DVLA complaints and problems
A year ago there was a feature on BBC1's Watchdog featuring DVLA and the many problems that they have failed to resolve. You would think that having just one organisation that does everything would save time, money and hassle but in fact having the DVLA deal with the responsibility of handling thousands of licences and entitlements is in fact a joke. Every aspect of driving has to be declared to the DVLA such as applying for a provisional licence, getting a full driver's licence, declaring a vehicle off road (SORN) and even any medical ailments that may affect driving ability.
What happens when the DVLA get it wrong
Unfortunately in the last year alone complaints to the DVLA have as much as tripled; there have been reports of licence holders having their licence destroyed, having vehicle entitlements removed and even fined for not telling them a car is off road. Having a car becomes part of our daily routine, whether it's driving to work, going to the gym or shopping and having your car taken away from you because of a silly mistake is just uncalled for. There have also been reports of drivers having their licence destroyed after the DVLA cannot find a record of them ever passing. The majority of people this is happening to are really those who have held their licence for a long time but it shouldn't be happening at all.
The DVLA is responsible for keeping their system up to date and accurate but it is up to you as a licence holder ensure that it is. There was a case of a lady who had her vehicle seized after she didn't pay a fine of £60. She had changed address and given the DVLA the wrong address and when she realised her mistake she informed them. The person handling her call said she would sort it out and all new correspondence would be sent to the correct address. The call centre worker failed to do so and the result was the car owner had no idea she had a fine of £60 that rose to £967 while reminder letters were sent to the wrong address and finally leading to debt collectors being called in and getting her car sold.
There was also a case of a young man who went travelling for a year and his dad filled out a form declaring the vehicle SORN (statutory off road notification). What he didn't do was call up to check that they had received the application. When the tax disc ran out, he was fined £80 for not declaring the vehicle as SORN.
How to prevent problems with the DVLA
- If you send off your licence for a change of name or address, make sure that you have the correct details when it is returned i.e. correct vehicle entitlements such as driving a motorbike or van
- When you send anything to the DVLA, send it through recorded delivery so you have proof they received it. Also call up after a few days and do not give up until you receive an acknowledgement email or letter
- Always get the name of the person you are speaking to so you can quote them if you have any problems
- Never believe a call centre worker when they say they will 'sort it' but ask for proof like a letter or an email
Of course nobody is perfect but the DVLA really needs to do something about the many complaints it receives every year and find ways to make their system better so that the mistakes they've made in the past do not happen again.