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DVLA criticised over tax disc changes

With just a week to go until new rules governing vehicle excise duty (road tax) begin, Auto Trader has criticised the DVLA for “poor communication”.

From 1 October, neither motorcycle dealers nor private owners will be allowed to sell the unexpired portion of road tax with a used vehicle. The seller will receive a refund from DVLA and the responsibility to tax anew will fall squarely with the new owner, in a process that will take place either online, over the phone or in the nearest Post Office.

However, Auto Trader says that according to recent surveys, up to half of the population is still in the dark about the changes. And Auto Trader has today warned DVLA about the detrimental effect that lack of proper engagement will have on those who buy and sell cars.

“This is a very significant change to the way road tax will be administered by DVLA and the message from our 12,000 retail customers is that the communication has been, at best, low key,” said Sharon Randall, Auto Trader sales director, pictured. “The changes affect 30 million motorists and if half are unaware that new rules are imminent, then we have a big problem. There is a real risk that transactions could be delayed and that dealers will be in the firing line when it comes to the consumer backlash.”

Many dealers have also expressed concern that they will no longer be able to sell a vehicle with what amounted to a significant benefit for the buyer.

As part of the changes, motorcycles for sale on dealer forecourts will not have to be taxed. However, if taken on public roads – for example for a test drive – trade plates will have to be used.

Although it’s the buyer’s responsibility to tax the bike, a dealer can manage the process on their behalf by using the buyer’s name and address. This can be done through the online application process at or by calling 0300 123 4321, or by paying at the local post office, using the 16 digit reference number from the vehicle’s V11 tax disc renewal letter or by the 11 digit reference from the car’s V5C form.

A  DVLA spokeswoman said: “All the evidence is that this has been one of the most successful low-cost campaigns in the UK this year. Our much more recent survey conducted last week shows that 87% of our customers are aware of what the changes mean for them when the tax disc is abolished from 1 October, with 79% confirming that they had all the information they needed.

“But we’re never complacent. We keep working hard to ensure that motorists are aware that the tax disc will be abolished from 1 October. This includes regularly publishing up to date information on GOV.UK, messages to motorists on tax reminder envelopes, and partnerships with stakeholders.  Information is included on the tax reminder sent to every motorist before their tax runs out explaining the changes and what they need to do. We have worked extensively with Auto Trader and 6000 other stakeholders to help get the message out.”


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