How hard are the DVLA working to prevent the big car scams?
The headline story is a couple of days old now but it's worth taking a look; it's a report by the BBC on how DVLA documentation is being used to sell stolen cars. Three years ago, the DVLA printed thousands of vehicle registration forms but then found an error on them - they were meant to be destroyed but, you know, weren't. Then they were, you know, stolen:
Our favourite line comes from the DVLA spokesman - "clearly it's a criminal act - we can't be held responsible for that criminal act!" Nope, nothing to do with you! Why, you only printed tens of thousands of these official documents, failed to destroy them and then allowed them to be stolen. How could any of this possibly be your fault?
Another line states the DVLA has done "all it can" to make consumers aware of the serial numbers printed on the rogue documents. That's good to know, so we decided to see what lengths the DVLA were going to.
Stick DVLA in a Google search and what do you find? The first result is a DVLA website selling car registrations - their current promotion is for Valentine's Day. The second Google return is a result which has never seen SEO before, but that's the link you need. Odd that the DVLA will spend money optimising websites that help consumers spend money and generate profits, but not one that prevents grand fraud on a nationwide scale.
Let's assume you guessed which link you need. Is there any information about these stolen documents when you click through? Nope. Given the apparent scale and nature of the crime, a simple panel and link on this homepage would seem appropriate. Instead, you've got to hunt well below the fold to find "Buying and Selling a vehicle" under "Consumer Advice". Let's assume you guessed that, too. Then you've got to click "Advice on buying" and you still don't see any information until you scroll down again, well beyond the fold to the very foot of the page. That's it.
To paraphrase Douglas Adams, the DVLA is doing "all it can" to prevent this crime by hiding the relevant info in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'. They'll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes, assuming they don't fuck up the paperwork for that, too.