Fox 8 Defenders: Lawmakers grill OMV leaders over poor phone service

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 10:10 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Leaders of the Office of Motor Vehicles were grilled by state lawmakers Monday (March 20) over everything from rude call takers to why people must wait days or weeks to get a response from someone at the agency.

For citizens to lawmakers, getting through to someone at the Office of Motor Vehicles proves difficult.

During a House committee meeting, Rep. Charles Owen of Rosepine in Vernon Parish said, “I made a call (to OMV) the other day. I had a citizen -- I didn’t tell them I was a legislator -- but I made a call on her behalf. It was a hard phone call. I just said, ‘I’m calling on behalf of a friend,’ and it was bad.”

Owen said the OMV agent he spoke with was unhelpful and rude. But, he said, at least he got someone on the line.

“The issue with citizens not being able to get a human on the phone and not getting called back in a timely fashion, that is the biggest point of concern,” Owen said.

Fox 8 Defenders

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

Fox 8 Defenders: City admits mistakes amid languishing roadwork woes

Fox 8 Defenders: Child begs for help at Bellemont apartments

Fox 8 Defenders: State rep. files legislation to force non-profits property owners to pay taxes

Fox 8 Defenders: Scammers posing as landlords putting renters at risk

Last week, the Fox 8 Defenders told you about a North Shore woman whose business taking care of medically fragile children was nearly in jeopardy because she couldn’t reach anyone at the OMV to take care of an insurance issue with her van.

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

And Clifton Carson said he lost money at his job, thanks to the OMV.

“It took me three weeks to call every day, leaving messages, to finally get a hold of them,” the commercial truck driver 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.”

The OMV’s deputy commissioner told lawmakers Monday that the agency has stayed with a customer call-in system it adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than return to in-person assistance for many issues previously dealt with in person at OMV offices.

“A lot of our staff who are telecommunicating are people with compromised immune systems or different situations where they could easily be employed somewhere else that would allow them to work from home,” Stacey Hoyt told the committee.

“It’s taken anywhere from 3-4 days to get a call back from the agency because people ... we ask them not to call back, once they leave a message, we will call you, we promise, if you leave all the info that we need, we will call you back. They call 7-8 times a day, so that just further slows the process down of us getting back to customers.”

But lawmakers said the agency needs better solutions.

“If someone can’t get anyone on the phone for a day, day and a half, that is not responsive to someone who is trying to buy or sell a car or something along those lines,” Owen said.

Hoyt responded, “We have tried to think of everything in the world to try and we’re open to suggestions from anyone. But short of having staff trained on reinstatement processes, we’re just kind of at the mercy of this new solution, getting up and online and ready to go.”

Hoyt said the OMV has 62 job openings and is trying to hire more people to answer calls and return messages faster.

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.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.