What Is It With All These Fees?!?!?!
Thanks to today’s economy, we see a lot of businesses trying to do more with less. Fewer staff and fewer resources are becoming almost common place now. Unfortunately, this is not limited to just the private business sector. We are seeing a lot of county and state governments being hit as well. We are encountering shorter work days, fewer staff, and furlough days when we are trying to research a background check for a client. Courts are closed 3 and 4 days a month, schools no longer have staff in the registrars office, and many business are also short staffed in the human resources departments.
With the smaller staff and fewer hours worked by that staff, we do see a lot of state and county governments trying to obtain revenue in other ways. One way they are obtaining it is to charge a fee to access their records. Some states have minimal fees – you can do a statewide criminal search for a state fee of $5 or $6. Then you have the other end of the spectrum – the state of New York has increased their fees by $10 which now puts them at $66 per search. It is actually cheaper to search some foreign countries than it is to search the state of New York, but that is a topic for another blog.
The state Bureau of Motor vehicles is also increasing fees. Several states do not charge anything to access the BMV records for their state, but we don’t expect that to last long. Many states do charge fees to access their BMV records and we are seeing those fees increase also. Hawaii just increased their fees by $13 which puts them at $24. The state with the highest fees (at least for today) is Oklahoma. They just increased their fees by $15, which puts them at $28.50.
Many colleges and universities have taken huge personnel cuts, with a lot of those cuts being in the records rooms and registrar’s offices. A direct affect to these cuts is that they no longer have the staff to verify degrees, and have outsourced their records to organizations that specialize in that. Of course, those organizations don’t do the work for free – so there is another fee. Many companies have staff cuts in human resources and personnel. They are outsourcing their records to various services as well which also do not work for free.
So, where does it all end? When will things get back to “normal”? I think we just have to wait and see on that one.