My friend Hilary is a bit of a know-it-all. But that’s only because she knows it all. She really does. Seriously, who needs Google when you have Hilary? Knowing that, you’d wonder why I didn’t listen to her advice not long ago, wouldn’t you? Believe me, I won’t make that mistake again.
In early 2021, my beloved 2003 BMW convertible was headed for car Heaven. I contacted a couple dealerships, settling on Lexus of Marin because they offered me the most moola. And here’s where my lack of taking Hilary’s advice has become a thorn in my side, a bee in my bonnet, a pain in my…well, you get the gist.
Hilary’s parting words to me were essentially, “Don’t forget to do the Release of Liability (ROL) yourself. Don’t depend on them to do it.” But did I listen? That’s a no. The nice young man dealing with my sale assured me he would file the ROL because that’s part of their service. Who was I to doubt him? I’d never sold a car before.
Thus began my ongoing nightmare because the ROL was done incorrectly. How might that happen, you ask? Good question and one I had myself. Turns out this same nice young man from Lexus made a boo-boo. In other words, he screwed up.
Apparently when he recorded my license plate, he entered the letter X instead of S. As you know, the X on a keyboard is right below the S. I’m supposing that’s how it happened. So 3 months later, when I got a notice from the DMV to renew my now sold BMW, I knew I’d messed up not listening to Hilary. And worst of all, I knew a told you so was coming.
So I made an appointment at the DMV to submit my own ROL. Soon after, I started getting bills from FasTrak even though I’d removed the BMW from the toll service. I paid the first fine hoping that would be the end of it, but no dice.
Apparently this person traveled across the bridge quite often with my old license plate. And as those trips racked up, new bills arrived with larger penalties. Definitely time to act. So after I mailed FasTrak explaining the situation, the bills stopped. Hallelujah, right? But the hits kept on coming.
Next were parking violations in South San Francisco. Lots of them. This person seemingly ignored the presence of parking meters. And as I ignored the bills, the fines multiplied like rabbits. Suddenly I owed the city of San Francisco $568. So off went my next letter of explanation with a copy of my ROL, which is what they asked for, but again the bills kept coming.
So back I went to the Lexus dealership to complain and ask for help but was told it was out of their hands; I’d need to contact the DMV. What? I’d already gone there and successfully submitted my ROL. This was getting old. Yet a year and a half later it’s still not over.
I finally gave up, deciding to ignore any further notices. Should I ever be pulled over, the cop will probably believe I’m a criminal-at-large with outstanding parking fines up the wazoo. So I now leave my proof of ROL in my glove box along with the letters to Fastrak and the city of San Francisco. Hope that does the trick.
Now don’t get me wrong; Mr. Policeman probably won’t believe my saga anyway. Why should he? I barely believe it myself. This experience reminds me of an investment banking firm whose tagline was, When EF Hutton talks, people listen. I think I’ve established that’s exactly what I should have done with Hilary’s advice. Like I said, she knows it all.