Central Bank Hunting Lost Money After Boater Registration Foul-Up

Thousands of Georgians not charged for online boater registration.

Nick Carter | July 29, 2009

Problems continue with the state’s new licensing and boater-registration system. This time the headache falls not only on Georgia’s sportsmen, DNR and the company contracted to handle the duties are in the mess as well.

For more than five months, from Dec. 23, 2008-May 27, 2009, Georgians who registered their boats through the new online system with their credit cards were not charged for their boater registration. The transactions went through, and boaters received their registration cards and numbers, but the fees were never applied to their credit cards or deducted from their accounts.

The number of boat registrations not charged was 18,111 for a total dollar figure of $615,563, according to David Neyhart, DNR’s License and Boat Registration program manager.

Central Bank, the Missouri-based company DNR outsourced its hunting and fishing licensing and boater registration to last year, handles its Internet licensing and registration through ActiveOutdoors Inc. ActiveOutdoors had a computer programming error that caused the problem, said Neyhart. He said the problem has since been fixed.

Neyhart said even though ActiveOutdoors is missing $615,563, DNR has received all the money it was due for boat registration during that period. It will initially be up to Active Outdoors to try and collect those charges due.

“The state is not out of any money. The citizens got their registrations,” said Neyhart. “The only thing is, Central Bank is out the money for the transactions that did not go through.”

Active Outdoors is now trying to recoup its losses by contacting customers who were not charged. They are doing this through a call center in Maryland which was sub-contracted to handle licensing and registration by phone. Active Outdoors has also sent out letters.

“To maintain your current registration and vessel decals, please contact us at (800) 366-2661 or go online to <> to resubmit your credit card payment,” the letter reads.

Neyhart said registrations made during that period are currently valid. However, he also said DNR has not decided exactly how and when it will go about helping claim the charges due.

Capt. Mike England, with DNR Law Enforcement, said the burden will eventually fall on DNR to collect payment. He said this will be a problem since the DNR staff is stretched so thin already.

“What (Active Outdoors) will do at some point is tell us who hasn’t paid, and we’ll start trying to contact them,” England said. “A cut-off date has not been determined, but DNR is behind the collection effort and DNR will be the one who has to revoke registrations.

“We’re trying to give the customer the benefit of the doubt, though. We’ve had some people concerned that this might be a scam. It’s not. Do whatever you need to do, phone calls, whatever, to verify.”

If you have received your registration materials, but the payment has not been applied to your accounts, refer to the information in the excerpt above to resubmit payment.

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