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12 Responds: Why am I having trouble booking an appointment at the DMV?

Consumer Investigations

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Islanders who are double-booking time slots and not showing up for their scheduled appointments at the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are continuing to clog the system and are making it difficult for others, according to DMV Administrator Bud Craddock.

12 Responds has heard from several residents on the difficulties of scheduling an appointment online, including one who wrote: “Every time I go to the DMV website, it says they are not booking for the dates available. It’s so frustrating.”

Craddock said with only four DMV locations statewide, the demand for an appointment is high. He said people are struggling to find open time slots primarily because others are making several appointments and not show up for their scheduled times.

“On Saturday, we had roughly about a 30% no show,” Craddock explained. 

Craddock said the Rhode Island State Police is currently investigating one individual who’s made 57 reservations.

“We’ve got at least one person who’s trying to scam the system,” Craddock said, adding that it’s unclear as to why an individual would make that many appointments.

There are some legitimate reasons as to why there’s more than one appointment booked under the same name, however. Craddock referenced a parent as an example.

“They make an appointment for themselves, but then seven or eight days later, they have to make an appointment for their child, and their child doesn’t have an email address or phone number,” he explained.

He said the DMV is currently working with their software vendor to address the situation.

“Whether we’ll do a hard stop on that individual, or whether it’ll flag it, then we reach out to the individual to find out what’s going on,” Craddock said. 

The DMV has been appointment-only for most of its services since March. 

Before the appointment system, the average wait time at the DMV was just under an hour.

Craddock said he’d like to keep this system because the feedback he’s received from those who have had appointments has been positive.

“When you have a four and a half minute turn-around time, from the time you get in the door to the time you get your ticket to the time you go over to the counter, people are thrilled with that,” he said.

When you receive a renewal in the mail, Craddock suggested making an appointment right away and urged people not to wait. He also asks for people to be courteous and cancel their appointment if they can’t make it.

12 Responds: Send us your questions here »

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