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Call Kurtis: I Was Overcharged! How Do I Get a DMV Refund?

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GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) - There’s confusion about that 30-day grace period for DMV renewal fees.

A Grass Valley viewer called Kurtis when he was forced to pay a late fee, he shouldn’t have paid!

It all has to do with lawmakers being slow to pass a budget.

The DMV didn’t know what to charge people for their car registration, so the state was behind getting out renewal notices this summer.

We know the DMV is giving people, whose license tags expired on or after July 1, 2011, an extra 30 days to pay their renewals for the rest of the year.

So what happens if you already paid the late fee? What’s the DMV doing with that money?

It’s registration time for Jerry Moen’s RV.

He went down to his AAA office to renew.

But the workers inside the Grass Valley location told him he’d have to fork over $34 in late fees to the DMV.

But wait a minute, we know he and every other Californian has a 30-day grace period to pay their registration after the state budget delay. It says so right here on the notice he got from the DMV. He was only a day late.

“I was very upset about it,” says Jerry.

But nope, AAA said he’d have to pay so he did.

“I fumed about this all the way home,” says Jerry.

Then called us. Turns out AAA was confused about that 30-day grace period.

An AAA spokesperson telling us quote: “DMV technicians with AAA and at the DMV thought that it was only through July but the extension of 30 days applies through the end of the year…” — Cynthia Harris, AAA spokesperson.

They also suggest it would help if the DMV reprogrammed its computer system so those late fees don’t pop up when AAA puts through a renewal.

So what happens to the Californians who’ve overpaid? What’s going to happen to that money?

The DMV tells us drivers will automatically get refunds in the mail, so if you overpaid, look for a check!

Jerry’s expecting his and he says his AAA has apologized.

“I’m glad I made the effort. I’m glad I took the extra step to contact Channel 13 and we’ll see what comes of it from here,” says Jerry.

AAA tells us they’re sending a message out to all their California offices, reminding them of this 30-day grace period.

If you overpaid and don’t get a refund from the state, you can apply for one on the DMV’s web site.
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AAA’s Full Statement:

The Manager at the AAA Grass Valley office has worked with their DMV field office and Mr. Moen will receive a refund from the state in the amount of $34. The state said that it will take up to 6 weeks for processing but should be arrive earlier.

As for what happened, vehicle registration renewals are typically sent 45 days in advance of the due date of the registration. At the end of May, the budget challenges because of one of the taxes included in the renewals prevented the DMV from sending any renewal bills until the passing of the budget the first week of July. Because of the delay, the fees, which are pre-programmed into the DMV system, are still showing in the system and the fees for those that pay after the due date have to be manually waived for everyone that pays their renewal bill even one day after the due date. This process created a challenge because DMV technicians with AAA and at the DMV thought that it was only through July but the extension of 30 days applies through the end of the year (see below from the DMV website), which we have clarified:

DMV has resumed normal processing timeframes for July 1, 2011, and later registration renewals. Vehicle registrations due in July, August and September, can be renewed now using DMV’s online renewal program without waiting for a billing notice from DMV.

Billing notices are being mailed out as quickly as possible. NOTE: The late payment penalty amounts described on the notices do not apply. Vehicle owners are being provided a 30-day grace period for the remainder of the year. A special insert (see image below) in the billing notice provides more information about the grace period.

Fee changes include:

· Vehicle License Fee rate decreased from 1.15% to 0.65%, and,

· A $12 increase in the registration fee (from $34 to $46).

Customers are encouraged to utilize the renewal by mail or online Internet renewal program to renew their registration. These alternative service delivery options will automatically waive late fees for first 30 days after expiration date. New registration cards and stickers will be issued as quickly as possible.

Law enforcement is aware and will not cite vehicles until the first day of the second month after the vehicle registration expires. For example: A vehicle with a registration expiration date of July 10th would not be cited for delinquent registration prior to September 1, 2011.

We have worked hard to ensure the message is received in the branch office. AAA NCNU processes over 1.4 million transactions a year. We are sorry for the inconvenience and work hard to ensure the best possible member experience.

Cynthia Harris
AAA Spokesperson

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DMV Statement

The DMV provided auto clubs and registration services informational memos to assist their employees on the registration billing notice changes that included a 30 day grace period for registrations due July and August. The customer should not have been charged the late fee. We believe this was an isolated incident. The customer may apply for a refund from the DMV.

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