Friday, 12 March 2010

Seems like I have a fight on my hands

Some of you may remember "Puff the magic dragon" the Peugeot 106 diesel we had before " Duran Duran" Well quite some time ago we sold it for spares because the engine had blown we diligently sent off the V5 to the DVLA to register the change of ownership and thought that was the last we saw of it....

Oh No... it's never that easy is it ?

Several months later we got a Late Licensing Penalty off the DVLA £40 at first then rising to £80... They stated they hadn't received the change of ownership (V5) So we sent off a photocopy of the original document and on the 9th February 2010 we got our acknowledgement letter stating we were no longer the keeper of the vehicle.... Thinking "there that's it.... it's sorted" we forgot about it.....we've just received a Final Reminder stating that ... and I quote

We have to pay £80 NOW !!! or

1) Your vehicle could be clamped, which would incur further charges

2) Your vehicle can be removed and may be destroyed, should you fail to pay the costs to remove the clamp

3) You could be subject to a county court judgement which will seriously affect your ability to gain credit in the future.

4) The debt can be passed to a debt recovery agency

All frightening stuff eh ? except.....

1) We don't have the vehicle any more and couldn't tell them where it is

2) They are going to find it hard to remove a vehicle they couldn't find to clamp, therefore
destroying it except by laser beam from a military satellite is about their only option

3) before you can be given a county court judgement you have to go to court and be proven guilty of an offence not as they are assuming that you're guilty until proven innocent....

4) They say debt but that hasn't been proven in a court as of yet, it's just a penalty at the moment and one given on very shaky ground

The thing is the DVLA cannot and is not able to under law (yet) able to issue a fine only a County Court can do that, they can issue penalties but that is a civil matter not criminal.... They seem to forget the Interpretation Act 1978 which states

"References to services by post

Where an Act authorises or requires any document to be served by post (whether the expression “serve” or the expression “give” or “send” or any other expression is used) then, unless the contrary intention appears, the service is deemed to be effected by properly addressing, pre-paying and posting a letter containing the document and, unless the contrary is proved, to have been effected at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post."

The service in question is SORN'ing or Change of Ownership via surrender of your "notifying" falls under "or any other expression used" and therefore unless the contrary intention appears the DVLA will have to prove that I didn't send the V5.....

So basically the act of me posting the V5 ensured that I adhered to the law, their insistence that it was my responsibility to check that they had sent an acknowledgement letter is not a requirement under current law. So the ball is firmly back in their court....

What maddens me is the fact that they know that previously the vehicle was SORN''d and they also know that the vehicle was sold and disposed of prior to any tax becoming liable or any requirement for SORN... they have now acknowledged that I'm no longer the keeper of the vehicle but ONLY since the 9th February 2010.... even though they know the new keeper has had the vehicle since it was sold many months previously.... on a point of principle I'm going to let them take me to court over this.....

Apparently I'm not in a minority on this late licensing penalty business, they sent out over a million of the things last year ....and it all hangs on whether you get the acknowledgement letter or not..... so if they send it and you don't receive it, or you send your V5 and it never gets there or you simply forget about it after sending your V5.... You can be sure you'll get a late licensing penalty at some point.... The wonders of an automatic database mailing penalties out to law abiding citizens eh ? lets face it if somebody isn't bothered about taxing a vehicle then they aren't bothered about insuring it either and the fact that DVLA send out penalties will simply be laughed at by them.... so no ....this late licensing penalty scam they are running is nothing more than a stealth tax, They've admitted that they lose 1 in every 5 documents for SORN or V5 change of ownership.... that's a bit worrying isn't it ?

it's raised a lot of tax if you multiply that by £40 or £80 a pop.... the thing is I'm not the kind of person to take something lying down, if just rolled over like they are expecting me to and pay the £80 penalty it's admitting I did something wrong.... when I haven't... I should imagine a lot of people just pay it to avoid the hassle... again... that's not my style

I'll keep you posted as to what happens

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