Friday, February 15, 2008

When the Anticipation is Worse Than the Realization

Sometimes I forget what real service is like. It's become so foreign to me, living in a big city, that I've come to expect sarcasm and apathy from nearly all the government facilities and services that I've encountered, and approach every transaction with my finger on the nozzle of the Whoop-Ass can, knowing at any second I will be called on to spray, spray, spray like an exterminator...

So this morning's experience was a pleasant surprise to me. Let me back up:

As I've mentioned before, I'm driving my mom's car right now, since we've had to close her apartment up and there's no where to park it (and storage seems foolish, since it runs so well and it would encourage the drain of the battery). So we decided to put MY car (the '94 Cavalier) in storage in Chillicothe while I drive my mom's, and ultimately just sell the Cavalier down there (I'm not driving it back up here--no way).

In order to sell it I will, of course, need a title. I paid the car off nearly 10 years ago, and moved to Chicago almost immediately after receiving the title in the mail. Somewhere in the move, the title got lost. I'd been meaning to apply for a new one for some time now, but never got around to it (in that way that good intentions always have of falling to the side). Since I'm now paying $68 per month for storage, however, I knew the issue was now forced: Gotta sell the car. Gotta not pay for storage every month indefinitely. Gotta get a new title.

So I began researching the IL Secretary of State's websites for the various documents I'll need. The form I'd need (VSD 157 or something) is NOT available online, so I need to physically go to the SOS's office over on Randolph (Daley Plaza, the closest one) and pick one up and mail it with my processing fee of $65 to the office in Springfield. That didn't bother me so much--it was the list of documents I heard I'd need when I called the State of Illinois automated phone thingie that spooked me. Tax Certificate, Bill of Sale from the dealer--these things are long, long gone. And getting a bill of sale from the dealer? On a purchase made over 14 years ago? I can hear Bob Grimm Chevrolet's laughter even now...

So this morning, I sucked it up and just decided to call the SOS office and talk to a live person. She answered fairly promptly and was even fairly pleasant. Wow. I explained my situation and she said to simply call the lienholder and get a copy of the lien release form, bring it in to the SOS office and apply for the new title there.

Now here's where I got real nervous: my car loan was through CEFCU, my old bank in Peoria, and I don't have any of those statements left, so I don't know what the account number was. I was afraid of sounding like an idiot, so I called the CEFCU main line and was transferred to a very nice girl named Monica in the title department). I explained my situation, she listened politely (I did try to make it concise, so that probably helped) and asked me to hold for a second.

The following events took less than 90 seconds:

She looked up my social security number, verified my name and asked where I'd like the lien release verification mailed. I gave her my current address and she said they'd send it out today.

No fee.

No attitude.

And I'll probably have it Tuesday or Wednesday.

Again, wow.

Sometimes I forget what it's like to deal with real people.

I wonder if she does hardwood floors, too; those need seeing to also.

NOTE: This does not mean I am in any way considering moving back to Peoria. Oh, hells to the no!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fingers crossed the postal system continues this amazing run of customer service you're having.


3:09 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Strangely, I've not had a problem with the mail for several years (and if I have, I didn't know when I was SUPPOSED to get something, so I didn't miss it!) :-)

3:58 PM  
Blogger Stephen Rader said...

Damn! Congratulations!!!! Now, don't expect that kind of efficiency every time. We can't have things work the way they should or nobody would get anything done. :)

8:15 PM  

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