SCAMMERS have been trying to cash in on the Northern Ireland MOT testing centres chaos.
As reported by Car Dealer, tests for cars and light vehicles were suspended on January 27 after concerns about lift equipment.
Cracks in vehicle lifts were first detected in November but the problem rapidly escalated at the beginning of the year, and the Driver and Vehicle Agency subsequently suspended tests at its 15 centres – the only places in Northern Ireland where MOT tests can be carried out.
Cars are due their first MOT there after four years and taxis from when they are first used.
Replacement lifts are gradually being brought in to clear the backlog, with owners of cars and light vehicles that are five years old or more being given temporary exemption certificates, and younger cars and taxis being prioritised for tests.
With the suspension continuing for most vehicles, it has emerged that text messages are being sent urging recipients to click on a link to be refunded for cancelled MOT tests.
However, government services website nidirect.gov.uk is telling people they are a scam, saying ‘the DVA is not currently issuing text messages about refunds. DVA is currently only issuing texts as reminders to book MOTs, to call the priority contact line or attend for a test’.
It warns: ‘Do not use direct links from an unprompted message you have received.’ The website adds that anyone who has doubts about a text message should check it against information that is available on the page and use the contact details on nidirect.gov.uk
Back in January, new infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon – pictured at the Balmoral MOT centre in Belfast, where two replacement lifts have been put in – ordered two independent reviews into the lifts situation.
At the time, she said: ‘I am very clear that this situation is not acceptable. I took up the post two weeks ago and I have inherited this mess.
‘The first review will be conducted by independent professional auditors – I want to understand exactly what happened here, who knew what, when and what action was taken and the timelines involved.
‘The second review, I have asked that an independent expert is appointed who can provide me with independent advice about the steps that now must be taken to ensure that we can get back to business as usual and safely in our MOT centres across Northern Ireland.’