Taxing Bastards 2

The driving licence trap: 1.6m drivers at risk of £1,000 fine for not renewing photo at £20 a time
Over 1.6million drivers could be at risk of a £1,000 fine because the photograph on their driving licence has expired, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Sainsbury’s car insurance discovered that many motorists are at risk of a hefty fine because they may not be aware that a photograph on their driving licence needs to be updated every ten years at a cost of £20, as set out by the DVLA. Those with old-style paper licences are not affected.
I blogged about this back in November when I got a letter from the DVLA telling me I was required to pay them twenty pounds for an updated picture they want me to have on a document they insist I carry if I want to drive on the roads we pay for. I didn't actually spot the threat of a £1000 fine until The Boiling Frog pointed it out in the comments.

So like the dutiful little citizen that I am, I filled in the form and enclosed my cheque for £20.
As well as 1.6million drivers’ photographs that have expired, a further 2.9million must be renewed by the end of 2012 - and over the next five years, almost 13million drivers must renew their photograph to abide by the law.
That's a lot of cheques. keerrchiing! On my original post, a few people said they still had the paper licences and didn't need to worry. I am quite jealous of those folks but there was no way I could hold onto mine. Living by my one rule, do no harm, I have to periodically hand in my licence to have a few points put on it.

Anyway, in mid December, after my licence had expired, I got the whole package returned in the post. It seems I hadn't written 'DVLA Swansea' in the payee box on the cheque. They could have filled in that bit themselves but I suppose it's some kind of anti fraud thing. That or they are just being cu oh hi mum.

So I corrected the cheque and sent it back. Of course they hadn't supplied a reply paid envelope, the bloody cheapskates.
Failure to update your photograph carries a £1,000 fine and can be enforced by the police under Section 99 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Then why make it so bloody difficult! (I got the whole package back again this morning). Their reason this time was:
"The photo you you supplied does not meet our standards. [...] Please supply a photo that meets the standard shown in the enclosed information leaflet"
Why did they not check this before they sent it back the first time? I checked my picture against the information leaflet and it meets the standard perfectly fine as far as I can tell, so two can play at being awkward buggers. I'm sending it all back tomorrow with the following letter enclosed:

"Dear DVLA,

Please find enclosed my application*, returned unaltered.
As far as I can tell from your information leaflet, my photo does indeed meet the required standard.
Please process my application* or give me an actual reason why you believe the photo does not meet the standard so I know what to do to correct the problem.
If you should return my application* again, please do me the courtesy of checking for any other errors first so we don't have to repeat this process a fourth time.

Bucko The Moose

*Let's be honest, this isn't an application, it's a response to a demand for money with menaces.
I could keep this going for ever; stamps aren't that expensive and it's worth it for giving them the hassle. If they do return the application, which they probably will, I might correct the photo but put a new cheque in without the signature, or something. Or not.
A further 10million people do not know when their licence expires and 14 per cent of expired photo card licences have been out-of-date since 2009 or before.
If that many people can have an expired licence for so long, the threat of a £1000 fine can't have many teeth.

Time will tell


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