September 2017

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[personal profile] benveniste
I'm buying a new car.  Today I wanted to order replacement license plates so I could retire 12-year old, beat-up ones when I take delivery.  Massachusetts offers them at a fairly modest $10 per plate.  They also offer ordering by phone.  So I called to place an order.  The automated system told me the wait time would be over an hour and offered a callback service.  I elected this option and was told the call would come in "over an hour."

Just under 2 hours later, I did get a callback.  But apparently it was not possible to place an order for 2 replacement plates. Instead, I had to place two orders -- one for each (identical) plate. The agent required me to read off my credit card number once for each order, then read off the CVV once for each order, then gave me a confirmation code for each order and then made me listen to the identical boilerplate language about receiving a temporary in 3-5 days and the plates arriving in 4-6 weeks.  In other words, the transaction took more than twice as long as it should have and probably resulted in the Commonwealth paying higher transaction fees to the bank.

I refuse to believe that this sort of thing happens by accident or neglect.  This had to be a deliberate decision by RMV management.  I'm willing to bet it was justified by some concerns over accidentially overcharging people.  But all it really does is create busy work for the agents.  That means that the RMV has to hire more agents and more people to manage them.  In other words, bureacratic empire building at its finest.

So if you wonder how come the Massachusetts RMV had to raise fees last year to close a $53 million budget gap or why the queues are so long, I think I found part of the answer.
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