Fox 8 Defenders: Callers say they can’t get through to the OMV

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 8:18 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Three weeks. That’s how long one man says he had to continuously call the Office of Motor Vehicles to get an issue with his license cleared up. Another woman told us her business was in jeopardy because she couldn’t get anyone at the OMV on the phone. So, they turned to the Fox 8 Defenders for help and we found widespread problems.

Tammy Oser owns a pediatric daycare center on the North Shore for medically fragile children.

“These are children that have trachs, traumatic brain injuries, we have a child who has juvenile ALS, I have children with seizure disorders, I have lots of ill children,” Oser said.

Oser’s staff members pick up the kids from their homes every day to bring them to the center in the facility’s van.

“This van is vital,” she said. “Because if I can’t go pick them up, then the children don’t get their physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy and speech.”

But last month, Oser said, she almost wasn’t able to pick up the kids because of an issue with the van and a lack of response from the Office of Motor Vehicles.

Oser said she noticed the van’s registration was about to expire. She went online to try to renew it. There, she discovered the vehicle had been flagged for being uninsured. She said she’s always had insurance. When she sent staff to an auto title company to fix the problem, they were told they had to call the OMV to get the problem resolved and told it couldn’t be taken care of in person.

“My staff starting calling, my business partner started calling, and then I did it every day -- for five solid days,” she said. “I called every half hour.”

Oser said no one ever answered the phone. She said she left a message, but no one ever called back. It’s the same problem Clifton Carson said he encountered.

“I called, called, called,” he said. “I went to the OMV. They said there’s nothing they can do in the office.”

Carson said his commercial driver’s license, which he needs for work as a truck driver, was suspended because of a technicality. But his attempts to call the OMV to get the problem fixed were unsuccessful.

“It took me three weeks, to call every day, leaving messages, to finally get a hold of them,” Carson said. “So, that’s three weeks that my license was suspended because of a technical error on their part, because for some reason they didn’t have my up-to-date insurance info in the system.”

Carson said that meant three weeks in which he lost money.

“Sometimes, in an emergency situation, I need to get a piece of equipment from Point A to Point B,” he said. “And because of that, my hours were cut back, because I couldn’t fully fulfill my duties. Because, technically, I could not drive the truck.”

Eventually, Carson was able to reach someone at the OMV to get his issue resolved.

Oser, meanwhile, took to the OMV’s Facebook page to vent. There, she saw dozens of similar complaints.

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Missy Manasco wrote, “I’ve called over 90 times today, starting at 8 a.m. on the dot, because I never received a call back after dealing with the same issue from 10:30 yesterday morning until y’all closed. This is not right.”

Charity Schaffer wrote, “I called all day, and got the same message ... no answer or help with my issue! Call volume was ‘high.’ I just want to take care of my issue.”

Courtney Miller posted, “I moved out of state and have been trying to call your office for months. I can never get through. I really need to get through to someone. Please offer a resolution.”

Oser says someone from the OMV saw her complaint on Facebook and reached out to her.

“I think it’s ridiculous that I had to go on Facebook (to finally get) an answer,” Oser said. She was able to get the issue with her van resolved.

No one from the Office of Motor Vehicles would agree to an on-camera interview with Fox 8. Instead, a department spokesperson sent a statement, acknowledging the OMV is dealing with a staffing shortage.

The statement said the voice message system is beneficial for customers who can’t get through to a staff member at the call center. It said messages are returned consistently within three business days if the customer provides all required information. But the people we spoke with disagreed with that claim, and said the longer delays are costing them precious time and money.

An OMV spokesperson said the office currently has 62 vacant positions statewide, and is trying to hire more staff.

If you have a consumer complaint you’d like us to look into, call the Fox 8 Defenders, staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women at 1-877-670-6397. Or click here to fill out our online complaint form, which is the easiest way to reach us.

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