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Minnesota DNR investigates computer 'glitch'; online boat registrations under review

Updated: December 08, 2019 10:41 PM

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it has a minor computer "glitch" in its online boat registration system and is reviewing all early online renewal purchases to make sure they can fix any problems which might exist.

John Melchert told KSTP he renewed his boat registration Dec. 2, prior to the year-end deadline, and realized he only received a two-year license when it should have been the state-mandated three-year registration.

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"There are so many questions and so many things about it," Melchert said.  "I have developed computer software for many years and there is a big hole here."

Melchert said, as a computer software professional, it is his opinion there are more people out there, besides him, who've most likely registered their watercraft through the DNR's early, online renewal system and have probably experienced the same thing.

"I am absolutely convinced there are many, many people out there in this situation," said Melchert.  "I know they've said I am the first one to bring this to their attention, but that doesn't mean there are not other people who've registered early and got two years instead of three."

The DNR told KSTP it did not have anyone available to do an on-camera interview, but in a written statement the DNR did acknowledge they had a glitch in the system and were reviewing all early, online registrations.

The DNR statement, through a spokesperson, said, in part, "The online system is designed to prevent people from renewing early.  It is programmed to deliver an ERROR message with instructions to renew after the new year.  Customers should not be able to bypass the ERROR message.

"However, our investigation found the ERROR message may not have come up in this instance. Our vendor is correcting that right now.

"We (the DNR) double-checked the system and found that all renewals since 12-5-19, with current year expiration, are renewing correctly.  We also are running a report of everyone who renewed early and will send new decals to those who need them."

If you've paid your watercraft registration online already, and you received a two-year license instead of the three-year renewal, you should contact the DNR so the department can fix the problem.

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Credits

Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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