03/17/04 — DMV doubts duplicate vehicle tag

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DMV doubts duplicate vehicle tag

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 17, 2004 2:05 PM

See resolution of this story here

Goldsboro City Councilman Charles Williams has been unsuccessful in convincing the Department of Motor Vehicles that its computers erred in issuing the same license tag twice.

So he came to the newspaper to shed light on the problem.

In late December, Williams traded in a 1998 Camaro for a 2003 Mercury Marauder. Though the car is in the councilman's name, he planned to let his son, who is a college student at Elizabeth City State University, drive it.

License tag sticker

News-Argus/Kaye Nesbit

The duplicate stickers.

When his son brought the car to school in January, he decided to get a new license tag for the car.

On the same day, in Goldsboro, Councilman Williams, unaware of his son's plans, also decided to buy the new license tag for the Marauder.

"He got his in the morning, I bought mine that afternoon," Williams said.

The DMV issued another tag, with the same number, for the Marauder.

When Williams realized his son had already bought the new tag, he attempted to return his tag for reimbursement.

Williams said the DMV office refused to reimburse him or take the tag back.

"They said that there was no way they would have issued duplicate tags," Williams said. "Even when I showed them the extra tag, they wouldn't believe it."

Instead, Williams said, the DMV worker tried to assign the identical number in the computer and couldn't do it.

"After showing me that, they said it proved the computer would never allow such a mistake to happen," Williams said. "I couldn't convince them, but maybe an article in the paper will. Sometimes a machine can make a mistake."

Robin Haybarker, an employee at the Goldsboro DMV office, said the computer wasn't supposed to allow a mistake like that.

"I don't see how in the world it could have happened, because the computer won't let you go past a certain screen if you have the same number, unless it's reported lost or stolen," he said.

Haybarker said his office would be glad to help Williams.

"He just needs to bring in both tags," he said. "If he's already put the sticker on tag, he can just take the license plate off the car and bring that in, with the other sticker."