Yet another foul-up by the DVLA

Don’t you just love the DVLA. They’re supposed to ensure that all the vehicles in the UK are legally owned – thus helping the police to ensure that they are road legal with an MOT test, and insured should they crash into us.

That their systems are shot through with holes is evident by the recently popular “fly on the wall” police programmes in the UK, which regularly show footage of the police stopping folk without insurance, or without the required MOT test.

Last night, BBC’s Inside Out programme revealed a fresh round of breathtaking incompetence. The DVLA disposed of a load of V5 documents (or log books) but instead of making sure they were shredded or incinerated, allowed them to get unmarked into the hands of some sharp operators who are now using the documents to make fake identies for stolen cars. Which unsuspecting punters then buy. And the plods subsequently come around, take back the car and return to the rightful owner – and then try to charge the out of pocket car buyer with handling stolen goods!

The DVLA’s action to solve the matter? They’ve listed the serial numbers of the stolen papers on their website.

I’m even more troubled by their behaviour, as I am now being fined by the DVLA. Back in March 2009 I sold a car,  filled in the V5 document and returned it to Swansea as required. I heard no more until the autumn when they sent me a notice to relicence it – which I alerted the new owner to. Then, I get a fine because I allegedly didn’t tell them of the change of ownership. In effect, I am being fined for trusting the Royal Mail to deliver a letter.

And trusting the Royal Mail is not a defence. Apparently I should have looked out for an acknowledgement letter four weeks after posting, and if it did not arrive, then I should have contacted the DVLA. It’s apparently all explained – on the piece of paper I had already mailed to them.

So, if you’re buying a second hand car, be sure to check the DVLA website to make sure your car’s V5 document is not one of the stolen thousands!

And if you have any dealings with the DVLA, always ensure any mail you send them is tracked with proof of receipt!


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