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  • FIRST POST
    • jh2017fc
    • By jh2017fc 6th Dec 17, 9:37 PM
    • 12Posts
    • 1Thanks
    jh2017fc
    DVLA Unlicensed Vehicle £160 Surety - Refusal to Refund
    • #1
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:37 PM
    DVLA Unlicensed Vehicle £160 Surety - Refusal to Refund 6th Dec 17 at 9:37 PM
    My vehicle was clamped for being unlicensed recently - my fault. I paid £100 to get it unclamped and £160 as surety so as to go and get it taxed. The £160 would then be returned to me by the clampers, Redcorn Ltd, if I did so within 15 days.

    The car needed an MOT so it had to go in for some work first. Then it got its MOT - the the 15th day!! I phoned DVLA to tax the car and was told they could not "see" my new MOT on their system, so I should go to a Post Office armed with the paper version of my new MOT and pay my tax and get a receipt, and then I would get my £160 refunded.

    But no - this took place at around 5pm on the 15th day, and Redcorn Ltd close down their telephone lines at precisely 5pm everyday, without fail, with a short clear recorded message to say to call back next day - no Voicemail, no leave a message.

    I spoke to DVLA again that same day about this conundrum - I explained that I had now taxed my vehicle but could not notify the clampers who took the £160 surety because they close down their telephone system at 5pm each day (Monday to Friday).

    DVLA told me that as long as I had my printed reciept showing I taxed the vehicle on the 15th day then I could ring the clampers, Redcorn Ltd, the next day and they would issue the surety refund.

    I did this but Redcorn refused. They said they need a confirmation in writing from the DVLA that this was okay with them. I phoned the DVLA again and they declined to do this, saying they did not enter into communication with their contractors on this sort of matter. They said Redcorn took the surety money directly from me. Redcorn held the money. It was downm to Redcorn to return it to me.

    I phoned Redcorn again and this time they demanded I write via e-mail setting out my case. So I did - via e-mail. They did not respond. I telephoned Redcorn again to check they'd received my e-mail, and they told me they would respond "within 48 hours" of receiving any e-mail. They did not. After 4 days' waiting, I telephoned Redcorn again. They said they had received my e-mail and they had sent me an e-mail response but that it had "bounced back to them". Asked by me why they did not then either try again or try to contact me by other means, they gave no response. They would therefore seem to be in breach of their protocol of responding to complaints/requests/appeals etc within 48 hours. If they know their e-mail response was bouned back they know they have no responded surely?

    They did tell me that their bounced e-mail had said they reject my request for refund of the £160 surety because I was "too late". They did not accept that the closure of their telephone line was effectively blocking my chance to tell them about the tax on my vehicle.

    They told me to leave them alone and suggested no remedy. I am planning to write formally to the DVLA wheelclamper complaints service.

    Is there anything else I can do? This must have happened to someone else. Redcorn kept asking me why I had left it to the 15th day, and I explained the car needed work done so it could get through an MOT and THEN and only then could I tax it, and anyway, they told me I had 15 days, so I took 15 days. The fact they shut down at 5pm but don't stipulate that you must tell them BY 5pm on the 15th Day seems to me where they are at fault.

    Please can anyone advise?
Page 1
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 6th Dec 17, 10:12 PM
    • 758 Posts
    • 269 Thanks
    sevenhills
    • #2
    • 6th Dec 17, 10:12 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Dec 17, 10:12 PM
    I think you are down £160, you did not get back to them in 15 days, many companies close at 5pm, its not unusual.

    • n217970
    • By n217970 6th Dec 17, 10:28 PM
    • 242 Posts
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    n217970
    • #3
    • 6th Dec 17, 10:28 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Dec 17, 10:28 PM
    my fault
    Originally posted by jh2017fc
    Exactly.

    The car needed an MOT so it had to go in for some work first. Then it got its MOT - the the 15th day!!
    Originally posted by jh2017fc
    So it wasn't road worthy to begin with. Think yourself lucky your were not in an accident. You had no tax or MOT and you left it until slightly after 5pm on the last day to resolve, your organisation is crap. £160 is cheap for a lesson well learned.
    • Tilt
    • By Tilt 6th Dec 17, 11:10 PM
    • 3,484 Posts
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    Tilt
    • #4
    • 6th Dec 17, 11:10 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Dec 17, 11:10 PM
    When did the last MOT expire?
    PLEASE NOTE
    My advice should be used as guidance only. You should always obtain face to face professional advice before taking any action.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 6th Dec 17, 11:20 PM
    • 1,204 Posts
    • 1,501 Thanks
    Aylesbury Duck
    • #5
    • 6th Dec 17, 11:20 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Dec 17, 11:20 PM
    I'm with the others. A lesson learned for your disorganisation on two occasions. An MOT shouldn't be a substitute for keeping on top of the roadworthiness of your car. You failed to do that and failed to remember to tax it.
    • arcon5
    • By arcon5 7th Dec 17, 6:53 AM
    • 13,197 Posts
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    arcon5
    • #6
    • 7th Dec 17, 6:53 AM
    • #6
    • 7th Dec 17, 6:53 AM
    Whether you was organised or not is irrelevant. If they stated you get it back if taxed within 15 days then you should get it back.

    Look to send then a letter before action and pursue a county court claim.

    The whole see it as an expensive lesson notion is pathetic. You already paid a penalty by that point
    • marlot
    • By marlot 7th Dec 17, 7:26 AM
    • 3,136 Posts
    • 2,278 Thanks
    marlot
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:26 AM
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:26 AM
    Sounds like you're lucky not to have been pulled over for driving an unroadworthy vehicle?

    I think you have several options.
    • Somehow launch a formal appeal within DVLA (it is their subcontractor, after all).
    • Issue a small claims case against the clampers using moneyonline (issue a Letter before action first).
    • Just chalk it up to experience and move on.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Dec 17, 8:33 AM
    • 15,745 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:33 AM
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:33 AM
    I think a few people might benefit from re-reading the OP - there's no mention that the car was in use.

    Anyway - I don't think it unrealistic that the company require notification within 15 days, or that their opening hours are typical office hours. What time on day 15 did you actually get the car taxed? Few major post offices are open particularly late.
    • Alter ego
    • By Alter ego 7th Dec 17, 8:39 AM
    • 2,194 Posts
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    Alter ego
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:39 AM
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:39 AM
    I think a few people might benefit from re-reading the OP - there's no mention that the car was in use.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    But presumably on public road.
    Ignore me if you like, it's not the real me anyway.
    • marlot
    • By marlot 7th Dec 17, 9:23 AM
    • 3,136 Posts
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    marlot
    I think a few people might benefit from re-reading the OP - there's no mention that the car was in use.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    I agree - that's why I put a question mark at the end of my comment.
    • jh2017fc
    • By jh2017fc 7th Dec 17, 11:41 AM
    • 12 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    jh2017fc
    I don't want to get dragged into a morality debate about my offence. I have accepted my guilt. I have paid £100.00 for the vehicle to be released from a wheelclamp. I have paid the £160.00 surety pending getting the vehicle taxed.

    I paid the annual vehicle license tax on the 15th day. I now must pay back-tax and a fine for having an unlicensed vehicle.

    The vehicle was parked on a road at the time of my offence, which was really really unlucky because I had just taken it out of a private garage where it had been kept off-road for several months.

    I had popped into my home with a few things from the boot of my car which I was then going to take into a local garage a few hundred feet away for the servicing and MOT. In that short 10-minutes, Bingo - I was clamped!!

    What I still feel aggrieved about is that I was told I had 15 days to get the vehicle licensed so that's what I did. I was not told that I had until 5pm of the 15th day. Oh and by the way, most Post Offices open until 5.30 pm. I paid my Licence Tax at 5.20pm - 20 minutes too late to tell the clampers, Redcorn Ltd.

    Is it normal business practice these days, in the context of being an authorised agent of the DVLA, to restrict one's business hours for communication with "customers" from 8am-5pm Monday - Friday, and NOT tell them that that means they must make contact by 5pm?

    The DVLA leaflet on "Wheelclamping and removing vehicles" states: "How to claim a refund of the surety fee - You must get Vehicle Tax within 15 days and contact the vehicle pound...after this period you will lose the surety fee. Please note: You may need to provide confirmation of Vehicle Tax."

    Thanks for the advice re: small claims court - I am wondering what law(s) I might use to argue my case that the surety should be returned - Consumer Protection?? I will send a Complaint to the DVLA's wheelclamping complaints service and I might contact someone like the BBC's You and Yours, as I really do see this as a "bit of an earner" for the wheelclampers with a blind eye being turned by the DVLA.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Dec 17, 12:31 PM
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    AdrianC
    Is it normal business practice these days, in the context of being an authorised agent of the DVLA, to restrict one's business hours for communication with "customers" from 8am-5pm Monday - Friday, and NOT tell them that that means they must make contact by 5pm?
    Originally posted by jh2017fc
    They're not unreasonable business hours - and if you google "Redcorn", the opening hours are given clearly, as well as on the "Contact us" page of their website.
    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=redcorn
    https://www.redcorn.co.uk/contact-us/

    If you leave it until the last ten minutes of a 15-day period, you really should not be surprised if problems arise.
    • Herzlos
    • By Herzlos 7th Dec 17, 12:39 PM
    • 6,090 Posts
    • 5,520 Thanks
    Herzlos
    You must get Vehicle Tax within 15 days and contact the vehicle pound...after this period you will lose the surety fee.
    Originally posted by jh2017fc
    It's unclear here if that means you have to contact the vehicle pound within the 15 days (which is reasonable), or if you can tax within the 15 days and contact later (which you did).

    One could certainly argue that 5:20pm on day 15 is really 9am on day 16 in business terms. That's how courts work, for instance.

    It might be worth getting a better look at the terms and conditions - is it 15 days or 15 working days?

    You don't have much to lose by filing a Letter Before Action demanding your £160 back, taking it to small claims court otherwise. State your case, with evidence, and hopefully they'll agree it's easier to just pay it.

    Why did it take 2 weeks to get it passed the MOT? Older less common car?
    • takman
    • By takman 7th Dec 17, 12:55 PM
    • 2,897 Posts
    • 2,407 Thanks
    takman
    I don't want to get dragged into a morality debate about my offence. I have accepted my guilt. I have paid £100.00 for the vehicle to be released from a wheelclamp. I have paid the £160.00 surety pending getting the vehicle taxed.

    I paid the annual vehicle license tax on the 15th day. I now must pay back-tax and a fine for having an unlicensed vehicle.

    The vehicle was parked on a road at the time of my offence, which was really really unlucky because I had just taken it out of a private garage where it had been kept off-road for several months.

    I had popped into my home with a few things from the boot of my car which I was then going to take into a local garage a few hundred feet away for the servicing and MOT. In that short 10-minutes, Bingo - I was clamped!!

    What I still feel aggrieved about is that I was told I had 15 days to get the vehicle licensed so that's what I did. I was not told that I had until 5pm of the 15th day. Oh and by the way, most Post Offices open until 5.30 pm. I paid my Licence Tax at 5.20pm - 20 minutes too late to tell the clampers, Redcorn Ltd.

    Is it normal business practice these days, in the context of being an authorised agent of the DVLA, to restrict one's business hours for communication with "customers" from 8am-5pm Monday - Friday, and NOT tell them that that means they must make contact by 5pm?

    The DVLA leaflet on "Wheelclamping and removing vehicles" states: "How to claim a refund of the surety fee - You must get Vehicle Tax within 15 days and contact the vehicle pound...after this period you will lose the surety fee. Please note: You may need to provide confirmation of Vehicle Tax."

    Thanks for the advice re: small claims court - I am wondering what law(s) I might use to argue my case that the surety should be returned - Consumer Protection?? I will send a Complaint to the DVLA's wheelclamping complaints service and I might contact someone like the BBC's You and Yours, as I really do see this as a "bit of an earner" for the wheelclampers with a blind eye being turned by the DVLA.
    Originally posted by jh2017fc
    Why did it take so long to put the car through MOT and get it repaired and re-MOT'd if you had already arranged it?. If the garage did the repairs and MOT themselves then it's pretty poor of them for taking so long to do it.

    Also what time of day was it clamped?. I would say you have a case if you taxed it on the 15th day before the time it was clamped. But if it was clamped before 5:20PM (which it sounds like it was) then that would have gone into the 16th day after it was clamped.
    • Joe Horner
    • By Joe Horner 7th Dec 17, 1:09 PM
    • 4,167 Posts
    • 3,669 Thanks
    Joe Horner
    The DVLA leaflet on "Wheelclamping and removing vehicles" states: "How to claim a refund of the surety fee - You must get Vehicle Tax within 15 days and contact the vehicle pound.
    Originally posted by jh2017fc
    It's unclear here if that means you have to contact the vehicle pound within the 15 days (which is reasonable), or if you can tax within the 15 days and contact later (which you did).
    Originally posted by Herzlos
    In contract disputes there's a general principle that, where wording is ambiguous, the benefit goes to the party that didn't write it.

    That wording is potentially ambiguous, and could have been made unambiguous very easily using plain English - it's not like it's explaining some obscure and convoluted idea. "You must get vehicle tax and contact the pound within 15 days" would do it if that what was meant.

    Although a DVLA leaflet isn't a contract, it is the explanatory info that they provide about what you must do, so it'd be reasonable to apply the same principle. In this case that would be the OP.

    Also, while businesses run within business hours, road tax itself runs (and normally can be bought) midnight - midnight. If there's any special restriction on when (during that midnight - midnight day) it can be bought for this purpose then it should be up to the DVLA to make that known.

    They didn't make any such restriction so it's reasonable to conclude that any road tax purchased up to midnight on the 15th day is acceptable.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Dec 17, 1:34 PM
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    AdrianC
    They didn't make any such restriction so it's reasonable to conclude that any road tax purchased up to midnight on the 15th day is acceptable.
    Originally posted by Joe Horner
    Which is lovely, but the surety has been lost for failing to notify the impounders within 15 days - and the OP didn't do that.

    On a side issue, the only online copy of the INF32 leaflet I can find says...
    "How to claim a refund of the surety fee
    Produce a valid tax disc to either the vehicle pound or a DVLA local office, within 14 days of the vehicleís release. After this period, you will lose the surety fee."


    The wording is clear there that the notification must be within the time period, not the purchase.

    But more interesting is that it's 14 days, not 15. Now, this might have changed - this is an older leaflet (dated 6/11, and referring to tax discs) and not on a gov.uk site, but it would be a strange change to extend by ONE day from precisely two weeks to 15 days.
    http://www.driveall.co.uk/files/5113/6897/5727/inf_32.pdf

    Also - if you go to the gov.uk site, and follow the link to start releasing the car, it takes you to...
    https://www.cartaxenforcement.co.uk/
    This also refers to 14 days, but the wording is less clear as to whether it's the purchase or notification.
    "You must get Vehicle Tax within 14 days and contact the vehicle pound on 0843 224 1999Ü. After this period, you will lose the surety fee"
    Last edited by AdrianC; 07-12-2017 at 1:36 PM.
    • Joe Horner
    • By Joe Horner 7th Dec 17, 1:50 PM
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    Joe Horner
    Which is lovely, but the surety has been lost for failing to notify the impounders within 15 days - and the OP didn't do that.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Agreed that's what's happened, but whether that's OK or not depends on the wording of the information supplied to the OP 9- I assume it would have been by leaflet given at the time of seizure rather thah leaving him to hunt round online for whatever version he can find!

    If it's exactly as he's quoted above then a court should still read that in the OP's favour as "obtain tax within 15 days, then contact the pound for the refund (within reason) at an unspecified time". That's how the plain English reading of that wording would go, and it's also the most beneficial to the OP.

    If the current wording isn't exactly as he's quoted (in quotes...) then all bets are off without seeing the actual wording!

    FWIW my best guestimate for the change to 15 days is that the intent was to have the tax bought within 14 (up to midnight) as before, with the 15th day allowed for contacting the pound if you'd bought the tax "out of hours".

    But that's not what the quote says and in court they don't get a chance to say "what we really meant was...." if there's a plain English reading that the OP might (reasonably) have made.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 7th Dec 17, 1:59 PM
    • 1,756 Posts
    • 1,202 Thanks
    Tarambor
    I think a few people might benefit from re-reading the OP - there's no mention that the car was in use.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    It was on the road. Therefore it is in use.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Dec 17, 2:14 PM
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    AdrianC
    Agreed that's what's happened, but whether that's OK or not depends on the wording of the information supplied to the OP 9- I assume it would have been by leaflet given at the time of seizure rather thah leaving him to hunt round online for whatever version he can find!
    Originally posted by Joe Horner
    Oh, absolutely. But without knowing exactly what it says, we can only go on what we do have access to. OP - any chance of a verbatim quote, ideally a scan/photo?
    • custardy
    • By custardy 7th Dec 17, 2:17 PM
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    custardy
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