back to article DVLA off-road system seriously off-message

The DVLA’s off-road notification system is a shambles: legally unenforceable and administrative chaos. Two recent court cases suggest that the DVLA has been acting unlawfully and does not have the powers it thinks it has when it comes to pushing motorists around. First up was a case heard in Clerkenwell District Court in …

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  1. frank ly Silver badge
    WTF?

    Just a minute....

    "...on the grounds that he had failed to notify it when took his vehicle off the road (SORN)"

    Why should it matter if you take your vehicle off the road??

    If I take my vehicle off the road (e.g. park it up in my garage for months, for whatever reason), then what harm does that do to anyone if I don't formally tell them? The only situation in which you should need to inform the DVLA or 'prove' anything is if you are using the SORN procedures to claim refund of vehicle tax or exemption from it.

    Have I misunderstood the situation in this case, or is there an aspect that I've missed?

    1. Anonymous John

      Re Just a minute.

      You don't need to do anything if you take a taxed car off the road. But when the tax runs out, you either have to re-tax or SORN it.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      FAIL

      Oh dear.

      The problem isn't the act of taking your vehicle 'off road'. You can park your vehicle on Mars for all that DVLA cares.

      The problem is that once DVLA knows of the existence of a vehicle it expects it to be taxed until the day it ceases to exist. That is what SORN is for. It's the way you justify/explain/excuse not paying tax on a vehicle.

      Basically SORN exists so that the vehicle registration database has a specific status for every vehicle. Your vehicle is either 'taxed' or 'not taxed'. Prior to SORN all the database had was 'taxed' or 'unknown'.

    3. Number6

      Rule Change

      They changed the rules some time ago because it was too easy for people with no road tax to just claim the vehicle was off-road. Now they can fine you for driving it untaxed or for not telling them that you don't intend to drive it, thus winning in all cases. Throw in a random selection of lost mail and the ensuing fines, and there's all that extra income. Until now...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agree with the last bit but...

        I think the point of SORN was to shift the legal burden onto owners to record vehicles that are abandoned.

        The point about there being now a new classification for vehicles is not really valid. Before they were either taxed or not. With the introduction of SORN, that is still the case. "Not taxed" is now split into "Not taxed, and they told us" and "Not taxed and they didn't tell us" which really doesn't tell you a great deal about the real status of the vehicle. The owner could still lie, and if they are driving the car without tax, then they likely don't care about the consequences anyway. They will still fill in the SORN declaration and continue to drive it.

        You can create as many laws and legal requirements as you like, but ultimately, only the law-abiding care. The criminals do not.

      2. peter 45
        Grenade

        Heads they win........tails you get fined

        Too right. All the rules and all the fines are in their favour.

        - DVLA forget to send you a reminder.......not their fault

        - You forget to send them a form telling them that the car is STILL off-road......your fault and fines and payment for full tax for the period was not declared SORN.

        SORN is just another method of collecting payments from all those naughty people who are dodging paying annual car ownership tax (and not paying tax, is equivalent to stealing it in their eyes.).

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Yay!

    Reg readers: 1

    Incompetent Government Body: 0

  3. johnB
    Big Brother

    Just another civil service outfit

    As usual with gov't dept's, things are organised for their benefit, not the customers.

    My late stepmother died & I was warned that I could either a) tax her vehicle, or b) SORN it. Both required her signature - a bit tricky.

    No third option - they clearly hadn't even thought of such an event happening, although it must be a relatively common thing to occur. Brainless, just brainless.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But......

    If the guy's a Reg reader and thus has access to the interwebs, why not just declare SORN online? or was he spoiling for a fight?

  5. Iain 15
    FAIL

    Me too!

    That is very interesting. I remember I registered a change of owner and sent off the requisite paperwork. I expected an acknowledgment but none was forthcoming so I called up. They had received the paperwork and processed it but I was told that the DVLA do not send acknowledgments for these docs. Funny how the story changes...

  6. JimC Silver badge
    WTF?

    What on earth is the point

    of the damn SORN thing anyway? It seems like just a stealth tax. If its on the road and not taxed then that's all the cops need to fine the owner: the SORN is irrelevant. All I know is that its a frigging nuisance if your vehicle isn't a runner at tax renewal time: if its not running you can't MOT it, then you can't tax it, then you have to fill in the frigging sorn, then you have to un sorn it to tax it... It used to be a damn sight easier when you could just send the form off a few weeks later when you got the MOT...

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      SORN

      It's to stop people skipping a month before retaxing their car.

    2. Colin Miller

      VC/5 transfer after death

      When someone dies, you are meant to fill out the V5/C to transfer the car to you. giving a copy of the death certificate. Then apply for a Tax disc/SORN. If the death occurs at the the time the tax disc is due, then I'm not sure what the correct procedure is, but you can now fill out the form online, and pretend that the deceased filled it out.

      For Americans,

      In the UK, all vehicles used on the public roads are required to have an annual tax disc. I think they are called "registration plate tags" in the US. If you are keeping the car off-road (on private land), then you need to fill out a Statuary Off-Road Notification form (it's free) when the tax disc expires, or you sell the disc back to the DVLA. The DVLA is the Driver and Vehicle Licensing agency which is the Quango that deals with vehicles and drivers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        If it is due

        You fill out the V5/C, and tax it with the new keeper supliment, just as if you had just purchased the car, just as my mum did, and was told to do, last year when my dad died. Just phone and ask, or look on Direct.gov, rather than ranting like an ideot.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          Idiocy and Government Process

          "You fill out the V5/C, and tax it with the new keeper supliment, just as if you had just purchased the car"

          Yeah, that makes tonnes of sense. I am sure its the first thing most people would think of when someone has died. All I can say is well done to your mother for having the presence of mind to find that out.

          "Just phone and ask, or look on Direct.gov"

          From the OP's comment it seems they had spoken to someone at DVLA who warned them of the issues. When a relative of mine died before Christmas his daughter was given the same advice as the OP over the phone from DVLA, so this is a bit of a weak defence for the scumbag agency.

          "rather than ranting like an ideot"

          Ironic, really, dont you think?

    3. Rob
      Black Helicopters

      A good point but...

      ... we don't want to make life easier for these Gov Quango's, plus if you do it all by post at least you know they will still be earning their money, doing it online means they are making a saving and where that saving goes only the Oompa Loompa's know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: A good point but

        Indeed, dare to cross a Quango and you'd better lock your doors because the balifs are coming.

        Those who live their lives above board and on the grid are the easy targets for government Quangos and their taxes (sorry, fees and penalties).

        I bet it won't be long before most Quangos no longer accept cash for certain taxes (sorry sorry, fees). Oh wait a minute, most already don't.

        Where will all this lead us I wonder?

    4. Lionel Baden
      Unhappy

      im sorry

      But let me correct that for you

      Reg readers 1

      Incompetent Government Body: 10000000000

      Sad but True

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Jolly good!

    What some of these organisations do not realise is that while they may become a little bit bossy and overbearing as soon as they take the matter to court (or have it taken for them) most will soon realise that they do indeed operate outside of the law and in an unjust fashion.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got hit by this yesterday

    I just received a letter that was delivered to an old address 2 months ago, requesting I attend court to answer a charge, something along the lines of failure to notify change of keeper. The court date was a few days before receiving the letter, and so I obviously missed it. It's lucky I'm even getting mail at all for a year-old address.

    Of course I diligently sent the change of keeper notification in a timely manner (though through normal unsecured mail).

    It looks like I may have been hit with an automatic £1000 fine, due to no fault of my own.

    I'll certainly fight this.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Required Title

    What will happen: A lot of public face saving gesturing, maybe a new rule or two, and, uhm, nothing much really. Even if you'll get the supposedly transparant and independent bureaucracy to keep tabs on this rogue bureaucracy, it won't gain anyone much. Except the few extra people employed.

    What should happen: Fire the entire DVLA staff, blackball the brass, and build it up anew. This time pay attention to competent management and create its internal infrastructure to do what it should and safeguard integrity.

    But really, the DVLA isn't that rogue, just slightly moreso than the rest. And since the entire government is rotten to the core anyway, starting with the political upper crust but certainly not stopping there, fat chance anything will happen. You can't even vote the bad apples away, so that's all that's left. Carry on government.

  10. asiaseen

    Presumably

    the DVLA will ignore the court decisions claiming that they never received notification.

  11. Paul_Murphy

    'Lose support of the motorists'

    Yeah - it's not too late for that is it?

    Honestly - they make it so difficult to be honest, and so heavy-handed when things don't go their way it's surprising that people are even bothering to inform them at all.

    When looking at the protests and riots in Greece and other countries I wonder how long before it happens here.

    It's not as if the establishment seems to be trying to help matters is it?

    ttfn

  12. David Neil
    FAIL

    Not entirely surprised

    I scrapped a car back in November 06, sent my side of the paperwork to the DVLA, thought that was the end of the matter.

    Turns out they claim never to have received and they think I'm liable for the tax since that point + penalties + i'm supposedly in the poo for not notifying a change of keeper.

    On the back of this I'll welcome the chance to go to court.

  13. Richard Jukes

    About time

    The DVLA are nasty. Real nasty. If I do not know the previous SORN date lets say because the previous owner sorned it and I buy it off them, how can anyone know when to RE-SORN the car? No point arguing with the DVLA most the time.

    1. BlueGreen

      always prove it

      > Of course I diligently sent the change of keeper notification in a timely manner (though through normal unsecured mail).

      I don't know anything about tax discs, sorn or whatnot, but I do know about bureaucracy and the first rule is, get proof that you discharged your obligation. Mostly this means getting proof of posting, but anything that shows you did your bit is vital.

      Prove it!

      * Prove It! *

      * PROVE IT! *

      Always prove it. All organisations cock up and will by default dump the blame on you. If they can't because you evidently did your bit then they'll quickly back down and get reasonable again - or else the courts will do it for them.

      It's just clunky rules in a dull but necessary game.

      Anyway, well done those two, and best of luck to anyone here planning on contesting an injustice. I've found courts to be pretty sane places.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Proof of posting

        As I recall from my law degree days, there is a "proof of posting" rule, which basically says that there is a rebuttable presumption that, if you can prove you posted it you are covered from the time it was posted. I don't know how common the knowledge is, but you can get "Proof of Posting" forms at the Post Office - hand over the document with the appropriate postage, ask for proof of posting, and get a slip with the PO stamp on it. This is free (except for the time spent in going to the PO, but, hey, your custom might prevent it from being closed). There is no need to go to the expense of recorded delivery - which isn't worth the paper it is written on for these sort of forms, anyway, since they have no actual financial value.

        1. Andrew Maddison 1
          Black Helicopters

          @Intractable Potsherd (re: Proof of Posting)

          Recorded Signed For and First or Second Class Post (as long as you have a proof of posting - ie a completed Certificate of Posting) are all insured to the value of 100 x the price of a first class stamp (currently 41p, so the insurance is £41).

          Forms such as the V5 do have a value as the cost of a replacement where the original has been lost is £25, and similar charges apply to replacement of lost Driving Licences.

          Proof documents such as passports are worth more, and are therefore worth the expense of sending via Special Delivery.

          As far as someone being sent back someone else's biometric passport, I don't know why they sent it to the DVLA in the first place - you can insert the passport number in the relevant section of the license application and the DVLA can electronically check the Passport database, all without the need to risk it in the postal system.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Thanks, Andrew

            ... I didn't know about the Proof of Posting having insurance value as well. It shall go into my armouray of knowledge.

            Regarding passports - always think twice before letting them out of your sight. They are too valuable in too many ways to risk compromising them. I have walked out of Spanish hotels that insist on taking them and keeping them out of my sight.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Quite simple...

      SORN expires on a change of keeper. If you buy something SORNed, you need to re-SORN it immediately.

    3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @AC

      That is interesting. Last year I acquired a second car which needed taxing (not unusual), so I went to the nearest Post Office with the appropriate documents, including the V5. Handed them all in, keeping the New Keeper Certificate. This car was stolen three months later, which was when I realised that I had not received the new V5. Lots of kerfuffle (probably at least partly correct, given that I was trying to get a registration document) ensued, during which time I got several different answers as to how to proceed. However (and this is where it is relevant to your point), at no point was it ever suggested that I was liable for not notifying them of a change of keeper (which I would have contested if they had). Were they covering up incompetence, or are there some rogue operatives in the DVLA who actually have some common sense, and realised that I could not have got the tax without the old V5?!

    4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      WTF?

      Who the hell ...

      ... downvoted Paul_Murphy's post?????? He states the truth, except he's perhaps a bit optimistic about the great British public getting off their arses to protest anything.

    5. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Difficult?

      I get a reminder in the post. I visit their website. I give them my CC details. Two days later disc appears on doorstep.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Other government offices work the same

    I worked for the DWP for a number of years and this way of working sounds very familiar! The reliability of post was more than bad.. Its a mystery where it all went! And who suffered? guess..

  15. Anton Ivanov
    Grenade

    The entire system is idiotic and terminally outdated and outright criminal at times

    I got stuck because of the volcanic idiocy on a trip 5-19th of April abroad with the earliest date given by the airline being 2nd of May. The tax for my vehicle was expiring on the 30th of April.

    So can I buy tax in advance for a specific period? Can I even buy it before the 15th of the month before it expires? Hell no, too difficult for the DVLA to add 2+2 and if it was possible than there would have been much less fines, right? After all it is much easier to blame everyone being a criminal and let them prove the opposite. More fines, more baylifs, more money, more racket. Why fix it is if it brings more revenue they are not entitled to, but which the consumer cannot really fight agains.

    So can I buy tax just with my vehicle reg number? Hell no, you got to supply an obscure number present only on the nastygrams they sent out (or on the vehicle documents which you never take with you abroad if you leave the vehicle in the UK). Same story - more money, more fines, more racket. Why fix it is if it brings more revenue they are not entitled to, but which the consumer cannot really fight against.

    Thanks god, I have a private driveway. If I did not, not putting the precious piece of paper on the windshield on the right date would have been yet another offence and yet another fine into DVLA's coffers. I have had to replace the disk on New year' s eve for friends on quite a few occasions and frankly this is another special artificially invented offence nowdays. All enforcement is with cameras and a database. What is the function of the disk besides creating a special artificial offence to collect more revenue which they should not be entitled to?

    The fact that they themselves like where they are and do not get out of there very often does not mean that the rest of the UK should follow the same approach. Some of us like to travel abroad and some actually have to do that on business. It is a reality that a lot of the UK population spends abroad months and weeks at time. They are our servant, not we theirs (yeah, I know that as per Lazarus Long civil servant == civil master). It is them who are supposed to adjust their systems to suit the population, not the population to adjust their travel and business plans to fit their whims and fantasies.

    We live in the 21st century. The system should be fully electronic - no paper, no discs, number plate only and it should be possible to buy it for an arbitrary term in advance and up to a year in advance (as the chancellor sees fit to change it as he sees fit asking for more is not realistic). The only reason I can see for this not being done is that this will make half of the paperpushers in Swansea unemployed overnight. Something for the new government to consider as an efficiency after the next election.

  16. Dennis 6
    Pint

    The support of motorists???

    "We say that staying complaint should be made really easy and there should be tolerance of small mistakes. If the authorities lose sight of this they will also lose the support of motorists."

    I think that, in choosing whether they want the support of motorists, or as much money as they can possibly trouser, they have decided that the readies are more useful. Just to speak to them on the phone one has to dial a high-toll 0870 number, and the latest figure I saw was they made £8.7 million this alone. Good will?? Ha-ha.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's getting quite a list then..

    IMHO they are also in blatant breach of the Data Protection Act by using personal information for other purposes as intended (selling it in an uncontrolled fashion).

    It's about time someone calls them to order.

  18. Squirrel
    FAIL

    /has idea

    Good on the citizens for fighting back but to prevent such arse ache... Do it over the internet...

  19. Daniel Feenberg

    huh

    would smeone like to explain what this is about to a North American reader? Is it something to do with preventing the spread of hoof-in-mouth?

    1. Steve X
      Thumb Down

      What this is about

      The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is responsible for making sure that all vehicles that are on the public road are taxed. Owners have three choices 1) Pay the annual tax, 2) Declare the vehicle as being destroyed, 3) Declare that the vehicle is stored off-road (might be the case for a car that is being restored, or where the owner is away for a long period and doesn't want to pay tax).

      The Statutary Off-Road Notice is the way that you deal with choice (3). If you don't send it in, and don't pay/renew the tax, you're assumed to be in default and the car can be seized and destroyed.

      As well as the owner being required to send in the notice, the owner is also legally required to verify that the DVLA has received it. The DVLA has no responsibility to confirm receipt.

      Fair hearing? Innocent until proven guilty? Fat chace with the current government. Remember it on Thursday...

    2. Spanners Silver badge
      Big Brother

      explanation

      SORN - Statutory Off Road Notification. Letting the authorities that the car will not be on public roads. Otherwise they expect it to be taxed and certified roadworthy (MOT Test).

      For 96% of the planet - "hoof-in-mouth" is a misuse of the USA only "hoof and mouth" that much of the rest of the world knows as "foot and mouth" - in English anyway...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Wrong

      "Can I even buy it before the 15th of the month before it expires? Hell no, too difficult for the DVLA to add 2+2 and if it was possible than there would have been much less fines, right?"

      You can do it two months befor. Fuckwit.

      Tax in advance

      You can renew your tax up to two calendar months in advance in person or by post at a Post Office® branch that deals with advance applications or a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) local office.

      Take or send:

      * Registration Certificate

      * completed V10 ‘Vehicle licence application’

      * insurance certificate or cover note – must be valid when the tax disc comes into force

      * valid MOT certificate - if the car or motorcycle is over three years old - must be valid when the tax disc comes into force

      * the payment for vehicle tax

      * a letter to explain why you’re taxing in advance if you’re making a postal application

    4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Calling them to order...

      ... isn't that simple, I'm afraid. Agencies like the DVLA have been very craftily engineered (another legacy of that deranged old bat Thatcher) to fall between the cracks so they are very effectively *outside the law*, and not amenable to any calls for change from the electorate. Technically, not even the Minister for Transport (in this case) can legally call them to heel without making legislation - they are created to be autonomous. This is an area that really needs sorting, but so few people realise the nature of the problem. Whenever you see the word "agency" at the end of a supposedly government organisation, this is the case (Child Support, Highways, etc).

      Also, no-one is going to win an election by promising to make government departments bigger!!

    5. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Sorry to disagree...

      ... but it is better to do it at a Post Office - they need the custom if we are not to lose more of them.

      1. Anton Ivanov
        Grenade

        Good, now show me a Post Office in Spain, Or Tadjikistan for that matter.

        So where exactly is the post office located in Paris, Barcelona, Athens?

        All it takes is to get stuck for more than a week somewhere for whatever reason and you are an automatic criminal.

        I see no reason why the f*** I am supposed to write a letter for tax in advance. I pay, they tax and that should be it. Further to this, unless this has changed you cannot renew for a month in advance 1-15 of the previous month. You cannot renew online. You cannot...Whatever...

        The fact that the DVLA staff does not like to get out very far out of their precious Swansea does not mean that the rest of us should commit acts of servitude to them just in order to be able to do our work or travel for fun for that matter.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          *headdesk*

          You said you can't tax for more than 15 days in advance. You can... Says it right there on the info taken from the Direct.gov websight. Perhaps you should tax, like, in advance of the last posible second? Maybe? Although then you wouldent be able to rant.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Oh and another thing

          You don't get fined as soon as you are overdue. It seems you have a bit of a persicution complex.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Absolutely

            I can testify to both these points, although I must admit to thinking you could only tax 1 month in advance. Anyway, to my shame (and hence AC), I paid tax on my car almost a month late a year or two ago. I went to the post office, asked for car tax from the start of the month (it was nearly the next month), she scanned the bar-code on my docs, I paid ONLY for the time I wanted tax for (so no fines / penalties etc) and that was that, end of the matter.

            Until the next year, when I had to pay more tax, but that's not the argument here.

          2. Anton Ivanov

            Sure you do.

            If your car happens to be parked at Gatwick because of the volcanic clusterf*** and you have to traverse 200 miles and more than 40 cameras connected to the automatic number plate recognition you definitely do. In fact you do for the maximum amount or at least this is what the DVLA always tries in that case.

            Or you travel by other means, pay parking for X days until you source the disk, and then go back to pick up the car. Nice rounded total in excess of 200£ in parking fees and rail/bus tickets. Still less than the fine though.

      2. peter 45

        Really?

        So how come the last time I knew I was not going to be in this country when tax was due, I was told that buying tax in advance of the month it was due was "impossible"?

        1. Richard Vivash
          Stop

          Give the guy a break!

          I always renew my tax online, which means I would also have been caught the same way Anton was.

          I'm pretty sure that if you renew online you can only do so up to 2 weeks in advance (unless this has changed very recently, last time I tried to renew 3 weeks before it refused). This may be to do with keeping the Internet facing database of vehicles down to a manageable number and from a security perspective it's probably not a good idea to have the UK's entire vehicle database exposed to the Internet 24/7, 365 days a year. I know you can renew earlier by going to the Post Office, but if you're planning to renew online I think the two week rule still applies.

          So let's take Anton's case….

          I guess he was going to renew online (he doesn't explicitly state this, however as he mentions not being able to renew before the 15th I can only surmise he was told this by the renewal website, where else would he have got this date?). He was out of the country from the 5th of April until the 19th. This means it was not possible to renew online before he left the UK. However, he would be back in plenty of time to deal with this, so no problem… or so he thought… Then Iceland exploded… Was he really expected to foresee this?

          Now this is his problem. He can't renew the tax on his vehicle while he is not in the UK because he needs the ridiculously long number that is on his renewal form, something that he would not have to hand. It is likely that he only knows his registration number and as the DVLA offer no way to renew your tax with only the reg number, he's out of luck.

          OK, the tone of his post was a little hysterical, but give the guy a break. Let's face it, we've all felt like that after dealing with one Government agency or another. How hard can it be for the DVLA? They have the car registration number, the registered address, his personal details and his DOB. If all that matches up with their records then why can't they tax his vehicle? He's trying to GIVE THEM MONEY and fulfil his legal requirement, he's not asking them to send him cash. It really shouldn't be that hard.

          If you are caught driving without tax (which is likely these days with all the NPR cameras around) the police can, and do impound your car and issue points on your license. So when he arrives back at Gatwick, how does he get home? He's tried every avenue to remain within the law and has tried everything possible to give the DVLA his cash.

          OK, the volcanic ash situation was unusual, which is why he shouldn't be expected to predict and plan for that eventuality, but it really does show how rigid and unbending the DLVA are.

  20. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    lose the support of motorists

    Hm, strange, I thought that happened a while ago already.

    In fact, I'm not sure I ever remember a time when "motorists" actually supported the scheme.

    Political pundits, for sure, but regular motorists ?

    Oh, but this "support" is undoubtedly the same than that of the ID scheme, right ?

    Okay, okay, I'm moving along, don't push.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Rule of Law"

    is a book just published by Tom Bingham (ex-LCJ) and describes exactly why this behaviour by DVLA is unacceptable - arbitrary, invented powers exercised by officials.

    The question is whether one thinks this is a phenomenon promoted by the current administration or (pace Peter Oborne) the entire political class.

    Kudos to both defendants for taking a huge wedge out of their personal lives to defend us all against the creeping excesses of the State. Those that think otherwise may well think that "Taking Liberties" is a loonie-left rant might care to look at "Just Law" by Helena Kennedy QC.

    Disclaimer: none of the above would recognise me if I bumped into them.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recorded delivery....

    Imagine if we all decided to send anything to the DVLA recorded delivery... they would have to employ a special department just to sign all the delivery notes.

    It does surprise me that the courts can send things like CCJ paperwork (which has to be returned within 14 days or you are assumed to be "guilty") by unrecorded second class post, so I'm surprised that the "I never got it" defence isn't used more often.

  23. Da Weezil
    Grenade

    Arrogant twots

    The DVLA are an arrogant bunch of twots anyway - they wrote to my sister about her car being "used" in my street while SORN'd on a certain date - yes it was in that area - parked on my private off road parking. When challenged about it - along with a map of the street and parking area -provided by our local council (in relation to an earlier enquiry I had made) - and the advice that the parking area is detailed in the lease to these properties they eventually wrote back saying that on this occasion they had decided not to prosecute - this despite the fact that THEY HAD NO LEGAL BASIS to prosecute - as no offence was committed - the car was legitimately parked on a private parking area and covered by a SORN declaration.

    Time this shambles was sorted out - but I guess it suits the government to have another motorist milking agency - just like the Scamera partnerships.

    Grenade - because the DVLA need one under their collective ***es

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    On a related note ...

    I just received a non-payment ticket from NCP in their Wrexham General station car park. I paid by phone using their new Ring Go system, which suggested my reg and previous location (also Wrexham) based on my caller id. My CC bill shows me as having paid NCP £13.90 on the relevant date ... to park in Reading. This is going to be fun!

    1. Paul_Murphy

      Has your car been 'ringed'*

      Since rung didn't sound right.

      Sounds as though _proving_ anything will be impossible, so you should be able to get both nulled.

      good luck

      ttfn

  25. Tsu Dho Nimh
    Paris Hilton

    Off Road? Translation, Please, for US-ians

    "took his vehicle off the road" Do they mean you have to notify them when or before you drive your vehicle across pastures and through the woods, on unmarked unofficial roads?

    That is what off-road" means in the USA.

    Paris, because I'm clueless.

  26. Irp

    Confusing the DVLA...

    As my Dad used to say:

    "How do you confuse the DVLA ?"

    "Ask them what day it is"

  27. wolfmeister

    yes the dvla screwed me too

    I am still waiting for the 'results' of their enquiry into my SORN from 2 years ago - they sent a letter telling me I was being fined for not declaring SORN, and an order to pay the fine. I pointed out that the vehicle had been scrapped the previous year, and if it hadn't been, then where was my SORN from that previous year, and if there wasnt a SORN decleration from the previous year then why hadn't they fined me for the previous year for NOT declaring SORN?.

    To this day I still have never had any follow up to cancel this fine. They also have never confirmed the date they have added to their database as the scrapping date of my vehicle. They agreed to list it as scrapped (the year after i had already scrapped it) but when i asked them to confirm the date of scrappage they added to their database was the previous year they refused - so their database is false.

    Secondly not all scrapyards have the system to provide scrappage certificates. The DVLA aknowledge not all scrapyards have this facility cos they didnt roll it out to all scrapyards, while at the same time persuing fines on people who cant provide a scrappage certificate - I did however have a receipt from the garage stating they scrapped it, but they said this was 'invalid' - thats the same garage that can legaly issue MOT's without any checks!

    what a pile of shit the dvla are

    Finaly, hilariously, once your details have gone to the prosecution dept in Glasgow (probably sub-contracting ballifs in reality), you are then no longer legaly allowed to talk to the DVLA in Wales, and the DVLA dept in Glasgow has 'no access' to any records in order to process any complaints or appeals

    it's just money grubbing bullshit, and it wasted months of my time being continualy threatened and worried for doing the legal and right thing!

  28. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Thumb Down

    They certainly do lose post

    They lost my birth certificate when I changed my name a few years back. As they have procedures in place for when they do lose post I would assume that this wasn't the first time that this happened.

  29. Rob 5

    hmmmm....

    The response to Mr Collins' FOI request appears to have "Page 2 of 1" as a footer.

  30. Stephen 2

    Dispute

    I opened a dispute with the DVLA last year after they fined me even though I had sent in the relevant paper work. Their defence was that I should have contacted them after not receiving a reply letter.

    So if I don't receive, their letter, it's my problem. If they don't receive my letter, it's my problem.

    Does the decision of this more recent case mean I can go back to them and ask for a refund?

    1. Haku

      Translation

      Basically, to drive on the public roads you need road tax, when this runs out you need to either pay more tax or SORN it, SORN = Statutory Off Road Notification, Off Road = privately owned land.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      @wolfmeister

      "Finaly, hilariously, once your details have gone to the prosecution dept in Glasgow (probably sub-contracting ballifs in reality), you are then no longer legaly allowed to talk to the DVLA in Wales, and the DVLA dept in Glasgow has 'no access' to any records in order to process any complaints or appeal"

      Sounds like some scope for FOI requests

      BTW AFAIK the official baliff' in Scotland are the firm that chases Readers Digest competition entrants for not paying for any "free" unrequested books they sent. Something outlawed by the Distance Selling Regulations.

      Just the sort of legitimate people you'd want handling your finances.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Legalised thuggery - aka Scottish bailiff system...

        The Scottish bailiff system is a disgrace to a country that calls itself civilised, and has always been so. No pretence at the due process required in other countries, and often not a stone's throw from legalised fraud and thuggery - often involves little more than a clerk's rubber stamp. Much beloved of bureaucrats - naturally. Successive govts have promised to change things for decades, but nothing ever happens.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Off Road

      http://tinyurl.com/2vwpswa

  31. Rogerborg

    Suck on that, leeches

    Huzzah! Road Tax (sod off with your VED, it's road tax) is a protection racket, run for its own continuance and to keep some morose Taffys busy shuffling paper around.

    There's no credible argument in its favour, and it's grossly regressive. A child could see that it should be replaced (for revenue purposes, not because it has any particular merit) far more fairly with a bump in our already obscene fuel duty. There's your "environmental" component, your SORN scams, and your avoidance and enforcement costs all taken care of, and the entire DVLA Swansea staff could get lost down the Pot Noodle mines where they belong.

    I applaud anyone who stands up to these parasites and starves them of their life blood. Only when their racket is no longer profitable will they give it up and get real jobs.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They Never Lose Documents in Their Office

    ..They do it on the train. Mark your letters with "Top Secret" and the probability of that happening will be much higher.

    1. Doc Spock
      Thumb Up

      @Rogerborg

      That's an excellent idea, except for one small thing (and I'm _not_ being sarcastic here):

      The DVLA/Police/Government want to know who owns each car on the road, where they live, etc., etc. - information which is not obtained when you buy fuel. I agree that the "tax" bit is redundant and it would be better if it was incorporated into fuel duty, but there is still a legitimate need for the other information provided with a Road Tax Certificate.

      Disclaimer: I do not own a car, nor do I work for the DVLA/Police/Government

    2. Paul_Murphy

      A better idea maybe?

      Put the costs of tax and a basic third-party insurance onto fuel, after all the more miles you do the more you use the road and the more likely (roughly) you are to have an accident.

      You would need to purchase additional insurance if you wanted better coverage.

      You driving license holds the reg. numbers of cars you are permitted to drive (aside from rental which is managed seperately via the hire company) or (as in america-land (tm) I believe) you have a set of personalised plates which you fit onto the car you are driving to prove legality.

      I suppose if you were really thinking ahead you could even disallow owning a car at all, but the means of allowing the car to be driven legally are controlled in some way - for instance fuel pumps _needing_ to be paid by plastic, which of course can be cross-referenced.

      Discuss.

      ttfn

    3. Jimbo 6
      Flame

      @ Rogerborg

      I'd agree with your comment if you didn't take the chance to indulge in a little light racism.

      Let's face it, Government departments based in England are hardly paragons of efficiency and respect for customers, but I don't tell them to get back to the marshes of northern Germany whence they came, and take their sausage-scoffing royal family too.

      1. Chemist

        @Paul Murphy

        "You driving license holds the reg. numbers of cars you are permitted to drive "

        Not in the UK it doesn't!

        1. Ottoman

          errr

          He was suggesting that it should.

    4. BigRedS
      Thumb Down

      Road tax?

      Come on, it's got nothing at all to do with the roads. Why not call it "Broccoli tax"?

      Or "car tax" maybe.

      In mild seriousness, insisting on calling it 'road tax' perpetuates the myth that those who pay it somehow have a greater right to the road than those who don't. But you knew that.

  33. JP19

    Utterly ridiculous from the start

    The whole SORN scheme is utterly ridiculous.

    Only the authoritarian punitive FuLab and minions could come up with a scheme which makes it an offence to not inform them annually that you intend not to commit some other offence.

  34. The Mighty Quin
    FAIL

    Farce...

    This is what happens when you slowly stop the Post Office being the one stop shop to government services.

  35. Dave Henderson 1
    Black Helicopters

    Stick it to them.

    About time the bunch of thieving blackguards were brought to heel. After all, it's nothing more than a flimsy excuse for tax-gathering and employing an army of otherwise useless mouths.

  36. bilston
    Go

    Sensible and thoughtful ruling.

    This is why the judicial system must be kept separate from the government.

  37. Dave Bell

    Not just the DVLA

    They're not the only outfit to be slipshod about keeping track of correspondence.

    And I remember, a long time ago, a government department showing sudden panic (a totally new piece of official paperwork, which everybody had to complete every year) at the suggestion their supplicants should use recorded delivery. Somebody would have to come to the office early to meet the postman.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    online

    How come a reg reader didnt just use the website i did it it takes about 1 munute and you get email confirmation

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Blackguards?!?

      Now THERE'S a word I haven't seen or heard uttered since my high-school production of Brigadoon

    2. Al fazed
      Happy

      because online is outta sight

      If the DVLA database is not up to date then how the f*ck can you use the on line application ?

      Because I declared SORN in February 2010, the web application cannot find my vehicle using the either the SORN Reminder Reference Number or the Vehicle Log Book !

      Even though I want to Tax the car from beginning of May 2010, the telephone robot wants me to TAX the car from beginning of March ! It assumes there is something wrong with the vehicle details BUT NOT DVLA database .........

      So I'll get on the bus and go to the Post Office, or maybe I should write a letter, and post it in triplicate ?

      ALF

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      The post office is not without issues

      I work nearby to the post office that is generally accepted as being one of the worst in the UK (in Chiswick, London FWIW). It's so bad that it has appeared on Room 101.

      The ability to pay VED online is a god-send, and avoids me a 20 minute wait in a queue only to be served by a thoroughly disinterested post office employee.

      You are also labouring under the assumption that the Post Office is any more competent than DVLA. It's my guess that DVLA issues penalty charge notices based on a periodic sweep of its database. Sounds to me as if we have two parties who can screw up in the loop now instead of one.

      I think I'll go for the internet option every time thanks.

  39. Jacqui

    every three months

    When we had three spare cars (unscrapped parts vehicles) we kept them sorned. To ensure we did not hit the DVLA's naties we sorned the vehicles eveyr three months (in advance) they would lose at leats one perhaps two of the aqpplications every year. every three months was a MINIMUM safe renewal period for the yearly renewal.

    This of course means that when all four renewals are processed, DVLA end up doing four times as much processing and sending out of confirmation letters are needed but as long as I dont get fined (and renewals are uncharged) I dont give a ....

    The SORN scheme is a joke as a numebr of pikeys on my estate in camberley have vehicles with either faked documents or use trading as an exemption for tax and mot.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    i can't believe how uninformed the majority of you are

    i can't help but laugh at some of the posts on this thread. it just goes to show the average person's ignorance of the law is staggering. and no, i don't work for the DVLA before you bleat about that too...but i have had extensive experience in the automotive industry.

    so in no particular order;

    the requirement to declare your vehicle off the road is enshrined in the vehicle excise and registration act and the road vehicle licensing regulations. it's not DVLA's legal requirement, it's the government's.

    the DVLA is merely an executive agency tasked with fulfilling those tasks deemed necessary by the above two laws. it wouldn't make a difference if the tasks performed by DVLA were done by tesco or virgin or any other organisation; they'd still have to comply with the law's requirements.

    the law puts the onus on YOU, the registered keeper to comply with those requirements, including ensuring that the information is received by DVLA, i.e. phone them up and check they've got it if you don't receive a confirmation letter.

    as for some of the other drivel on here "having to unsorn my car and then tax it" blah blah... you can't un-sorn a car... you get rid of a sorn by buying road tax. idiot.

    the reason not all scrapyards have the facility to electronically notify DVLA of a vehicle's destruction is that this facility is only available to Authorised Treatment Facilities (authorised by the environment agency, not the DVLA)... when your car goes in to an ATF it cannot legally leave that facility. it must be broken down, de-polluted and to the largest extent possible, recycled.. when you put your car in to steptoe and son's garage that can issue MOT certificates there's nothing to say that they can't just sell it on to some traveler.

    @ the AC bleating about the data protection act; the vehicle database isn't governed by the data protection act, it's a semi-private register used for the purpose of law enforcement and other permissible activities as defined by the prev. two laws; giving your info to a car parking firm if you are alleged to have caused an offence is a permissible activity... let me put it this way; if you parked your car on my drive would you prefer i have the opportunity to get my solicitor on your case because i can find out who you are and where you live or would you simply prefer i set fire to your car?

    @ the moron bleating about an 0870 number;

    they use an 0300 number which is free of charge from most landline providing companies and some mobile providers... given that it costs a damn site more than £8.7 million pounds a year to staff a call centre capable of dealing with the majority of your moronic enquiries i feel it incumbent upon me to point out that i would rather you pay for your own enquiry via phonecall when you can't figure out something that's written in black and white in plain english on a form they have provided you as opposed to me the taxpayer having to fund a freephone number for you to call because you're too thick to read.

    @anton ivanov; anyone can tax their car from the 5th of the month in which it's due. not the 15th. it hasn't been the 15th for over 5 years. furthermore; if you have circumstances that would prevent you taxing your car because say, like you, you were out of the country, you can tax it up to two months in advance... and if that's not good enough there are plenty of other ways around it... but wait? what's that in your car window? why it's a little bit of paper that tells you exactly when your tax is due??? well i never!? instead of bleating about it, why aren't you aware when your car tax runs out? why didn't you do something about it in sufficient time....

    as for why why you have to have a reference number to tax your car; if you just had the registration number then you vastly increase the chance of you taxing the wrong car... true fact; of over 50,000 people surveyed in a recent motoring survey less than 30% know their own registration number....

    i know what a fabulous idea, let's combine the ability to pay your £200+ car tax with your ability for you to tax your last car/wife's care/car whose registration number you think is yours.... by mistake... oh wait... you want your money back because you taxed the wrong car by accident....? get a grip. oh wait... let's just invent this safeguard that you need two pieces of information to tax your car, not just one to protect you from your own stupidity....oh hang on... they did that already.

    gah. i can't even be bothered any more.

    i tell you what... let's see some of you nerds who sit behind your desk all day playing solitaire do better... everyone makes mistakes... we're all human.... i would be willing to bet the number of mistakes the DVLA make on a daily basis compared to the number of transactions they operate is pathetically small... i would in fact bet the number of mistakes they make is waaaay less than your average private sector organisation..

    i think what you'll probably find here is the people who have posted on this thread, with the exception of myself and a couple of others are the type of people who can't/won't/don't read forms, who flout the law in ways many and varied... who when they have a problem and do genuinely need to speak to someone pick up the phone and shout and scream as opposed to politely and calmly asking for help and advice....oh and most likely of all, they probably want do DO something about their problem when it's already become a problem, not when they could have prevented it becoming so.

  41. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    For the Americans amongst us

    SORN = Statutory Off Road Notification

    It is a device used by the driving agency in this country to know whether you need to pay tax on your car or not,broadly speaking. If it's not on a public highway and you aren't planning to use it, then you must SORN it.

    This has nothing to do with driving Miss Daisy through the tulips or even barrelling up the side of a mountain range. Off road just means off the public highway :)

    1. burberry00
      FAIL

      Not so.

      Not so much uninformed, mate, as unused to tugging the forelock. Keep tugging yours, by all means.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge
      WTF?

      well I never

      I feel sorry for the poor monitor that was covered in your rage spittle.

      For gawds sake get out and get laid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No...

      Round here the govenment is evil and anything someone has to do to get off there fat asses is govenment interferance.

      Unfortunatly the DVLA do have some big problems, like the recent spate of miss issueing licences, changing peoples entitlment etc, and then refusing to admit that anything might be wrong. Unfortunatly the open themselfs up to this type of abuse because of the effect this has on people.

      Genraly I agree with you. I used to work for the govenment and I got soooo fed up with this attitude of "I pay your wages". No you fing don't. You pay taxes to the govenment who then pay the money to the Crown who then pay for the Civil service. You don't pay my wages any more than you can say that to someone in Tescos, or march in to a Kenco factory etc. and say that.

    4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Troll

      Troll alert...

      ... all the signs are there:

      -- Anonymous

      - "I'm not associated with... but I have been in (vaguely related activity)"

      - "Everyone but me is an idiot"

      - "Bow down to the man - it's in your interest in the long run"

      - Not to mention being wrong on several points.

      Remember not to feed him - he might come back ...

    5. Jane Fae

      Uninformed? Surely not!

      Its always unwise to accuse others of being uninformed...if you haven't dfone your research properly and aren't 100% sure of your facts.

      The whole point of this piece...and of the interviews and research i have been doing over the last 12 months plus is to highlight that the Law IS NOT the way you think it is. To take just one statement:

      "the law puts the onus on YOU, the registered keeper to comply with those requirements, including ensuring that the information is received by DVLA, i.e. phone them up and check they've got it if you don't receive a confirmation letter."

      Nope. If you read the piece, that is exactly what the law does NOT require of you. Yes: you are required to comply with legal requirements. But no: if the DVLA lose something, the responsibility does not magically revert to you because you failed to check they hadn't lost anything.

      The law, as ruled on by two judges, appears to be that if you place your forms in the post, you have done what you need to do and do not have to chase up to ensure that they have arrived.

      Further, the DVLA request that you phone to check if you haven't received an acknowledgment is not anywhere enshrined in statute, and therefore is not law.

      So...if this article is uninformed...or readers are uninformed on this particular central point...then so, apparently, are judges.

      However, when it comes to law, i know whose views i would regard as being more informed.

      jane

    6. Just Thinking

      Did you read the article?

      "the law puts the onus on YOU, the registered keeper to comply with those requirements, including ensuring that the information is received by DVLA, i.e. phone them up and check they've got it if you don't receive a confirmation letter."

      Isn't the whole point of the article that a judge has ruled that there is no legal requirement to phone and check with the DVLA? The law only requires yout to post the form off.

    7. Andus McCoatover

      Ever seen a parking ticket/official doc, etc...

      ..Requiring a reply. Isn't "Proof of postage is not proof of delivery" stuck somewhere on the back?

      Where's their "proof of postage"?

      Wow! I see some compensation returning. Godalmighty, where I live, either: I get my post electronically, or I have a slip posted that requires a visit to Posti to physically: a) Sign for it, b) produce offical ID (Passport, photo. driving licence). Then, there's NO fuc*king argument.

    8. peter 45

      Who is the idiot?

      "you get rid of a sorn by buying road tax. idiot.".......or by not remembering to re-SORN as I fonud out to my cost. If you are going to insult, at least be accurate.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think you may need to check your ego..

      Re. the DPA, you appear to forget that this has been a regular thorn for most motorists that the DVLA is selling their details without their permission. I quote from the ICO investigation, report reference JB/LS 30/3/06 v.1 (2006):

      "The Information Commissioner believes that a modified version of the current practice of using a mixed approach should be adopted, with certain bodies being specified in the regulations and others having to demonstrate a particular need to see the information on a case-by-case basis. However, unlike the current system, he believes that the test for granting access should not be based on ‘reasonable cause’ but on a more stringent and narrower test more allied to considerations of proportionality and necessity used when considering whether any interference with the private and family life of an individual is legitimate (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights as given effect by the Human Rights Act 1998)."

      Short reference to full ICO document: http://tinyurl.com/2vrnxtx.

      I am, of course, assuming you can read English. If 10 pages is to hard for you I'll summarise it: you're wrong.

  42. Chrissy

    Care with your driving licence too

    There is evidence (albeit anecdotal, as in I didn't suffer myself but have read of others who have) that they also have a habit of disappearing extra entitlements (motorcycle, HGV, PSV etc) off your driving licence when you submit it either for change of address or 10 yearly photo updates; as the computer record is God, you have a snowflake in hells chance of persuading them you did pass the relevant test without the Test Centre's pass certificate, and many have been forced to retake to maintain their employment.

    Knowing this, at my 10 year photo update point I included an enlarged scan of the entitlements section with the other docs , told them to not **** mine up and to check the new licence's entitlements against the scanned previous's entitlements to confirm they match before posting it to me.

    Surprisingly, it arrived with everything in order.

    Do this, or at least keep, forever, all documentation from whichever driving tests you take.

  43. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    The situation only *ever* improves

    and the system only ever *works* if people are prepared to give misbehaving government departments a good kicking. Ideally send a copy either to your local MP, or possibly more usefully (but taking a bit more time) the head of the relevant Parliamentary committee that oversees them. As most of the trouble seems to be coming from "Executive agencies of..." the Minister is likely going to have some flunkie give the "The Minister does not concern themselves with day to day operational matters" cop out.

    One just man *can* become an army.

    You can guess what's in my pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Alert

      Lost entitlements, not all bad.

      I have lost entitlements on every address change I have made. Sadly some were the result of "grandfathering" and getting these back on were so much trouble the first time I never bothered the second time they removed them.

      I lost motorcycle and had to go through hell getting them to accept the test certificate. The second time it went missing I went through hell again. Moving house soon and I may follow your suggestion of sending them a notice.....

      On the flipside, my wife lost 6 points off her licence when we moved...................................

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not entirely OT...

    ...but I reckon it's high time some sort of oversight - strict and with penalties - was applied to govt and local govt agencies taking cases to court with other people's money (i.e. ours).

    For the rest of we poor mortals, the decision about whether or not any problem in our lives can be solved with court action is regulated by the thought of costs. But govt/local govt clones don't give a tinker's. Let's go to court - it's someone else's money whether we win or lose. And the self righteousness of these people knows no bounds. Why should it, when there seems to be no check on their actions, which cost the public millions every year irrespective of the outcome.

    The DVLA didn't lose these cases - WE did, for it is Joe Public who ends up paying the bills either way.

  45. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Way to complicate things DVLA

    The rules in the US (well, actually it's per state but most are similar) are actually similar but enforcement is simpler! Here, you get a registration sticker every year or two from the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) which is a state-agency (i.e. rules do vary a little per state). In my state there is no inspection, some have a safety inspection, and some have an emissions test (California and northeast states mainly). The tag is color coded, if you don't renew your tag it's obvious because they are the wrong color, you'll be pulled over sooner or later -- probably sooner -- and fined for expired tags. You may be able to get out of the fine by retroactively paying for current tags, depending on the state. Simple! If you don't drive on public roads, you won't be caught with an out-of-date tag, no paper work to file for "off road" vehicles, no mistakes.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      I think you are maybe comparing apples and oranges here me old mucker, what you have just described sounds more like our MOT (vehicle is fit to drive on the road certificate basically).

      Our VED (Vehicle excise duty) or Road Tax as it is usually known, is another way for our goverment to wallet rape it's citizens for the priveledge of paying £1.23 for a LITRE of fuel. This is what you don't pay if your vehicle is SORN'd.

      Clear yet? :)

      And yes, I'm being deliberatly obtuse to our American cousins, coz I know how much you like having the wee extracted from you :P

    2. Richie G

      @ Henry Wertz

      In theory the procedure over here is similar. The tax disc differs in colour depending on its expiry, and the expiry date is printed quite large on it, thereby being similar to your color coded tag.

      The difference with this, and the reason for SORNing is down to the fact that all the police who used to patrol the roads checking out for things like this have all been replaced by cameras at the side of the road which simply check for people going a couple of mph over the limit, even when it is perfectly safe to do so and in times gone by the police would've let you off for it.

      By removing the eyes aspect of this visual system which worked so fine, the system now has to rely on people telling computers that they no longer use the vehicle on the road.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ...the usual gumph

        "all been replaced by cameras at the side of the road which simply check for people going a couple of mph over the limit, even when it is perfectly safe to do so"

        Don't be a prat. Those cameras have an inbuilt percentage leeway just as the guy in the patrol car would give you. If you are over that limit then you deserve to be fined since you are breaking the law - whether you think it's perfectly safe to drive at that speed or not, your opinion is worthless.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry mate...

      ...but that scheme has two overwhelming drawbacks as far as British bureaucracy is concerned.

      It's economic and it's sensible.

  46. Jay 11
    FAIL

    Why not use the Internet?

    Well the answer to that is tied up in the red tape DVLA have wrapped around SORN.

    If you don't receive your VED reminder and can't find your log book (my paperwork system is haphazard at best) or have an old style log book for a vehicle that has been off the road since before SORN came into being (DVLA didn't issue new type log books for these vehicles) then you are forced to download and print form V890 and apply for SORN by POST.

    As you can't interact directly with the DVLA data base via their website, even if you do apply online there is no guarantee that your SORN application will be processed. In fact take a look around the Internet and you will find a fair few examples of this.

    It's very easy to assume that just because you are able to SORN your vehicle over the internet that everyone else can. Last figures I read stated that something like 10% of vehicles couldn't be SORN'd online.

    Hope that helps answer a few questions.

    Regards

    James E Collins

    1. Reg Sim
      Thumb Up

      yep.

      I miss placed my DVLA details, as you send a bit of your form off when you SORN, and need less to say had no clue where my 'letter' from the DVLA went. (I suppose I should be grateful that I got a letter).

      Anhoo it meant I needed to go into the DVLA offices to sort it out as they could not do anything over the phone or via mail or via internet. - joy.

      The folk at the office were nice and got me sorted out that day so I could get road tax, just as well because the vehicle in question was parked in there spaces :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry

      If you can't find the log book then that's your own bloody silly fault, not the fault of the DVLA. No sympathy at all.

  47. Miami Mike
    FAIL

    No smarter here

    There must be an inherent genetic defect which pre-disposes these jobsworths to go and enlist in MVBs worldwide.

    I've owned a certain classic motorcycle for 40 years, and I had the effrontery and temerity to move and take it with me. According to the law, I have to update my address in the state database for the title and the registration.

    State of Florida informs me that 1) they have no record of this vehicle (I have a Florida title in my hand - unless it is from a different State of Florida), 2) only the serial number is in the all-knowing computer, and 3) the license plate is invalid and illegal - despite being a permanent license plate for antique vehicles issued by (the same) State of Florida back in 1987.

    I was finally able to get the MVB to admit to the existence of the motorcycle. I was finally able to update my address in their computer BUT they will not send me an updated registration, so if I get stopped, the address will be wrong and I will be charged with not updating my address.

    I was also able to cite a Florida Statute which shows my permanent license plate is valid and correct - lets see what the state MVB has to say about that! Stay tuned.

    My paperss are perfectly in order - it is THEIR paperss vich are NOT in order . . .

    These clowns are an utterly useless collection of terminal w*nkers. Reagan was correct - *Government* is the problem . . .

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    At the risk of being boring ...

    misanthropy

    mismanagement

    lack of integrity

    sociopathic tendencies

    I could go on but the above really is an accurate reflection of UK (un)civil servantry.

  49. Mos Eisley Spaceport
    WTF?

    SORN!

    This seems an incredibly inefficient system..

    How about...

    1. you drive a car with a valid tax disc = Good, yay, : ), etc

    2. you drive a car without a valid tax disc = Bad, $$$$, Cops, etc

    Over here, you simply hand in your vehicle licence (number) plates when you scrap a car.

    No plates = no drive (on road)

  50. SleepyJohn
    Big Brother

    There is an important reason for DECLARING SORN

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” ~ Ayn Rand

    And if you can extort money from those innocent men at the same time as criminalising them, so much the better. Reduced unemployment due to the vast army of needless bureaucrats is a handy bonus. There are a number of things going on here, but SERVING THE PUBLIC is not one of them. The notion that each of us should be held directly responsible for authoritarian government incompetence simply beggars belief.

    As does the notion that such a trivial matter as not using the roads for a while should be elevated to the fatuously grandiose status of 'DECLARING SORN'. War may be important enough to declare, but keeping your car in the garage for a bit? I am surprised we are not made to march down the street behind the Town Crier chanting "Oyez, Oyez, Prithee hear Ye - I HEREBY AND HEREWITH DO SO SOLEMNLY DECLARE SORN - Oyez". Heaven preserve us from such officious fatuosity.

  51. Geoff Campbell
    Go

    Plus ca change....

    Some years ago, before the current web portal was running, I had a run-in with the DVLA over SORN, which resulted in the procedures being changed - an unusual victory in the ongoing war against the bureaucrats.

    I have a number of lovingly maintained ongoing projects (or "that load of old scrap out the back" as my Wife mistakenly represents them) which require SORNing every year. One year, DVLA twice failed to send a reminder, resulting in two fines for failure to SORN.

    The second time, I decided I'd had enough and wasn't going to pay, so started a letter-writing campaign to my MP and AM (Member of the Welsh Assembly), the DVLA, and the Charter Mark body that certifies the DVLA's excellence in customer service (no, I'm not making that last one up). I also formatted up SORN forms for each of the dozen or so vehicles, and started printing them out every month and sending them off.

    At the time, there was no acknowledgement sent out when a vehicle was SORNed, so the owner had no paperwork at all relating to the SORN in force, and thus no knowledge of when it expired, unless you were one of those horribly organised people who note this sort of thing down on a calendar.

    So, after six months of polite but firm letter bombing, and some support from my MP, DVLA agreed to waive the fine, and to implement written acknowledgments of all SORN forms.

    My one and only contribution to making your lives better. No need to thank me :-)

    GJC

  52. Sam Paton

    Ah good old DVLA post

    I sent off for a change of address on my driving licence. They sent me thanks in return, and returned the proof of ID. Someone elses brand new biometric passport.

    1. Jane Fae

      Please, please, pretty please...

      contact me directly, sam!

      jane

    2. Richard 33
      Unhappy

      Passport

      They lost my passport!

  53. Jane Fae

    ANy more for any more...

    This is an issue i hope to return to. So if anyone has any stories that impact directly on DVLA systems and processes - and the lawfulness thereof, please drop me a line.

    through here - or direct to jane@ozimek.co.uk

  54. Peter Page

    @Sir Runcible Spoon: Wallet what?

    "Our VED (Vehicle excise duty) or Road Tax as it is usually known, is another way for our goverment to wallet rape it's citizens for the priveledge of paying £1.23 for a LITRE of fuel. "

    Are you the boring tosser who props up the bar at my local? Endlessly whinging about taxes and stuff? The git with a porsche and a mercedes, a nice house (which I look down on from my even nicer one), a second home in france, brags about all the fancy restaurants he's just driven back from, early retirement, generous pension, no worries. Constantly bloody whinging about tax and petrol prices and how hard done by he is because some of the stuff he has to pay for can't be directly stuffed down his cakehole or shown off to the neighbours?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    @The anti-social anonymous coward

    "i tell you what... let's see some of you nerds who sit behind your desk all day playing solitaire do better... everyone makes mistakes... we're all human.... i would be willing to bet the number of mistakes the DVLA make on a daily basis compared to the number of transactions they operate is pathetically small... i would in fact bet the number of mistakes they make is waaaay less than your average private sector organisation.."

    We agree, they are human! SO WHY DO THEY ACT AS IF THEIR SHIT DOESN'T STINK WHEN YOU CALL THE CALL CENTRE MONKEYS FOR HELP!?!

    You really need to get a grip man.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    2 things

    Recorded post working requires that people dont get on with their postie well enough to let them put signed for stuff in the letterbox - I frequently get items that need signing whilst I am away on business.

    Also, it is apparently impossible to get two V5 log books.. although I do, as I didnt get a new one after I bought a car. After the 6 weeks was up, I phoned the details through and there was "no record of the original paperwork". A week later it appeared. The following day the original one appeared with an earlier serial number. So even if not lost, they cant keep to their own timescales as noted on their documents anyway.

    A/C cos I like my postie.. and I dont want to get hassle for the DVLA mistakes.

  57. A J Stiles

    Human Rights Act applies

    Using an untaxed vehicle on the Queen's Highway, except in limited circumstances (travelling less than 10km. from your own land to your own land, or to the post office to obtain a tax disc), is an offence. Keeping an untaxed vehicle on private land with the landowner's consent is *not* in and of itself an offence, and possible related offences -- such as if the vehicle contains substances which make it a pollution hazard -- are beyond the remit of the DVLA.

    The SORN system subverts the presumption of innocence, and thus runs counter to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, implemented in UK law as the Human Rights Act 1998.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Aha!

      A commentard who is a human rights lawyer. How convincing your argument is. You HAVE taken this issue to court haven't you?

    2. Puck
      Stop

      @ A J Stiles

      No it doesn't run counter to the ECHR, if you read the ECHR it specifically states that nothing in it should undermine civil penalty regimes in member states.

      As for your point about presumptions of innocence being undermined by SORN, the legislation containing the SORN regime I assume was part of an act of parliament, and is therefore in essence the supreme form of law - it is sadly deemed to be the sacred democratic will of the people, or so.

      But yes on an emotional level and on the level of fairness I agree with everything you're saying. PCN regimes are bad law and enforced badly. This one particularly - a 'bad because forbidden' offence, for those who declare a bit late, amongst others.

      What I find interesting is that the law usually specifies that the authority concerned 'may' levy the fine concerned. Which in my book is the key word. The fact that it has discretion on whether to compassionately quash PCNs is used as an excuse to withhold that discretion and rake in megabucks - rather than conferring a responsibility to decide in a just manner.

      And no way to pay in instalments! How fucked up is that? Even fines for criminal offences permit instalments.

    3. Puck
      Stop

      @ A J Stiles

      No it doesn't run counter to the ECHR, if you read the ECHR it specifically states that nothing in it should undermine civil penalty regimes in member states.

      As for your point about presumptions of innocence being undermined by SORN, the legislation containing the SORN regime I assume was part of an act of parliament, and is therefore in essence the supreme form of law - it is sadly deemed to be the sacred democratic will of the people, or so.

      I think you're also RIGHT in a way about what you say with regard to the presumption of innocence in the administration of this law and that's part of what makes this an interesting article.

      But, on an emotional level and on the level of fairness I agree with everything you're saying. PCN regimes are bad law and enforced badly. This one particularly - a 'bad because forbidden' offence, for those who declare a bit late, amongst others.

      What I find interesting is that the law usually specifies that the authority concerned 'may' levy the fine concerned. Which in my book is the key word. The fact that it has discretion on whether to compassionately quash PCNs is used as an excuse to withhold that discretion and rake in megabucks - rather than conferring a responsibility to decide in a just manner.

      And no way to pay in instalments! How fucked up is that? Even fines for criminal offences permit instalments.

  58. Grubby
    Boffin

    Not just DVLA

    Surely any business that relies on customer reaction to a letter is potentially effected by the same rule?

    For example, if I don't have a direct debit set up for my phone then the phone company rely on me paying after I get my bill.

    I recently moved house and my energy company sent my final bill to my old address. They called me and said you haven't paid your final bill, my obvious response was I'll pay my bill when you send me it.

    After an argument with the customer service phd they agreed I can't pay something if I haven't got the bill for it, and that the onus was not on me to contact them and ask where my bill was as I had already told them I had moved and given my new address details (the same on line form they used to complete my final bill).

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember DVLA fondly

    Did some work developing a system that needed an OLTP read-only link to the DVLA system a few years ago. It was a branch of govt linking to DVLA. A fairly mundane interface with a necessary, obvious and socially useful reason to exist. From their behaviour you'd have thought we were trying pleasure their wives/husbands.

    What a bunch of uncooperative, obstructionist, unreasonable, mean minded wotsits. Every possible barrier was hurled into our way. Test windows would somehow only ever be available to us at stupid o'clock on a sunday or monday morning. We'd get 20 minute windows that they'd open late and shut off without even bothering to check. When we complained they'd never apologise and force us to rebook a new one, which inevitably wouldn't be "possible" for ages and at a stupid time of their choosing. (As if they were always constantly testing 24 hours a day for the rest of the week.). At the design stage they wouldn't even answer the most reasonable and professionally made request for information without a staggering delay. We were a high quality team working on behalf of "them" (i.e. a govt dept)

    I see a lot of pathetic, obstructive behaviour in the private sector, but they deserved a BOFH medal.

    They seemed to have a bunker mentality where "giving in" to the outside world was to be avoided at all costs The thought of working with us to minimise cost to the taxpayer didn't occur to them (ironic given they're all taxpayers).

    Maybe they send the SORN administrators on the same training courses. (In the interests of balance I'm sure the SORN front office really does have to deal daily with gits. We weren't gits, though, we were nice. They weren't interested in trying to tell the difference.)

  60. DP 1
    WTF?

    It's only a state of mind

    Does this remind anyone else of Terry Gilliams' film Brazil? One missing (or mis-typed) piece of paper work can result in bailiffs at the door?!

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similar experience

    I had to send in the log book on selling a car, and claim a refund on the unused tax. They both had to go to the same address, so I stuck them in the same envelope and posted off. I duly got a refund on the tax, so assumed that the log book had been received.

    Oh no, say the DVLA some 2 years later when I ask why I'm being pursued by bailiffs - they didn't even bother writing to me first. I went through the full complaints procedure, including bringing in my MP to have the parliamentary ombudsman deal with it before they backed off and said they weren't pursuing it any more.

    For 6 months, when they started chasing me again. It took another 3 months to get them to ackowledge that they had already told me they weren't pursuing the fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh really?

      The tax refund form states:

      "You are the current or last registered keeper and you have recently sold, transferred or exported the vehicle. You should have filled in the relevant part of the Registration Certificate (V5C) and sent it to us. If you have not done this yet, you should enclose the relevant section with this application."

      So you should include them in the same envelope. However if you do send them seperately then the addresses are very definitely NOT the same. All DVLA correspondence goes to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 XXX the last three digits of the poscode being different for different forms. 1AL for the tax refund, I think 1BD for sale or transfer to a motor trader. (Guess what I've been doing). Quite a neat system when it works, but it's very old fashioned. When people don't use the right postcode things go missing. It would probably be better if they did have a single address which all went to a scanning room. A decent DMS could easilly handle all the forms and make sure they got to the right office.

  62. Richard 116
    Happy

    Can we clarify?

    Both bailiffs and debt collectors are mentioned in the article and readers comments. Which is it? As many will no doubt be aware they are not the same thing. Bailiffs should usually be taken seriously, debt collectors on the other hand can be safely ignored. Or sworn at and ejected from your property. Whatever takes your fancy.

    Odd that I can thank the DVLA for indirectly making me aware of this. If they didn't happily give out everyone's personal details to any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to set up a private parking company (for £2.50), I wouldn't have discovered places such as CAG or Pepipoo, I would have been £60 worse off for going 5 minutes over and I wouldn't have a growing pile of threatening letters from Excel. Which I'm ignoring.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going postal

    As the DVLA don't sign for recorded delivery mail, I can't see how it's possible that they can ask you to use it. I found this out several years ago when I wanted to be sure they couldn't fob me off with "we never received it" so I sent something or other by recorded delivery and it was delivered without being signed for. I wrote to Royal Mail to ask them why they hadn't got a signature and they told me that due to the volume of mail received by DVLA, they won't sign for anything. So, should those nice helpful people at DVLA ask you to send anything by recorded delivery, be aware that they're talking through their hats.

    1. Marty
      Pint

      <title>

      its not just DVLA, any company that deals with bulk mail does not get signed for.

      It still arrives in a seperate bag and is logged as "delivered" but nobody will have signed for it.

      beer? well thats where you will find your postman after 1pm

  64. Buzzby
    Big Brother

    Watch your License

    Beware of them changing your license driving rights!

    Send your license off to change your address and you might receive back a HGV qualification when you only ride a moped. Conversely you could be a police biker yet according to them you aint when your license returns.

    Motorcycle news (MCN) has been banging on about this random category shift for a long time. No you never had that category on your license. Photocopies will not suffice. Do not send off your old license ( I've lost it!!! ) but compare it to your old one then give them earache. What ever you do keep your old un or you will be really screwed, and a new test will be required.

    police employees have been screwed like this even when say a police inspector has checked the employee/mechanic is licensed to drive/test the vehicles he maintains/repairs. DVLA of course effectively called the copper a liar.

  65. Buzzby
    Flame

    Agencies & Labour

    Maggies mob set up these agencies but tory Tony just kept them going. He kept most of the Tory crap policies in place I considered him Tory Tony!

    Gordon changed nothing, the labour mob are just a wet bunch of tories with the same policies.

    To name a few, NHS internal market, no change, selling off school playing fields, no change, the DVLA no change, as seen above. Of course their LYING manifesto's, pre elections promised the earth, especially to stop the above mentioned policies.

    As we know politicians are a bunch of professional liars & thieves. Cest la Vie!!!

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The DVLA lose passports too

    The DVLA are the useless scum that conned my mother into sending her passport as proof of age when she hit 70 and needed a new driving licence.

    They denied ever receiving it despite it being sent special delivery, then they said they had sent it back despite saying nothing on the covering letter and the envelope being too small for a passport to fit. It needed intervention from her MP to get them to admit they had screwed up and refund all her costs but with bugger all compensation for all the time and stress caused.

    One day I expect the anti terrorist police to be on her door accusing her of being an al-qaeda operative and showing her passport as proof.

    The DVLA are evil, incompetent, blatant liars and unfit for purpose

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Aha!

      You've encountered the thorny issue of Civil Service accountability. The office you spoke to are probably correct in saying that they are not responsible. What every office within the DVLA (and other civil service body) seems to have a problem with is that they are part of a larger body. The post office have evidence that somebody at the DVLA signed for the package. So while the office you spoke to are probably not responsible for the post getting from the post room to their office, the DVLA as a whole are still responsible.

      The only issue here is that recorded delivery does not have a very strong standing as evidence that you sent a passport. It's evidence that you sent and they received an envelope. I've been there before when I sent some paperwork "signed for" the recipient rang me to tell me they received a ripped and empty envelope, for which they refused to sign. The problem in that case is as ever the blind jobsworth incompetence of so many RM employees.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Driving Licence

    It's been ten years since I asked for a new driving licence as I moved house then.

    I guess that they've lost my paperwork and my old licence as I am still waiting.

  68. Richard Lloyd
    Alert

    Use the Web, Luke

    The SORN Website has been up for several years now (though no mention of it was made in this long article or whether it was available at the time the people involved got into "trouble") and is very easy to use.

    You just need your car reg plate number plus either your vehicle registration number (on a green form) or the number they quote on the SORN/tax disc letter you get annually. I've done a SORN via Web on a couple of cars without any issues and it's far "safer" than relying on normal post!

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Online?

    Reg readers are surely bright enough to declare SORN online.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Needs a redesign.

    The whole SORN system works incorrectly and it's obvious that it was created to work with the road fund licence system as simply as possible, rather than being fit for purpose.

    It would make much more sense if a SORN declaration lasted until the keeper notified the DVLA of any change in the status of the vehicle. If they take it as read that a car on SORN remains on SORN until it is either taxed, sold or scrapped then it would mean a lot less work for them. Surely that would make them happy? Unless, of course, SORN is another civil service job creation scheme.

    The SORN system is a stupid as having to apply for a new tax disc every year for a historic vehicle for which you don't have to pay tax. The theory behind this is that you can't have a tax disc without an MOT, so the disc is supposedly evidence of a valid MOT. All of which sounds sensible until you think about the fact that the MOT could be due shortly after the tax disc so the car could still spend much of the year with a valid tax disc, but no MOT. So that justification is nonsense anyway.

    All the systems and procedures implemented by the DVLA are needlessly complex and unfit for the purpose for which they were "designed". Unless you assume that they were designed solely for the purpose of keeping DVLA staff in work...

    The curious thing about the DVLA is that they exist on paperwork, they love paperwork, but they have no effective way of keeping track of the vehicle and they destroy all that lovely paperwork withing weeks of its being created.

    These days of course tax discs are pretty pointless anyway in these days of ANPR. A colleague got pulled for driving without an MOT within 48 hours of the certificate expiring.

  71. Tim 54

    Info for friends across the water

    Just to say (if you get this far) that the reason behind SORN is to reduce the problems of uninsured drivers. Because most housing in the UK (especially in low income areas) has no parking facilities (because it was built before car ownership was common), you have to park on the side of the public highway.

    As you need to show proof of valid insurance to tax the cars, forcing them off the street reduces the possibility of them getting driven and in an accident.

    I know they do checks, as my car got impounded when I was between jobs and my tax ran out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BS!

      Sorry I've got to call BS on that. The claim that SORN is there to reduce the incidence of uninsured driving is transparent nonsense. The government are well aware that SORN does no such thing.

      For a start parking the vehicle off the road does not in any way discourage the keeper from driving it. Why would it do that?

      Then there is the issue that the sort of person who would drive a car without insurance isn't really going to bother about tax either. How would SORN prevent this.

      There is also the issue that there is little to prevent a driver from taxing their car then cancelling their insurance, or at least allowing it to lapse. Tax due in april, insurance expires in may? Tax the car then don't bother renewing the insurance. How does SORN preven this?

      From a quick trawl through the local papers column on magistrates courts will show you that a staggering number of people charged with driving without insurance weren't driving their own cars. How would SORN prevent this?

      SORN was introduced supposedly to help the DVLA keep better track of vehicles. A very small part of that would probably reduce the instance of uninsured driving, but the whole administrative cost of the SORN system far outweighs any tiny reduction in uninsured driving. There are much more efficient ways to reduce uninsured driving. The biggest benefit of the SORN system is not that it reduces uninsured driving, but that it make it easier to prosecute for untaxed driving. Get caught driving an untaxed car in the past and you'd no doubt use the defence that "the tax is in the post", running off to post the tax form as soon as you got home. "The form must have been held up in the post, your honour." Often the worse that would happen is that you would have to pay back tax to the day the old disc expired and nominal court costs, if it got as far as the magistrates. The idea of SORN is that if you have actually declared that the vehicle is not in use on public roads and you are caught driving it then you are collared bang to rights. No room for maneuvre. It's easier to prosecute somebody for driving a vehicle that they have stated is off road than it is to prosecute somebody who has forgotten to tax their vehicle.

  72. Reg Sim
    Grenade

    I have already posted but I though I might as well mention here...

    ..that I have pals, now numbering @3 who the DVLA have decided do not have licenses, because the computer says no.

    One of them moved house and could not find his, the DVLA could find no record of him ever having passed a test. (he passed his test around 10 years ago)

    A similar case more recent, a chap I know lost his paper part. But even though he could provide his license number and such. Still no record could be found and he has had to resit (same with chap above).

    The worse case is a chap I know who got his house broken into. One of the the things taken was his licence. So he is busy getting new passports and other such thing one must do when all your shits has been nicked. He goes to the DVLA to get a new copy of his licensce, as he is a trucker hand has been for 20 odd years. As you maybe aware you employer takes a copy of your License when you join (to pove they checked). Still even with a copy, a valid driver number and such like the DVLA could find not records... so he has to sit ALL of his licences again.

    COMPUTER SAYS 'NO'.

    Most of this happended over the last 4-6 years. My Mechanic was put in the same position, which is an issue for him as A: its very embarising, B: its hard to test a motorbike when your not allowed to drive. That was about 4 months ago.

  73. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson
    FAIL

    SORN should be automatic

    Seems kind of silly to have to register SORN, wouldnt it be much much easier to just assume that any car not taxed on its renewal date is not taxed and thus is off road. Unnecessary beaurocracy like must of modern Britain.

  74. Matthew Malthouse
    Thumb Down

    Brainless in every possible way

    The SORN online facility isn't the only one that's functionally brainless.

    You can declare as a disabled driver and get your tax disc discount.

    But if you buy a vehicle from such a driver and want to change the status - ie pay them the full amount - you have to go to one of their so-called "local" offices.

  75. Mike Tree

    How about

    1) Get rid of road tax

    2) increase fuel duty (slightly) to compensate. This makes a fairer system by which people that use the roads more, pay more.

    3) Introduce an Insurance disc that is provided by your insurance company. I for one would shop anyone I see on the road without one.

    It might put thousands of Post Office workers out of a job, but it'll save a lot of hassle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, this is their reason against.

      Let's start by looking at the reasons the govt give us for its existence: (from an article by Sue Rees, taken from DVL Today - Issue 27)

      "SORN declarations must be renewed annually. This requirement is designed to ensure that a vehicle keeper provides up-to-date information at least once a year to maintain the accuracy of the vehicle register. Keeping a record of vehicles which are off the road and unlicensed makes the DVLA record more comprehensive. The police rely on DVLAs records for the investigation of all vehicle-related crime and fraud. Our records also enable enforcement against vehicle excise duty evaders to be direct from the record. "

      They're putting the emphasis squarely on crime investigation, with VED evasion as a secondary. You'd get rid of their need to deal with VED evasion but leave the police hampered because the vehicle register would not be maintained. You could suggest that the insurance companies become legally responsible for maintaining the vehicle register which would address the non-SORNing fraternity, but not the off road aspect. The govt would probably argue that that could get messy and they like things as they are. The public maintains their own records via post or web. No need for commercial third parties. Or you could argue the police don't need the register.

      Insurance disc. Don't we already have that? You need to be insured to buy a tax disc.

      Are any Sir Humphrey's reading this who can explain the budgeting and societal pros/cons of replacing VED with fuel duty increase?

      It just seems to be one of those areas of life where honest people have to jump through hoops because dishonest people exist and are difficult to deal with.

      Any suggestions for making DVLA less crap at dealing with the post?

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    "The DVLA never lose mail"

    I worked at the DVLA once - don't know about nowadays but mail went up and down between floors in open-topped boxes using a Paternoster lift system. While I was there it had to be taken out of service because the number of files that had "accidentally" fallen out of boxes had filled the bottom of the lift shaft to the extent that it was jamming the system.

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