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  1. #1
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    Default Excessive Fees and Penalties California DMV Vehicle Registration Refunds

    My question involves vehicle registration or title in the state of: California

    Vehicle registration was several years past due, the balance owed was $2826.00, of which $1426.00 was for penalties and late fees. The account had gone to collections which The Franchise Tax Board handles on behalf of the DMV.

    However, each individual DMV office has the discretion through the supervisor or branch manager to waive or lower any penalties or fees upon payment of past due registration fees. But because this account was in collections the DMV supervisor was not able to access details of the account nor was allowed to waive or lower any penalties or fees because the account was in collections through the FTB. Now when you review the FTB rules relating to collections on behalf of the DMV the board specifically states that the DMV manager has the discretion to waive or lower any penalties or fees, but the DMV computer wouldn't allow access to details of the account and the manager said she could not do anything with the account other than to collect the full amount due.

    So, I have an "Application for refund" provided by the CA DMV and the form itself asks if you are asking for refund for fees and penalties that were "erroneous, excessive, or not due." $1,400.00 is excessive but there is no information available from the state that quantifies this as such.

    The question is does anybody know how to properly fill out this form in accordance with the above situation? And/or does anyone know an attorney that has practice in this field of the CA DMV?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Excessive Fees and Penalties California DMV Vehicle Registration Refunds

    I'm curious as to where you got the following information:
    Quote Quoting christo888
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    However, each individual DMV office has the discretion through the supervisor or branch manager to waive or lower any penalties or fees upon payment of past due registration fees.
    Quote Quoting christo888
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    However, each individual DMV office has the discretion through the supervisor or branch manager to waive or lower any penalties or fees upon payment of past due registration fees. Now when you review the FTB rules relating to collections on behalf of the DMV the board specifically states that the DMV manager has the discretion to waive or lower any penalties or fees
    I'm not finding anything that is remotely close to that under the California Vehicle Code or the California Revenue and Taxation Code!

    What I did find from the DMV site - Instructions for electronic filing of the Application for Refund (Form ADM 399) is this:
    • you are requesting a refund of vehicle/vessel license fees charged for late payment and you know that payment was made on time or
    • you are requesting a refund of vehicle/vessel license fees for a vehicle/vessel that left California before the registration expired and was registered in another state or
    • you are requesting a refund of a reissue fee(s) because an action that required the fee has been dismissed and the dismissal has been reported to DMV by the court.

    There is nothing in there that refers to "excessive"... At least not in the way I am assuming you mean it. For example, here is CVC 42231:

    CVC 42231. Whenever any application is made under this code and the application is accompanied by any fee which is excessive or not legally due, or whenever the department in consequence of any error either of fact or of law as to the proper amount of any fee or any penalty thereon or as to the necessity of obtaining any privilege under this code collects any fee or penalty which is excessive, erroneous, or not legally due, the person who has paid the erroneous or excessive fee or penalty, or his agent on his behalf, may apply for and receive a refund of the amount thereof as provided in this article, or the department may refund the same within three years after the date of the payment or collection.


    My guess is that your definition of "excessive" (meaning "a lot/too much") varies drastically from theirs (meaning "in excess of the proper/correct amount due").

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Excessive Fees and Penalties California DMV Vehicle Registration Refunds

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    I'm curious as to where you got the following information:


    I'm not finding anything that is remotely close to that under the California Vehicle Code or the California Revenue and Taxation Code!

    What I did find from the DMV site - Instructions for electronic filing of the Application for Refund (Form ADM 399) is this:
    • you are requesting a refund of vehicle/vessel license fees charged for late payment and you know that payment was made on time or
    • you are requesting a refund of vehicle/vessel license fees for a vehicle/vessel that left California before the registration expired and was registered in another state or
    • you are requesting a refund of a reissue fee(s) because an action that required the fee has been dismissed and the dismissal has been reported to DMV by the court.

    There is nothing in there that refers to "excessive"... At least not in the way I am assuming you mean it. For example, here is CVC 42231:

    CVC 42231. Whenever any application is made under this code and the application is accompanied by any fee which is excessive or not legally due, or whenever the department in consequence of any error either of fact or of law as to the proper amount of any fee or any penalty thereon or as to the necessity of obtaining any privilege under this code collects any fee or penalty which is excessive, erroneous, or not legally due, the person who has paid the erroneous or excessive fee or penalty, or his agent on his behalf, may apply for and receive a refund of the amount thereof as provided in this article, or the department may refund the same within three years after the date of the payment or collection.


    My guess is that your definition of "excessive" (meaning "a lot/too much") varies drastically from theirs (meaning "in excess of the proper/correct amount due").
    First off thank you so much for replying to my thread and taking some time to do research... very much appreciated.

    At the FTB website under DMV collections program overview the following collections description is;

    http://www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/dmv/overview.shtml

    More specifically it says; "...Throughout the collection process, DMV retains management responsibility for all referred accounts. We refer all account disputes or complaints to the DMV Liaison Section or to the debtor’s local DMV field office for resolution, allowing DMV customers to deal directly with their local DMV field office..."

    My argument is that though the account was in collections the FTB (Franchise Tax Board) does not deal with the customer only the DMV can, yet, when the account is in collections the DMV claims they can't do anything because the computer is locking out the ability to at least work with a supervisor at a DMV office. The supervisor could not access the list of fees and penalties to even have a conversation with me.

    Anyone can submit a "Statement of Facts," form 256 (http://dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg256.htm) at least have a conversation or at the best a waiver of some or all the penalties, of course depending on circumstances that are outside the scope of what has been programmed into the DMV computer program.

    V C Section 38247 Waiver of Penalties and Registration Fees (also VC Section 9562, having a hard time retrieving this right now)

    Waiver of Penalties and Registration Fees

    38247. (a) "...

    (b) Other provisions of this code notwithstanding, the director may at his discretion investigate into the circumstances of any application for identification to ascertain if penalties had accrued through no fault or intent of the owner. Provided such circumstances prevail, the director may waive any penalties upon payment of the fees for identification then due..."


    Yes my definition of excessive falls into being charged an additional 100% of the cost to register the vehicle, I think that is extreme and excessive. I cannot find any legislative definition from the state that covers what they are referring to in their own document on form 399 as you have shown above.

    Basically, the way I see it is that I cannot go to the collections department of the state and negotiate my late fees and penalties to be reduced, especially now that the state labeled this account as in collections. And anyone has the right to negotiate assessed fees from a collection agency in the normal course of business. So why can't this collection account be considered a negotiable debt just like any other debt that can be negotiated?

    The format of the FTB and the DMV has prevented me from being able to be heard because a computer program is preventing access by a human.

    I have a DMV "Application for Refund" and the form does list several circumstances that they are used to encountering, the form does have a space for 'Other' and when accompanied with a "Statement of Facts" sheet there can be a review processed but I would imagine that based on current findings that a specific legislative definition is necessary to define 'Excessive.' The form also in the beginning specifically states what circumstances the "DMV will not honor refund requests that are:" the list they provide does not include excessive penalties and late fees!!!!!!!!

    In a way this almost seems like an act of Racketeering by the state; to be able to add on penalties of 100% and then prevent redress of those fees through/within a normal course of business!

    In essence all Californians are precluded from arguing the validity of penalties and fees that are "erroneously added, or Excessive" and the account must be paid with no redress access.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Excessive Fees and Penalties California DMV Vehicle Registration Refunds

    Quote Quoting christo888
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    At the FTB website under DMV collections program overview the following collections description is;

    http://www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/dmv/overview.shtml
    I don't see anything on that page -or anywhere else on the FTB or DMV websites- that even comes close to giving the DMV or any of its supervisors or managers the discretion to waive or reduce fees or penalties"[/I]... At least not in the manner you described in your original post!

    Quote Quoting christo888
    View Post
    More specifically it says; "...Throughout the collection process, DMV retains management responsibility for all referred accounts. We refer all account disputes or complaints to the DMV Liaison Section or to the debtor’s local DMV field office for resolution, allowing DMV customers to deal directly with their local DMV field office..."
    ... which to me, means that the DMV manages all delinquent account (as in calculating the amounts that are due, billing and sending notices and follow up notices to those who are delinquent) ... and the FTB collects on those accounts if not paid (brought current) within a specified period of time. That by no stretch means that the DMV, its office managers or supervisors have the discretion or ability to waive reduce or alter the fees that are due on those accounts on a "just because" basis. The only exceptions to this are the examples that appear on Form ADM 399.... NONE of which apply to your case!

    In other words, the DMV is NOT going to waive any fees or penalties out of sympathy... If that were the case, then every vehicle owner in the state would simply complete an "Application for a Refund" submit it to the DMV citing an "I think the fees are excessive" and they would get a refund!

    Quote Quoting christo888
    View Post
    My argument is that though the account was in collections the FTB (Franchise Tax Board) does not deal with the customer only the DMV can, yet, when the account is in collections the DMV claims they can't do anything because the computer is locking out the ability to at least work with a supervisor at a DMV office. The supervisor could not access the list of fees and penalties to even have a conversation with me.
    Work with the supervisor and/or have a conversation about "what"? The fees and penalties are set by the state legislature. If you think they are excessive, then you can write your state representative and let him/her know what you think. Until and unless any amendments are enacted AND are made as retroactive (and hell will probably freeze over before fees are reduced), you're not likely to get a refund of what you've already paid.

    Quote Quoting christo888
    View Post
    Anyone can submit a "Statement of Facts," form 256 (http://dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg256.htm) at least have a conversation or at the best a waiver of some or all the penalties, of course depending on circumstances that are outside the scope of what has been programmed into the DMV computer program.
    I don't see how REG-256 would apply to your claim of the fees being "excessive".

    Quote Quoting christo888
    View Post
    V C Section 38247 Waiver of Penalties and Registration Fees (also VC Section 9562, having a hard time retrieving this right now)

    Waiver of Penalties and Registration Fees

    38247. (a) "...

    (b) Other provisions of this code notwithstanding, the director may at his discretion investigate into the circumstances of any application for identification to ascertain if penalties had accrued through no fault or intent of the owner. Provided such circumstances prevail, the director may waive any penalties upon payment of the fees for identification then due..."
    For starters, VC 38247 is under Division 16.5 which only applies to vehicles defined under VC 38012. You've made no mention of this vehicle being an "off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification", so I don't know if that even applies here.

    As for "other (non off-highway) vehicles", those would fall under VC 9562... And yes, the language in 9562 seems to be identical to what you've cited as VC 38247(b). BUT... Please note the portion which I underlined (specifically the "if if penalties had accrued through no fault or intent of the owner"...

    How did these penalties accrue if not through YOUR OWN FAULT??? And if it wasn't YOUR fault, then who's fault was it??? It certainly was NOT the DMV's!

    Quote Quoting christo888
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    Yes my definition of excessive falls into being charged an additional 100% of the cost to register the vehicle...
    And the original registration renewal notice as well as any subsequent delinquent notice(s) that were sent to you by the DMV clearly show EXACTLY the amount of the original fee (if it is paid on time) as well as any additional penalties that accrue and what date they would apply. You sat on your hands for THREE YEARS and now you wake up and decide that those fees/penalties that were disclosed to you long before they were accrued are "excessive"?

    Quote Quoting christo888
    View Post
    I cannot find any legislative definition from the state that covers what they are referring to in their own document on form 399 as you have shown above.
    Well then stick to your definition, and go chasing after the DMV and FTB in hopes they would buy into it. My guess is that you'd be wasting your time (and theirs)!


    Quote Quoting christo888
    View Post
    Basically, the way I see it is that I cannot go to the collections department of the state and negotiate my late fees and penalties to be reduced, especially now that the state labeled this account as in collections. And anyone has the right to negotiate assessed fees from a collection agency in the normal course of business. So why can't this collection account be considered a negotiable debt just like any other debt that can be negotiated?
    You must have missed the "bank levy" and "wage garnishment" references on the FTB website...

    A normal collection agency would have to file a civil action against you, go through the legal system, win a judgement and then file for "wage garnishment" and/or "bank levy" before they can collect... Where as the FTB is not under any obligation to expend all that time and effort. So they may not be as inclined to "negotiate" with you as would a collection agency!

    And no, you don't have "a right to negotiate"... They may afford you that option as a way to save themselves all the associated legal fees...

    Quote Quoting christo888
    View Post
    The format of the FTB and the DMV has prevented me from being able to be heard because a computer program is preventing access by a human.

    I have a DMV "Application for Refund" and the form does list several circumstances that they are used to encountering, the form does have a space for 'Other' and when accompanied with a "Statement of Facts" sheet there can be a review processed but I would imagine that based on current findings that a specific legislative definition is necessary to define 'Excessive.' The form also in the beginning specifically states what circumstances the "DMV will not honor refund requests that are:" the list they provide does not include excessive penalties and late fees!!!!!!!!

    In a way this almost seems like an act of Racketeering by the state; to be able to add on penalties of 100% and then prevent redress of those fees through/within a normal course of business!
    Good luck with your endeavor!

    Quote Quoting christo888
    View Post
    In essence all Californians are precluded from arguing the validity of penalties and fees that are "erroneously added, or Excessive" and the account must be paid with no redress access.
    Like I said, contact your state representative and let them know how you feel.

    ^THAT^ is your redress! In the meantime, pay your fees in a timely manner (or file and pay for the cheaper alternative by filing a non-op) and you wouldn't have to worry about applying for a refund of any "excessive fees and penalties"!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Excessive Fees and Penalties California DMV Vehicle Registration Refunds

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    I don't see anything on that page -or anywhere else on the FTB or DMV websites- that even comes close to giving the DMV or any of its supervisors or managers the discretion to waive or reduce fees or penalties"[/I]... At least not in the manner you described in your original post!



    ... which to me, means that the DMV manages all delinquent account (as in calculating the amounts that are due, billing and sending notices and follow up notices to those who are delinquent) ... and the FTB collects on those accounts if not paid (brought current) within a specified period of time. That by no stretch means that the DMV, its office managers or supervisors have the discretion or ability to waive reduce or alter the fees that are due on those accounts on a "just because" basis. The only exceptions to this are the examples that appear on Form ADM 399.... NONE of which apply to your case!

    In other words, the DMV is NOT going to waive any fees or penalties out of sympathy... If that were the case, then every vehicle owner in the state would simply complete an "Application for a Refund" submit it to the DMV citing an "I think the fees are excessive" and they would get a refund!


    Work with the supervisor and/or have a conversation about "what"? The fees and penalties are set by the state legislature. If you think they are excessive, then you can write your state representative and let him/her know what you think. Until and unless any amendments are enacted AND are made as retroactive (and hell will probably freeze over before fees are reduced), you're not likely to get a refund of what you've already paid.



    I don't see how REG-256 would apply to your claim of the fees being "excessive".


    For starters, VC 38247 is under Division 16.5 which only applies to vehicles defined under VC 38012. You've made no mention of this vehicle being an "off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification", so I don't know if that even applies here.

    As for "other (non off-highway) vehicles", those would fall under VC 9562... And yes, the language in 9562 seems to be identical to what you've cited as VC 38247(b). BUT... Please note the portion which I underlined (specifically the "if if penalties had accrued through no fault or intent of the owner"...

    How did these penalties accrue if not through YOUR OWN FAULT??? And if it wasn't YOUR fault, then who's fault was it??? It certainly was NOT the DMV's!


    And the original registration renewal notice as well as any subsequent delinquent notice(s) that were sent to you by the DMV clearly show EXACTLY the amount of the original fee (if it is paid on time) as well as any additional penalties that accrue and what date they would apply. You sat on your hands for THREE YEARS and now you wake up and decide that those fees/penalties that were disclosed to you long before they were accrued are "excessive"?



    Well then stick to your definition, and go chasing after the DMV and FTB in hopes they would buy into it. My guess is that you'd be wasting your time (and theirs)!



    You must have missed the "bank levy" and "wage garnishment" references on the FTB website...



    A normal collection agency would have to file a civil action against you, go through the legal system, win a judgement and then file for "wage garnishment" and/or "bank levy" before they can collect... Where as the FTB is not under any obligation to expend all that time and effort. So they may not be as inclined to "negotiate" with you as would a collection agency!

    And no, you don't have "a right to negotiate"... They may afford you that option as a way to save themselves all the associated legal fees...

    And in the end is what this will come down to isn't it!!!!!!!!!

    Good luck with your endeavor!


    Like I said, contact your state representative and let them know how you feel.

    ^THAT^ is your redress! In the meantime, pay your fees in a timely manner (or file and pay for the cheaper alternative by filing a non-op) and you wouldn't have to worry about applying for a refund of any "excessive fees and penalties"!
    OK, anyone can go to the DMV and fill out a "Statement of Facts" and submit it to the branch supervisor and the supervisor at their discretion; can, have in the past, but usually won't, waive, or reduce, penalties or late fees. Their discretion is based on the persons "Statement of Facts" reason.

    And secondly, this is not in writing on the DMV website specifically so that everyone does not rush to the DMV to reduce or waive fees. Everything is not in writing or listed, and is exactly why when you walk into the DMV and you ask them about your situation they hand you the "Statement of Facts" worksheet to fill out so that it can be handled by the branch supervisor and it is at their discretion!!!!!!!!!


    It appears that you have never had a reason to discuss your account with anyone other then the employee at the computer to pay your fees and be on your way, perhaps you have been able to just go online and pay every year without a hitch.

    Now here is where this situation is even more interesting now that you brought up "Out of sympathy." I never mentioned my reason was out of sympathy though I did explain that charging 100% in penalties and late fees is excessive by my definition. My situation was described on the "Statements of Facts" form to be handled by the local DMV office supervisor as is the standard procedure of all DMV offices and the state, which you will never find in writing anywhere, but procedure of the DMV offices, while there in person, it is!!!!!!. And one of my points is the computer did not allow the local DMV office to handle or even to review my situation because they were precluded from getting into the account. THE FTB DOES NOT HANDLE REVIEWING ACCOUNTS! AND THE DMV COULD NOT ACCESS THE DETAILS OF THE ACCOUNT BECAUSE IT WOULD ONLY ALLOW THE COLLECTION OF A FINAL DOLLAR AMOUNT OF $2826.00.

    You asked me "what"! That is exactly what the "Statement of Facts" form is for in order to discuss my situation with the DMV office, which the FTB does not do, they only collect the amount on the account!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Did I say three years? Out of all fairness, you are assuming that my situation is not a valid situation that would warrant a refund, this, in part, because I have not mentioned why. You see, because it has to be written on a "Statement of Facts" sheet and discussed with the DMV branch supervisor, because the FTB does not discuss accounts it refers them to deal directly with the local offices, but the account is not accessible to the local DMV office because the computer has locked out the details by the FTB!!!!!

    Now see... doesn't that make you wonder about something if I have never had a "bank levy" or "wage garnishment?"
    And thanks for the tip!

    But my original question still remains unanswered.

    And I really do appreciate your time and research on this subject!!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Excessive Fees and Penalties California DMV Vehicle Registration Refunds

    Quote Quoting christo888
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    But my original question still remains unanswered.
    Your question has been answered, not necessarily in the manner you had hoped for, but it was answered nevertheless.

    Quote Quoting christo888
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    And I really do appreciate your time and research on this subject!!!!
    Not a problem!

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