DVLA unfair charges?

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We’re all aware that the government makes lots of money from motorists who don’t keep their documents up to date and in total from the past 10 years the DVLA have received £330 million in fines or out of court settlements for motorists failing to tax a vehicle or not registering that it’s sold to a new owner. If you’re the registered keeper of a car you have to tell the DVLA if you scrap it or sell it to someone else as failure to do so is an offence.

 

You inform the DVLA by completing the change of ownership section of the vehicle registration document (V5c/Log book); you then post it to the DVLA so that they can update their records.

 

However what the £330 million received by the DVLA doesn’t tell us is how many drivers have been unfairly charged.

 

Forums are buzzing with complaints from those who maintain they have done nothing wrong but have been fined simply because the driver vehicle licensing agency have either lost their documents or have never received them.

 

A small sample of forums show motorists who have claimed to send details of vehicle registration but then months later were sent letters demanding payment for not informing them of a vehicle registration change:

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?351828-DVLA-failure-to-notify-week-till-court-date

http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=51650

http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=1022370

 

BBC Radio 4 show ‘YouandYours’ recently featured a motorist who was taken to court without knowing about it, as he had moved home and any post had gone to his old address. The motorist called the DVLA and was told ‘Everything was fine’ and they checked their system and told him it was a mix up between DVLD departments and as far as they were concerned it shouldn’t have gone to the magistrates. Four weeks later, the DVLA process started all over again! Once more demanding £35 and accusing him of failing to notify them of the sale of his car. He complained, filled out a dispute form but the DVLA refused to back down. In the end he gave in and paid the fine, in order to avoid a court appearance. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b037v8vz/You_and_Yours_Capital_gains_tax_estate_agents_DVLA_problems/)

 

The DVLA V5c form does state ‘We will send you an acknowledgement letter confirming that you are no longer the registered keeper, we will do this within 4 weeks. If you do not receive this letter phone the DVLA customer enquiries as you will still be liable for the vehicle and you may get a penalty and/or be prosecuted’.

 

The DVLA said it recorded almost 150,000 cases last year (that is over 5.2 million pounds in fines) for drivers failing to notify them of a vehicle changing hands, these people would be offered an out of court settlement and if they failed or refused to pay, then they would be prosecuted. In 2012, 38,000 motorists were prosecuted, with just 265 being unsuccessful. The unsuccessful cases were usually due to the motorist having proof that they had notified the DVLA (proof of postage, recorded delivery receipts, and dated copies of everything that was sent in). Showing that when you have proof of this the DVLA does usually drop the case.

 

The following motorist won their claim, but only because they had proof from EBay that the sale of the vehicle had taken place (http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?249629).

 

A DVLA statement says ‘We need motorists to tell us about any changes to their circumstances in a timely manner’, they continue ‘it’s critical to maintain accurate reports for road safety and policing. The money raised from fines goes to the treasury. We receive around 95,000 pieces of mail per day, and whilst mistakes are unfair, it is also inevitable that occasional ones will be made. We do investigate when someone believes we have made an error’.

 

Is this just another way for the DVLA to make money? Or is it the motorist’s responsibility to make sure they receive the acknowledgement back from the DVLA?

 

·         Have you had a similar experience? Share it with us – email mattford@carsandgarages.co.uk

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