Finally got licensed and titled in California! - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-13-2017, 01:21 AM   #1
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Location: Fremont, California
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Finally got licensed and titled in California!

We picked up our trailer in February 21st and here we are almost 4-months later and we finally got our plates, registration, and title from the California DMV. I'm relieved and thought I would post my experience for others that might be going through this currently or soon.

This all started the day we got back, when we made our DMV reservation. The first available was in early April, which was significantly after the 4-week deadline to pay taxes. However, the form that you fill out asks when the trailer was first brought into California so I just backdated it. They have no way to check that and don't seem to care.

The day of the DMV appointment I hitched up and dragged it over to the DMV office. The next 1hr 45min were fairly painful. I had to wait for an inspector who spent 30 minutes going over everything and filling out a long form. There was some confusion because the VIN is not stamped into the frame on Escapes and "It's on the form". Then I spent about 45 minutes with the desk agent who didn't seem to know what he was doing because he kept going into the back office to ask questions. They take your check and a whole bunch of papers and send it all to Sacramento. We got a temporary registration good until June 1st.

It wasn't enough. 3 weeks ago I got a letter from some obscurely named agency that I was missing the original certificate of origin and a form that they sent me. I filled out the form (after calling them to ask questions on how to fill it out), and dug up the original paper that the DMV agent mistakenly gave back to me. I sent that all out with USPS signature confirmation (originals!).

So the level of complexity and incompetency was fairly high, but at least it's done. Interestingly, we drove all over the place without plates through several states in the past 4 months and never got pulled over.
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:28 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by skyfree View Post
We picked up our trailer in February 21st and here we are almost 4-months later and we finally got our plates, registration, and title from the California DMV. I'm relieved and thought I would post my experience for others that might be going through this currently or soon.

This all started the day we got back, when we made our DMV reservation. The first available was in early April, which was significantly after the 4-week deadline to pay taxes. However, the form that you fill out asks when the trailer was first brought into California so I just backdated it. They have no way to check that and don't seem to care.

The day of the DMV appointment I hitched up and dragged it over to the DMV office. The next 1hr 45min were fairly painful. I had to wait for an inspector who spent 30 minutes going over everything and filling out a long form. There was some confusion because the VIN is not stamped into the frame on Escapes and "It's on the form". Then I spent about 45 minutes with the desk agent who didn't seem to know what he was doing because he kept going into the back office to ask questions. They take your check and a whole bunch of papers and send it all to Sacramento. We got a temporary registration good until June 1st.

It wasn't enough. 3 weeks ago I got a letter from some obscurely named agency that I was missing the original certificate of origin and a form that they sent me. I filled out the form (after calling them to ask questions on how to fill it out), and dug up the original paper that the DMV agent mistakenly gave back to me. I sent that all out with USPS signature confirmation (originals!).

So the level of complexity and incompetency was fairly high, but at least it's done. Interestingly, we drove all over the place without plates through several states in the past 4 months and never got pulled over.

sorry you had to go thru all this.

and

for anyone else reading this... in CA:

Mt Shasta (CA) DMV was awesome.

highly recommended.

john
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:30 AM   #3
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There was some confusion because the VIN is not stamped into the frame on Escapes and "It's on the form".
Here in Travis County, Texas, we had a vehicle (safety) inspection station refuse to even look at ours because the VIN isn't stamped on the frame. (We inquired first by phone and he told us not to bother bringing it in.)

Yet, the Auto Theft Task Force officer, who verified our VIN a few days later, said he wasn't surprised, that the way Escape does it (tagged on the outside of the trailer body as well as inside the wardrobe/closet) has become commonplace.

For what that's worth.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:11 AM   #4
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Wow, that was quick, took me 8 months with my Campster! There was one form that said fill out in black ink and then the "official" said that it looked like it was photocopied and would not accept it! I got charged a fine for submitting the wrong amount of money (after using their fee calculator to determine the amount). Had three temporary 60 day permits. But in all that time, nobody stopped me even though I was towing a trailer with expired Washington plates behind a California-licensed car.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:26 AM   #5
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We live in Tracy and it took less than 1/2 hour! I think if someone is unfamiliar with the process, they pass on their lack of knowledge to the consumer and make it difficult.

Glad it worked out in the end.

Lorna
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:51 AM   #6
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And so it goes, eh? Escape Inc. does a great job of providing all the necessary documentation for trailer registrations across the border, yet it seems no matter what state you're in, there's always the probability you'll encounter that one mountain, Mount Ignorant Bureaucrat.
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:11 AM   #7
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sorry you had to go thru all this.

and

for anyone else reading this... in CA:

Mt Shasta (CA) DMV was awesome.

highly recommended.

john
Yes, Sorry for your difficulties too. If a Californian is returning via the coast, Eureka DMV is awesome too. We were in and out with our plates in less than 50 minutes. We made our appointment for 20 days after orientation/pick-up and had a wonderful 3 weeks along the WA. and OR. coasts.
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:24 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear that.

The bay area DMVs are horrible to say the least. We plan to stop at Mt Shasta DMV on the way back and get that taken care of before returning to the land of "everything is complicated"....
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:59 AM   #9
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I knew about the Mt. Shasta DMV but the timing wasn't right when we went by. I'm curious though -- some people say they are getting plates at the DMV field offices? The Sacramento office told me that they issue the plates for an imported trailer only via mail after reviewing everything. If the Shasta office is actually doing the inspection, reviewing all the paperwork, and handing out a license plate in 30-minutes that would be amazing.
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by skyfree View Post
I knew about the Mt. Shasta DMV but the timing wasn't right when we went by. I'm curious though -- some people say they are getting plates at the DMV field offices? The Sacramento office told me that they issue the plates for an imported trailer only via mail after reviewing everything. If the Shasta office is actually doing the inspection, reviewing all the paperwork, and handing out a license plate in 30-minutes that would be amazing.
Sounds like it depends on whoever is in charge. We got our plates that day. If you are in the SF Bay Area, you may want to take a drive our way.
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