I RESPONDED to a tweet from Batch, in which he asked for questions to pose to the chief executive of the DVLA, whom he was about to interview for a feature for the September edition of Car Dealer magazine.
‘When will cherished transfers become automated?’ was my immediate question. This tweet was soon piggy-backed by the good people at Stan Palmer Honda, who share my frustration over the issue.
No external supplier to our business causes me more aggravation than the DVLA.
Some would argue that the DVLA is a public service and therefore exempt from the criticisms that you would have of a bodyshop, or IT supplier, but I disagree.
A quick trip to the DVLA auction website tells me there are eight auctions this year, in addition to the thousands of cherished numbers marketed online as we speak.
These plates are not cheap and, in my opinion, as soon as a public entity becomes commercial in this way, it is accountable for the service it provides.
We are not the customer in this regard, but like many dealerships, we offer to assist customers with the administration of their number plates, partly because of our own selfish need to retain V5s, but also as it is more or less expected of us.
When, therefore, it takes weeks to process transfer paperwork at Swansea, we assume proxy responsibility and the customer then starts complaining to us about the service we are providing.
This is not acceptable, but you cannot tell a customer this, as it looks like we are passing the buck.
You cannot tell me that in a time when the DVLA knows if a car is insured, taxed and has an MoT it is not possible for a customer or dealer to enter some individual numbers into a secure website to complete an instant transfer of a registration number. A fee of £105 for a retention, or £80 for a transfer, offers no value to anyone other than the DVLA, but I for one would be happy to pay it if we had no further customer issues.