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Thousands of Californians may have paid unnecessary late fees for car registration

When it comes to renewing her car’s registration, Jordan Carrillo avoids going to the DMV.

“The lines take forever,” Carrillo said. No one wants to spend their day at the DMV.”

When she had to renew her registration, Carrillo skipped the lines and renewed her registration online by using an electronic check. 

“I input my information, double, triple checked my bank account numbers to make sure everything was correct,” she recalled.

The DMV website confirmed her payment right away. But weeks later, the agency told Carrillo that her check had bounced, and it tacked on nearly $200 in late fees. 

“I was really confused because I had no overdraft fees at my bank. The money was in there. I even contacted the bank, and [it] said DMV hadn’t attempted a charge,” she said.

Other California drivers are complaining online about the same issue: the DMV accepted their payments but later rejected them and piled on late fees. 

The issue may be stemming from the DMV itself. The department confirmed to the I-Team that there are thousands of instances where it confirmed a payment but later rejected it. It then sent “demand payment” letters to some of those drivers – 30,000 in 2022, and nearly 40,000 last year.

The DMV said about 60% of the rejections were valid because the driver entered the wrong account information on the website. But DMV didn’t have an explanation for the rest of them. 

“To have to pay all these extra fees, it can be financially devastating,” said Carrillo.

The I-Team asked the DMV how much it has collected in unwarranted late fees, but it said it doesn’t track that information. But if everyone’s late fee is as much as Carrillo’s, it could mean the DMV took in millions of dollars. 

After the I-Team reached out to DMV, it waived Carrillo’s late fees. 

She said next time, she’ll pay another way.

“Just bite the bullet and go in person and pay it,” she said. 

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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