The DVLA – setting new standards in bureaucratic lunacy.

And so that time of year rolls around again and it's car tax time. I had been waiting for the postal reminder to arrive with the reference number on it that would allow me to renew the damn thing online. The post arrives this morning. the day that the current tax disc expires – no reminder. So I decide to ring them from work and renew it over the phone. If only life were so simple. After spending 20 minutes pressing various options from the automated idiot-line I eventually got hold of an operator. I might as well have stuck with the automated Welshman for all the help the operator was.

Him: Hello, welcome to DVLA customerline. Can I help you?

Me: Yes. I've not received a reminder for my car tax which expires today and I was wondering how if I can pay over hte phone.

Him: Do you have your reminder?

Me: Er, no. That's why I'm ringing.

Him: Ooooh. Let's have a look why you didn't get one. Ah, is this (reads out address) where you live?

Me: No. Not even slightly, in fact I don't think I've ever actually been to Surrey.

Him: So why is that address on your file?

Me: Your guess is as good as mine. It definately isn't because i've ever lived there.

Him: So, do you want to pay on the telephone?

Me: Yes, that'd be great.

Him: Well that's fine. You can do that because we give you 14 days grace to sort the disc out.

Me: That's great, I didn't know that.

Him: But you will have to take your car off the road from midnight tonight until the disc arrives in the post in a few days time.

Me: Pardon?

Him: Well it's illegal to drive without displaying a valid tax disc so as of midnight you'll have to take your car off the road. If you don't you'll automatically be fined £80 and receive some licence points.

Me: So when you say that there is a grace period of 14 days what you mean is that there is no grace period and if you drive the damn thing then you're going to get fined.

Him: Yes, indeed.

Me: Is there any right of appeal since the DVLA sent my reminder to somewhere I've never been?

Him: No, 'fraid not. No right of appeal. You'll have to take your ownership papers to the post office with your insurance certificate and get a disc there and then if you want to drive the car.

Me: But I'm at work till 5, a full hour after our post office shuts.

Him: (gleefully) Oh dear. You'll have to take it off the road then won't you?


Well thank you for your help young man. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpit hair, you sarcastic little shit. Customer service my backside.


Everyone hates paying car tax, everyone thinks it's a rip off and then to rub your nose in it even further they make it as difficult as humanly possible to renew the bloody thing.

Congratulations to the DVLA – setting the gold standard in petty minded, paper based, ridiculously archaic systems.


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4 Responses

  1. [esto es genial]

  2. O Heavens! That is really bad! I would love to say that in the US there is a much better system for things, but It would be a total lie. Good Luck!

  3. I have total sympathy!My car tax expires this month and I'm waiting for my reminder to pop through the letterbox. But after reading this, maybe I'll just rummage through all my papers to find my MOT, insurance certificate and goodness only knows what else… before hopping on down to the PO and queuing for six hours…because really, I have nothing better to do with my day. Last time I checked it was supposed to be the 21ST CENTURY!!! ;(

  4. What a pain in the arse, you really can't tax a horsebox online? Ridiculous. The govt wants to have ID cards holding all our info electronically and they can't even come up with a decent system of re-taxing a vehicle that doesn't rely on silly bits of paper.

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