DVLA act unlawfully whilst losing your letters and blaming you for itMay 5th, 2010 • 59 Comments
Many companies act like complete arseholes when correspondence goes missing. The amount of times I haven’t been sent a letter or the postman has eaten it (or whatever they do with them), to be then chased up with a grouchy phonecall has gone past the point of trying to remember a number.
However, most companies will concede and sort things out with you whilst you’re on the phone. Not quite the case with the DVLA who’s off-road notification system has been described as “a shambles” and “legally unenforceable” and in “administrative chaos” according to The Reg.
Two court cases suggest that the DVLA has been acting unlawfully and, despite what it thinks, doesn’t have the power to push motorists around like they do.
In one case, the DVLA was seeking a judgement against James Collins on the grounds that he had failed to notify it when took his vehicle off the road (SORN). However, Mr Collins had indeed notified them and in fact, it was the DVLA who had dropped a bollock by losing his details. The judge agreed that it wasn’t Mr Collins’ fault and he shouldn’t have to stump up the cash to send correspondence by recorded delivery or any proof of posting for that matter.
If that was the case, and us plebs had to send everything by secure means, then the same would need to be required of any organisation we dealt with and, of course, they wouldn’t want that as their postage costs would go through the roof.
In another similar case, Duncan Peck had a row with the DVLA over lost paperwork. The DVLA tried it on and said that Mr Peck should’ve rung them if he didn’t receive any acknowledgement from them. Once again, the judge in question sided with the public saying that the DVLA have no statutory power requiring anyone to ring them.
This of course, doesn’t stop the DVLA sending out bailiffs should anyone try to cross swords with it. These rulings could well be a serious blow to the organisation.
The simple fact of the matter is that the DVLA do lose mail and correspondence and are still seemingly happy to send out debt collection agencies even while complaints are under investigation.
This simply isn’t good enough from a company that pockets somewhere in the region of £10m per year from penalty notices.
A spokesman for the DVLA: “The DVLA does not impose any requirements for customers to obtain proof of posting or use recorded delivery in their dealings with us. However, and this is a key point, the onus is on the customer to ensure their off-road notification is delivered to DVLA.”
“With reference to non-receipt of acknowledgement letters by customers, there is no legal obligation on the customer to contact DVLA if they do not receive their acknowledgement letter. However, and another key point, we do advise customers to contact us if this happens so that we can confirm if their notification has been delivered to us or advise them otherwise how to comply”.
There are calls to have a more open and transparent appeal system concerning the DVLA as, currently, they are self-regulatory. With these court cases and apparently lack of sympathy for genuine mistakes, the DVLA could lose the support of all motorists.
When you sell your car the DVLA will now fine you if you do not inform them about it. This means that if the Royal Mail or the DVLA loose your returned slip from the log book you can expect a nice big fat fine! Hows that for a kick in the teeth? You can phone them and protest but this will achive nothing and if you dont pay up they will take you to court where you will face a £1000 fine plus costs if you loose.
This means that it is in the interest of the DVLA to loose as many of these returned slips as they can. They will bully you and you will feel you have no option but to pay up.
Here is what i did on 10/09/2012 …………. I allowed the DVLA to take me to court. At the court i pleaded not guilty. As the law stands in the UK a letter is deemed SENT when it is posted and not when it arrives. This means that the DVLA must prove that you did not post it and that is impossible for them to do! The result being that i won.
ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS STICK TO NOT GUILTY AND THE DVLA WILL BACK DOWN. ( So dont worry – you cant loose )
Hi, i am the writer of the origional post following my court victory against the DVLA. I am back again to help you get the facts of this case straight.
The origional post was written on arrival home straight after the court hearing and was written whilest i was still on a high following the victory.
Here are the facts incase you should find your self in this situation and need help.
I sold my car back in Jan 2012 and posted off the slip from the logbook to inform the DVLA of the change of ownership.
Foolishly i did this by first class mail and the DVLA did not recieve it.
In future i will be sending them by recorded delivery or will hand them in at a local DVLA office and get a reciept but i suppose you live and learn.
As is standard practice the DVLA issued me with an £80 for not informing them.
I called them by phone to protest but was told that the fine had to be paid.
At this point many people would just pay up – even if they know they posted it off 1st class because they have no proof of posting. I however did nothing and a couple of months later a court summons came.
On the court summons it says that if found guilty you will be fined up to £1000 plus £90 costs. Another great insentive to pay the £80 fine. Even if you are inocent.
This court letter is nothing more than an empty threat. The DVLA can NOT win this case in a court of law no matter how much they threaten you as long as you remember to plead NOT GUILTY!
In the UK a posted letter is deemed SERVED when you pop it in the post box. YOU DO NOT NEED PROOF OF POSTING.
In court the DVLA would have to prove that you did not post it and not even Paul Daniels could pull off that trick!
Hence the DVLA will have a case that they have no possible way of winning and will back down.
In my case they left the backing down until 15mins before the hearing, but i think that they have now learned a good lesson and will back down much sooner in future.
Just remember – stick to not guilty (no matter what) and you cant loose. You dont need to prove you posted it – they need to prove you didn’t and that is impossible!
I hope you never need to use this advice but use it and it will save you alot of money.
Thanks for info Gary I’m getting threats and a court summonses just arrived. I did inform them and they are saying they didn’t receive it too. Very worried about the whole situation and getting a criminal record
Three times my daughter has not received any notification of summonses but has had the bailiffs turning up for payment THREE times. The origninal fines where for £60, the actual amount she has had to pay has been £450. She wasnt even aware of any court proceedings because she hadnt received any letters. The latest is for £600. What can she do???
I have the same situation and I would really like to speak to you regarding this?!
Is there any way that we can speak? Weird request I know…
Hoping to speak to you soon.
I am in exactly same situation now being fined for a car I sold six months previously. Can’t even speak to dvla as automated system produces a pay only option and a seemingly elusive form pack for dispute. How could I comply with taxing a car I don’t own as I have no insurance nor mot to check , both legal requirements so I couldn’t even tax the car if I wanted. The fine is for late taxing yet I would be unable to do this, the fine does not say it is for not informing them! The national dealer I part exchanged the car with confirmed they posted the V5 to the dvla but even this fact seems ignored at Swansea. How does this dissapear?
I sold my car in April/may last year and sent the log book off to dvla within a week, 6-8 weeks later I didn’t receive acknowledgement of this so I rang and sent a letter with all the details they had asked for. I have sent in total 7 letters that “aren’t reaching” the dvla and have had a letter to say I must pay a fine or be taken to court. I refuse to pay when I have done what is legally asked of me but I don’t want to go to court and have a criminal record as I need a clean DBS for my career. What happens if they take me to court but don’t back down? I’m really frustrated and quite honestly scared. I don’t have any spare money to pay fines as I’m a single mum with no family to help me. What do I do?
Ha, Gary I am in the same situation right now, they haven’t received any evidence of me sending the log book off and have tried to give me a £100 fine, so I ignored them thinking oh they will realise that they have made a mistake. Then bang 5 months later, a court summons and a threat of a £1000 fine, safe to say they are not getting a penny, the current owner who I have contact with does not have the logbook, but still holds their green slip and has been insured on the vehicle since they purchased it, they make me laugh, I said that I was going to say the same thing because plain and simple, it is their fault, so they can suck a fart out of my arse as they are not getting a penny from me lol
This has been a very insightful page for me.
I sent off three documents in the ONE envelope to the DVLA by first class post!! Some how only one of the three documents arrived!! I am now required to pay £50 because of the incompetence of their processes. It beggars belief. When I raised my concern I too was asked if I to sent the documents by recorded delivery. As if that mattered given they had received one of the documents BUT not the others? This is a joke. The member of staff also claimed that the DVLA has a zero error rate in their processes!! I think Harvard Business School needs to pay them a visit as this is a miracle and thousands of businesses throughout the world can benefit from this truly outstanding error free Centre.