Local motorists whose last name starts with the letters A through D got a surprise last week after a mix up with the monthly vehicle tag renewal notices mailed out by Mobile County License Commission caused thousands to receive the wrong vehicle information.
As a result, the names, Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) and license plate renewal costs for 28,000 residents were sent to the wrong person — leaving many residents concerned about who had received the information about their vehicles.
The License Commission has only just recently started using Diversified to handle its mailouts including the monthly tag renewal notices. On Monday, License Commissioner Nick Matranga told Lagniappe the company had taken responsibility for the recent mailing error.
“They used two separate computers to populate this information, and as a result, the notices were incorrectly mailed to different addresses,” Matranga said. “They don’t know the details of the residents, so it’s a hard thing to check, but they’re going to make another run [Monday night].”
Though the situation appears to have been rectified, Matranga wanted to ensure motorists that no private information was released. With only a VIN number and a tag renewal price included in the mailout, he claimed “the worst thing somebody could do is come in and pay for your tag.”“Everybody is somewhat sensitive to what information is put out there, and I understand that,” Matranga said. “But, there’s nothing in this information anybody could use to steal someone’s identity or anything like that, and we’ve taken precautions to prevent that.”
However, Matranga did say anyone who tried to do “anything nefarious” with the information would face criminal charges.
Also, because the mistake was caused by Diversified, Matranga said the company — not the taxpayers — would be eating the cost of reprinting the mailouts.
Earlier this week, Matranga also stressed that the notices are simply a courtesy to motorists, and aren’t required when renewing a license plate at any of the Mobile County License Commission locations.
“You don’t have to wait to get a notice to get your tag renewed,” he added. “If you look at it, the expiration date for your tag is on the back of your tag. That’s the month you’re supposed to get your tag renewed each year.”