Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mission Viejo Infinity, Me and the DMV (or Bobby McGee)

Last December I bought a new car. Not just any new car. It was a 2011 M-37 Infinity. And it was my third Infinity, the first two having pleased me so much that I passed them on to family members instead of trading them in. So all’s right with the world, right?


It is now six months later and I have finally come full circle on three significant problems; four if you count the accident.

Problem number 1: My last car had a feature that I kind of liked. It gave a warning beep if I strayed outside a traffic lane (or, as it turns out if it thought I strayed outside a traffic lane that had been changed somehow). It also had a feature on the cruise control that would automatically slow you if you were getting too close to the car in front of you. In the almost six years I drove the car the feature probably didn’t save my life, but it gave me peace of mind and I wanted to repeat all the features on my 2006 M-35.

The 2006 packed that feature with the Navigation system and the 2011 broke it out into what they called “The Intelligent Electronic” package or something like that. It included an extra camera from the Navigation system, more speakers, some Wi-Fi computer connections and other things that were not important to me when the salesman explained them. He did not explain that I would lose what they now called “Advanced Cruise-control” or something like that.

The first day I picked up my car, I demonstrated to my grandson the beep feature, but was unable to make it beep. I called the dealer and was told that since many people found that annoying there was a way to switch it off and they would switch it back on for me. Good. But I was leaving town for a few days…flying not driving, so no miles on the car, right?

While I was gone I received a call from the dealer notifying me that the second set of keys they gave me didn’t belong to my car, and asked that I swap them out when I returned. Will do! And did! And while there asked about the lack of beep. Salesman test rode with me and seemed concerned that he couldn’t switch it on. Took my VIN number and let me go. Car had less than 100 miles on it.

Since I heard nothing I thought I would wait until the 3750 oil change and let them have another go at it.

At about 300 miles a Little Old Lady from Laguna Woods backed into me at the Home Depot parking lot resulting in a 1” long, ¼” deep dent and about 5” of paint damage. No longer a "new" car.

At 3750 miles someone in the Service Department realized that I had not purchased the beep feature and it could not be added.

Problem 2: I have had the same personalized license plates on all of my three infinities: DRDEKAY, it is my Hash name, and was one of those keeps-on-costing presents your kids give you on Father’s Day.

Unfortunately there was a disconnect in the sales closure where I was charged for numbered plates that would be delivered to me, instead of for my personalized plates, which I would have transferred from my 2006 to my 2011 after notifying the DMV of my payment.

I never got the numbered plates.

In fact the first I knew they existed was when I received a notice from Toll Roads that they had been photographed on two occasions going through a toll. I have a Toll Road transponder…on my unlicensed 2011. The license for that car on Toll Road records is DRDEKAY. I have gone through the toll a dozen times (without plates).

The plates on the photo are in fact on my registration (who looks at a registration?) and the model and VIN number match my car. The picture, which I finally receive, shows a black 2004 M-45, but the Toll Roads won’t let me off the hook.

Mission Viejo Infinity is marginally helpful. The thing about the plates is essentially my problem with the DMV, they say, since their paperwork was all in order. They don’t seem to feel it was their place to know how to advise me (this time) about transferring my personalized plates, but they do go through their records to see if they have any history of selling or servicing a 2004 M-45. They don’t.

Best guess? DMV delivered the plates to someone else.

Problem 3: The Rodney Dangerfield/Franz Kafka feeling.

Throughout this whole development I had the feeling that things were outside my control, but no one else seemed involved, not the Toll Roads, not Mission Viejo Infinity, not the DMV (except for the initial telephone calls I was working through AAA, otherwise I would have gone mad), not even the Little Old Lady from Laguna Woods.

Some “Retired People” claim they have no reason for life, but things like this certainly get my juices moving in the morning. So, I worked my way through five trips to AAA, several trips, more emails, and lots of telephone with Mission Viejo Infinity, and several calls and emails with Toll Roads.

With the exception of Toll Roads, there are no longer loose ends. Mission Viejo Infinity has offered to install my personalized plates at my convenience tomorrow. They have already made good on their offer of free service for what will be the first year of ownership, and they have expressed concern, if total amazement about my ordeal. The car has been repainted and looks great. The license change only cost me $67, which is probably half of what it would have cost if done at the beginning. I am confident the Toll Roads will waive the $131 they say I owe, and all is right with the world.

This has been an extremely long and heavy blog. Saturday I’ll lighten it up, probably with something about summer camps, or how I learned my eight year-old was gambling.


  1. I'm exhausted reading all your mishaps and trips back and forth to the dealer and AAA. So happy things are looking rosier now. Are you happy with the car?

  2. Sonia: Absolutely LOVE the car! The story was just too good not to tell. The final irony (which I'll share because you took time to comment) is that the mailperson delivered the mystery plates to my son, who lives across the street from me. Makes sense when you think of it. Same name, 24776 instead of 24781, and son was expecting plates on his purchase of a used car a few months ago.