Dear MVA, I Have A Suggestion

| July 21, 2010 | 4 Comments

Dear Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration–

Recently, I became mired in the quagmire you like to refer to as “customer service.”  By no fault (but by total responsibility) of my own, my insurance lapsed.

Typically, I get an email reminder from Geico about my premium and make the payment. As I was reconciling my bank account, I noticed that there was not a monthly payment to Geico. I called and they told me the policy had been canceled. When I asked what had happened, they said I did not respond to the letter of renewal they sent; and they subsequently canceled it.  I get that.

Of course I got the letter from you saying I had lapsed and I contacted Geico again and they were to mail a FR-19 to you, which they did. Apparently this was not enough. And to a point, I am good with that.

My issue is that I was never notified that something as important as insurance was canceled. When I asked Geico how they notified me, they told me they sent me a letter in the mail. I never received it. I asked if they sent it “Certified” or “Return Receipt Requested” and they said that Maryland only requires them to mail the letters and does not require any type of proof that they were mailed or indeed received.

Now I realize that all of you governmental agencies like to believe you are efficient and on the ball, but seriously, the post office has a problem. Mail does not get delivered. It is happening here in Annapolis. It is happening up in North County. As a matter of fact, post office failure happened when your E-ZPass cousin charged a family $2000 for a late toll!  All because of the post office.

Tolls are one thing. Insurance is a completely different animal. Since you are the one that makes the rules of the “I Want To Play In Maryland” game, why on earth would you NOT require the insurance companies to send out cancellation notices by some means where they can verify receipt? I mean, unless you are in bed with them and this is just a method you are using to extort $206 out of unsuspecting drivers, doesn’t it make sense?

The other issue I have is the notice I received on July 21, 2010 from your office. This was the first time I was advised of the fine or even of the fact that Geico had supplied the information to you. There is no date on the letter to indicate when it was prepared, but it did indeed advise me that my registration was suspended as of (wait for it) July 21, 2010.  I looked at the postmark and it was stamped July 16, 2010 (Friday) from Glen Burnie.   Now I will go out on a limb here and assume that this letter probably did not get mailed until Monday, the 19th!

Even if it was hand delivered, 2 days to pay $206? In today’s economy, not many people budget to have an extra $206 hanging around in case the MVA Mafia comes knocking on their doors! But, receiving it on the 21st AFTER the registration has been suspended is a little much.  No grace period. Heck, I could not even drive to the bank to get money from my account without risking getting pulled over (and fined) for a suspended registration.  Quite the Catch-22 don’t you think?

In all seriousness, why aren’t the insurance companies required to send cancellation notices by a verifiable means? The post office in unreliable and in case you haven’t heard, they are talking about closing on Saturdays.

Think about it!  I bet I am not the only one to run afoul of this and some of your other rules.  Maybe some of the readers of this blog will chime in!

PS: I love the new envelopes you have highlighting your 100 years of safety, service, and security–no doubt partially funded by the $206 I paid today!

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Category: LIFE IN THE AREA, OPINION

About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.