For anyone who buys and sells cars with any degree of regularity, being able get your paperwork quickly and efficiently from the DVLA is vitally important. By and large, it has to be said that, from my own personal experience, getting logbooks (Form V5C, above) or tax discs through the post has generally been a quick and painless process… until recently.
Due to a general decluttering of my life right now, I’m having one of my semi-regular purges of cars. What that means is that I’ve sold a couple in order to make sense of where I am right now – out has gone a 1999 Citroen Xantia and a 1986 Audi 100, both which have gone to satisfied new owners.
However, I’ve had neither car particularly long and I’m actually waiting for my logbooks to turn up. Both were signed over to me at least four weeks ago, with the paperwork all signed and sent off pretty much immediately. In the past, I’d have expected a new logbook to drop on to my door mat after about a week – and the world was a happier place.
Just recently, though, those short waits have gone – and I’m waiting longer and longer for the new paperwork to arrive. The problem is that, as you know, it’s difficult to sell a car on without a logbook, not least because it’s the seller who’s liable for any points or fines incurred by the new driver until the car’s paperwork has been signed over. These extended waiting times cause problems – after all, how can I sell a car without a logbook? Exactly…
So, the long and short of it is right now, that although both cars are sold, the new owners can’t really pick them up. Not with any degree of confidence…
I was hoping my cases might be isolated but, following a quick straw poll of people I know on Facebook, it’d seem that many of you out there are also suffering – if this trend is proving to be the case with an increasing number of people, then is the secondhand car market going to start grinding to a halt? I also hear that new registrations of cars that require SVA tests are also being delayed – not least because, to register these cars, DVLA can only accept cheques, not card payment of any sort.
When did you last write a cheque?
So, who’s to blame for this (assuming this is a situation, and my friends and I have not just been unlucky)? One has to assume that the closure of the DVLA local offices last year can’t have helped the situation. Where once upon a time, you traipsed to your local office, lined up in turn and spoke to an actual person face to face about whatever you needed sorting, now you can only call a centralised telephone line, or go via the Internet.
Unfortunately, if you can’t solve an issue quickly online, or centrally, you’re goosed – often without a tax disc, logbook or any timeous solution. Clearly the DVLA needs to modernise or restaff, but the closure of the local offices happened so quickly, there simply wasn’t time to do so. So, the question is – how long will this situation continue? Is it temporary? Or could it go on? With the increasing use of ANPR to catch untaxed drivers, are people being forced off the road while the paperwork catches up?
We’ll see, but I sincerely hope not. One thing I would like, is to hear your experiences. I’d love to think mine are unusual – but I suspect not. Let me know your experiences, good or bad…