It all started when we traded in our Subaru Outback and bought a new Mazda CX9. To their credit, the folks at our Mazda dealership have been amazingly patient through most of this as-yet-unfinished ordeal.
Apparently, when we paid the Subaru off, the bank never gave us the title. They sent us something that looked like a title (turns out it was an MA-1 Form, which masquerades quite convincingly as a real title). When we signed this impostor and left all Outback-related accoutrements with the Mazda dealer, the dealer had to call us back and inform us that we didn't give them the real title. I triple- and quadruple-checked our fire-safe box. Nope, no title. No problem, right? Simple oversight. I'll call the bank and they'll send it right out. Except for the part when the bank said they lost it.
Lost it? (So, I can lose my next twenty credit-card payments with no penalty, right?) We still have yet to get a satisfactory resolution with the bank on how they can lose the title for a car in which they had a vested interest. (Though, that's probably the point right there -- once we paid it off, they didn't give a crap, right? Not their problem anymore. Delete! Delete! cacklecackle)
Okay, annoying, but since the bank was able to provide a notarized letter stating that we did in fact pay the car off quite some time ago, we can call the California DMV and request a duplicate title. So, no problem.
Except for the part where the California FTB (Franchise Tax Board) claims that we owe seven years of back taxes on the car. Sooooo, we provide proof of registration in Massachusetts, effective seven years ago. Thank you, that will be 4 - 6 weeks for processing.
Six weeks later, we call the DMV. It seems that they've just moved our piece of paper from one desk to the other a few days earlier, and we will be called within the next 5 business days.
Six days later, we call the DMV. Our paperwork is being held up because the FTB says we owe back taxes on the car. (!?!?!?!?!?) So we call the FTB (again) and remind them about the paperwork we provided seven weeks earlier proving that we don't owe them the time of day, let alone any money.
It takes five additional days for this information to filter through the rat maze that is governmental bureaucracy and reach someone at the DMV. Great! Except for the part where nobody at the DMV seems to know what to do with this information (or, more precisely, how to hit the Print button).
Today, we get The Phone Call we're surprised we haven't received some time ago . . . Mazda really can't hang on to the Outback any longer without being able to sell it. We need to buy it back. Today.