Title madness

Professional angler Frank Scalish

I was getting ready for the Bassmaster Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain, and my stress level was through the roof. Here is how it works for me and my obsessive behavior: Usually I make all my hotel reservations the day the tournament schedules come out, and I am packed and ready to go four or five days ahead of time.

You see I have a problem.

So it begins. Due to the holidays, my sponsor check was late, so I couldn't get some things finished when I wanted to, which bothers me to no end. I needed to title and register my boat before I left for Florida — this means the day before. That doesn't sit very well with me, but how long can it take at the title bureau, right?

This is where the insanity begins.

At 9 a.m., I left for the title bureau. By 9:30, I was walking in the door and, much to my pleasure, only one other customer was there. This meant I would be in and out. Yes!

My number was called. I presented the lady with the invoices and MSOs for both my boat and motor. I paid the tax on the motor, but not the boat, so I knew there would be some type of money owed. The boat title was easy; however, the woman said I owed more tax on the motor.

I said, "I already paid the taxes on the motor."

She said, "There is an adjustment and you owe more."

I figured she must be right. After all, the only job they have is to do title work. So, I paid them and off I went to get my registration and Ohio numbers. I couldn't help but think how easy and painless that was. An hour later, I arrived at the Rod Maker Shop to register the boat. It was there that my heart sunk. I was reading my motor title while Frank was getting the registration forms.

The woman at the title bureau charged me $8,000 dollars more than I paid for the motor! I was taxed on her mistake! I was over-taxed $599.00 dollars!

So, back to the title bureau I sped. I stopped home first and picked up the cashed check and duplicate paperwork from Mercury. I figured this correction would be no problem, since I had duplicate paperwork and the title bureau had the originals. Plus, I was there earlier that morning.

When I went to the bureau, the woman I had worked with was not there. I had dealt with the woman who was there before, so this would be easy, right?

She said, "What's the problem, Frank?"

I explained everything to her and she said, "I will get your paperwork, and we will fix this."

I was feeling pretty lucky, because, as you all know, you never get in and out of the title bureau with any speed. Just then, another woman had to get involved. I liken her to Cruella DeVille, the mean witch in "101 Dalmatians." Any woman that would scare the hell out of children and small dogs is not someone I want to work with.

So, I had to explain everything all over again. She did not give me a chance to hand her my duplicate paperwork, she sucked them out of my hand!

Then the original lady that did the work for me in the morning came in. So, I get to explain it one more time. In the meantime, the nice, attractive woman who was taking care of my work a second ago could no longer endure Cruella DeVille and the other woman arguing over their mistake. She just got up and left!

This should be simple. Here is what I paid for the motor (invoice and cancelled check with invoice number on it), and this is what you said I paid. There's an $8,000 difference, see?

Just refund my $599!

Just then, with a snide, evil look Cruella DeVille said "Aha! What is this?"

I said, "That has nothing to do with what we are doing. That is an invoice for the trolling motor."

Her reply was, "So why aren't you titling this?"

"Because I don't have to. It is not a title-able item," I said and asked to get the invoice back.

She actually said, "No! I'm going to look into this evidence."

Evidence!? What is she talking about? I explained what an electric motor was. She didn't care. I told her it would be like buying a stereo for your car ... or a cell phone. You don't title those things.

She just said, "We will see about this."

She actually called MotorGuide! Then she called Mercury and had them fax over another invoice that said paid in full in writing with a signature. Meanwhile I'm still explaining and trying to work this through with the lady from this morning. She said they cannot go forward until they hear from Mercury. I figured I would be at the title bureau for a week. I really didn't know what to do.

To my surprise, Mercury Credit called back and gave them what they wanted. It took Merc about 10 minutes to respond. Thank you, Mercury!

Three hours later, I was driving home. I was supposed to spend a nice afternoon with my wife, Rachel. That is what we usually do before I leave for an event. Unfortunately, I didn't get home until 5 p.m.

The moral of this story is ... I honestly have no idea.

I hope everyone had a good holiday season, and again thanks for reading these columns.

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