new plates. It’s something that happens every day. So if anything they should get that right.”
And what about the man whose name was on the motorcycle’s erroneous paperwork? Shawn Ryan of Atlanta says when he learned about it he was "immediately concerned."
"We are all concerned about identity theft. When my mother subsequently contacted the DMV the error was already corrected,” he said.
NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters also reached out to the Madison tax collector’s office. It never received the motorcycle paperwork with Ryan’s name on it, so he will not be getting a tax bill from the town. The office says however, it has noticed several cases like this recently.