We have been reading about some horror stories about the activities of the DVLA, particularly in Practical Performance Car Magazine (PPC) (one of the best car related magazines at the time of writing, if your a car fanatic get your subscription today, click here) and on various forums. Tails include fines being issued despite SORN declarations being sent back on time, people being fined for not calling the DVLA to check they have received their SORN declarations, people having the cars confiscated and destroyed for no reason, people having their cars immobilised even though the cars have been on their private property. This page is dedicated to the problems that have been encountered by the taxpayer in their dealings with the DVLA in the hope that others people’s experiences will help all of us if we ever find ourselves in a similar position.
From PPC issue 75 July 2010.
A judge at Clerkenwell District Court found in favour of James Collins after Mr. Collins had claimed he had sent the SORN declaration to the DVLA but they DVLA had lost it. The DVLA’s response to this is that they don’t lose mail. But Mr. Collins had found out that the DVLA even lose their won internal mail and they don’t even know how much. Mr. Collins also made a Freedom of Information request that established that the DVLA doesn’t even log correspondence and destroys what it does record after 3 months.
Another case involved a Mr. Duncan Peck. The judge at his trial found that the DVLA had no statutory power that requires anyone to ring them. The DVLA claimed Mr. Peck should have called the DVLA to confirm that they had received his SORN declaration. The judge found in Mr. Peck’s favour.
Derek Glass had his car clamped on a private road. PPC asked the DVLA about this incident and they stated that “Changes to the law were introduced on the 1st of October 2008 that enable wheel clamping and removal of unlicensed vehicles on private land. There is no legal requirement to get the landowner’s permission.’ The DVLA also quoted 5 articles of law. However PPC found that in the explanatory memo from the DVLA states “…unless within the vicinity of a dwelling, a stationary vehicle may be immobilised removed or impounded.” Sounds like its not black and white to us, best to get legal advice.
In our opinion these two judgments throw serious doubts on the enforceability of the DVLA’s SORN scheme. The DVLA doesn’t appear to know for sure if a SORN declaration has been sent to the them and they don’t let you know if they haven’t received your correspondence. It appears to us as if the DVLA is completely unaccountable.
Mark Daniels has written an interesting article relating the fines and the traps of the SORN system.
Even if you do send in a V890 form, if it gets lost in the post, or more likely lost in the shambles that is the DVLA today, remember they don’t send out any acknowledgements, and you could still receive notification of a fine!
An unfortunate aspect of this shameful bureaucracy is that it claimed to be introducing SORN under the pretence of addressing ‘tax dodging’ issues. What’s actually happening is that many honest and innocent people are now receiving fines due to gross inadequacies of the ill thought out SORN administration. As of this year the automatic fines have now been raised to £80, and the AA has vehemently criticised the lack of appeals procedures.”
Consumer Action Group have a heated discussion on their site regarding what someone people believe is a straight up con
“I hear of nothing but moans about this in my local, on this site, on other sites, in the local news – way in excess of the amount of letters that would conceivably be lost in the post.
It’s a con, and a con that is not only endorsed by our govt. – it’s actually encouraged – how the hell can a private firm with Capita’s track record (or any for that matter) be in charge of something so integral to the country?”
Cash Loop Holes has an interesting template for a letter to be used in reply to a fine if you have been accused of nondeclaration of SORN