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7OYS helps family get HOV sticker after dealership error

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7 On Your Side's Michael Finney helped a family get an HOV sticker after Richmond's Hanlees Toyota dealership made an error, which resulted in a five-month delay.

An HOV sticker can save drivers a lot of time by allowing them to use the carpool lane even when they are alone. But owners of an electric vehicle in the East Bay had trouble getting an HOV sticker, so they turned to 7 on Your Side for help.

The Yan family leased their plug-in Prius on July 4. Five months later, they were still waiting for a sticker.

Jessie Yan makes a trip to the East Bay into San Francisco often to see his grandchildren. The commute can be aggravating at times and that's why he leased a Prius plug-in.

"I went out to get this car just because of the stickers," Yan said.

The decal would allow him to travel in the carpool lane when he's by himself, saving him valuable time.

Owners of zero and low-emission vehicles qualify.

Yan had no idea getting that little sticker would be such a big headache.

He and his wife leased the car from Hanlees Toyota in Richmond.

Hanlees Toyota leased them a car it had received in a trade with another dealer and put in the request for a sticker. But the DMV rejected the application because Hanlees forgot to enclose the $8 fee.

"Our contract clerk assumed that the fees had already been paid by the other dealer, so didn't send the $8 fee," Hanlees Toyota COO Jim Totah said.

Hanlees Toyota then resubmitted the application with the fee enclosed.

First weeks went by, then months and no one was giving the Yans any answers about why they still didn't have their HOV sticker.

"We waited and we were patient. We're busy. We're grandparents, so the time goes by," Susan Yan said.

But that patience finally ran out last month.

"We were getting nowhere. No communication as to what's going on," she said.

7 On Your Side found out the HOV sticker program began in 2012 when the legislature approved 55,000 stickers.

The last of those stickers had already been given out.

"I'm not blaming anyone else for this. It's our fault," Totah said.

But all was not lost. The legislature had approved 15,000 additional stickers in August.

7 On Your Side told the Yans they would get their sticker this month and we were there when they finally received it.

"Ahh, great. HOV stickers," Jessie said.

"I apologized to him, told him we did counsel the people involved and that we dropped the ball and that we are human and I apologized to him and I think he's very happy now," Totah said.

"We're just grateful that you guys were behind us and that finally an end would come and it has," Susan said.

Hanlees Toyota also voluntarily rebated part of the cost of the lease back to the Yans for their troubles. Needless to say, they are pleased about how everything turned out.

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