Costly Convenience

By: Eric James
By: Eric James

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It was supposed to be a convenient alternative to standing in long lines at the tag office.

But renewing car tags online or by phone has turned into an unpopular money maker. And the state isn't the one getting the money.

With the click of the mouse or the push of a telephone button, you can avoid the long lines at your local tag office. went online in September, along with renewal by phone. Since then, more than 10,000 people have renewed their tags using the convenient methods. Those methods receive more complaints than long lines.

The reason is the cost. It will cost you anywhere from $3 to $87 extra. It's called a convenience fee. It's an unpopular convenience the state has no control over. And the state isn't getting the money. The fee goes to your credit card company.

Sheila Walker with the Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles says, "People say they love the service, but they don't want to have to pay the fee and I wish they wouldn't have to either but it not something we can just eat."

When you use the Internet or phone renewal it will take ten days to get your tags. You can still renew by mail. That costs $0.50.

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