Tuesday, September 26, 2006

DVS bureaucracy

I usually don't hate my encounters with Minnesota government. They may not be the most flexible organizations, but state agencies are usually staffed by nice people who know their job, and the government tries to give you multiple options for getting things done.

For instance, my car's registration renewal form arrived in the mail today. And I had three options for renewing it:

1. Go to a service center and pay in person;

2. Take the pre-printed form and envelope and mail it to them along with a check;

3. Go online, fill out the information at the DVS web site, and pay with a credit card, incurring a $1.25 "convenience fee."

So let's see. Go online, mess around with the Web forms and credit card numbers, and be charged $1.25 for that "convenience." Or write a check, stick it in the envelope with a 39-cent stamp, and drop it in the mailbox.

Kind of a no-brainer for me: mail them a check.

But it seems kind of silly from their end. I'd be willing to bet money that it costs them less to process an electronic payment than it does to process a paper payment. That's why most companies, after initially trying to charge consumers for electronic payments, gave up the ghost and now provide electronic payment options for free; it saves them money.

The State of Minnesota appears to have missed that memo. Their pricing structure encourages people to pay using the method that costs the state the most to handle. That's pennywise and pound foolish.

A note to DVS employees: If I'm wrong and electronic payments actually do cost more, drop me an e-mail or a comment explaining that and I will apologize for impugning the efficiency of state government.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DVS? Is that what they call it out there? Division of Vee-hic-ulear Services?

9/26/2006 9:32 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Actually, it's "Driver and Vehicle Services."

And we pronounce it right up here. ;)

9/26/2006 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The convenience fee was probably tacked on when the DVS had to get a vendor to provide the service when they shutdown their previous credit card website because it was easily hacked and personal info stolen.

9/27/2006 11:27 AM  

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