Computer glitch bombards plantation man with dozens of car titles (FL)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Computer glitch bombards Plantation man with dozens of car titles
By SALLIE JAMES Sun-Sentinel Web-posted: 11:50 p.m. Jan. 6, 2000
Ruben Betancourt drives a leased 1999 Honda Accord, but according to the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Plantation resident owns a fleet of the popular mid-sized cars. Since December, the state has mailed Betancourt more than two dozen car titles, most of them for Hondas and all for cars Betancourt has never seen, let alone owned. "This is like the Y2K trick that didn't happen," joked Betancourt, as he flipped through a stack of car titles for brand-new vehicles in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. "I have an empire. I have become one of the largest leasing companies in America!" Of course, Betancourt, an operations and management consultant for the state Department of Children & Families, isn't really entitled to all those cars. His troubles are the result of a glitch caused by the same new $30 million computer program that has created weeks-long delays in processing auto tags by mail in Broward County. "At tax collectors' offices across the state, information was being entered in the wrong field," said Janet Dennis, a spokeswoman for the department of motor vehicles. "(Betancourt) was leasing the vehicle, and his name was entered as the owner." The mistake happened in the date entry portion of the program used specifically for leased cars. An employee typed Betancourt's name into the spot where the name Honda Lease Trust should have been. Then, when another employee used the database to call up Honda Lease Trust, Betancourt's name and address popped up. The result: titles for leased vehicles were automatically mailed out to Betancourt. To prevent future problems, only workers in Tallahassee can now access the data entry portion of that program, Dennis said. In Florida, about 1 million of the state's 12 million vehicles are leased, but state officials are aware of only one other problem -- in Orlando -- similar to Betancourt's. Betancourt, impatient to get the problem resolved, has been turning a growing pile of auto titles over to a department of motor vehicles field office in Sunrise. He doesn't want the Internal Revenue Service or anyone else thinking he owns 24 spanking new cars. "The joke has been to take the titles to the bank and get a loan on them," Betancourt said. "All I am trying to do is see that I don't get another title to another car I don't own. "Unless they were to send me title for a Lamborghini or Ferrari. I would have to do some hard thinking about that," he said.
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), January 07, 2000
"An EMPLOYEE (emphasis added) typed Betancourt's name into the spot where the name Honda Lease Trust should have been. Then, when another employee used the database to call up Honda Lease Trust, Betancourt's name and address popped up. "
This is a data-entry clerk's HUMAN error. NOT a Y2k issue...not a crash or software problem. Totally irrelevant.
-- liu (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 07, 2000.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. This is a secondary but very real effect of Y2K that was predicted many times in the past couple of years. It goes something like this:
(1) New software needed to deal with Y2K date issues.
(2) Insufficient training on and implementation of new software.
(3) So-called "human errors" cause problems. In this case, new software means new work routines by data-entry clerks. Not surprisingly, they get it wrong.
And finally, (4) Because error does not *directly* involve subtraction of one date from another, logic-impaired persons deny any link to Y2K.
What part of this chain of causation isn't clear? Imagine I deliberately push you off the sidewalk and into the road, and a car hits you. Do I get off blame-free because it was the physical collision with the car that sent you to your grave?
Too much coffee today, I'm usually able to ignore this kind of impaired thinking. Keep the bug sightings coming!
Lurk mode back on.
-- Andre Weltman (email@example.com), January 07, 2000.