More than three-quarters (76%) of enquiries about road tax changes were answered incorrectly by the DVLA in a recent investigation.
Fleet News’s sister publication Parker’s made 100 enquiries by telephone and email to the DVLA’s Swansea call centre, posing as members of the public, following a tip-off about misleading information being supplied to a reader.
It found that three out of four enquiries were answered incorrectly, suggesting a lack of training by the department of its frontline employees.
Parker’s picked 100 of the cars most affected by the upcoming changes to vehicle excise duty (VED) – those registered between March 2001 and March 2006, and producing more than 225g/km of CO2 – to see if staff knew the cars would move into Band K next year and pay £300 in road tax before being liable for a £430 or £455 charge in 2010.
The biggest area of confusion surrounded what will happen in 2010.
Cars that emit more than 200g/km of CO2, registered between March 2001 and March 2006, will move from Band F to Band K, meaning owners will pay £90 more VED.
But most of the call centre staff were unaware of this and instead placed the cars into bands L or M – the bands they will be in from 2010.
They advised that the cost would be £415 or £440, rather than the real figure of £300.
Parker’s was told by one customer service adviser: “This year road tax might not even go up. But it may go up. But I don’t know how much it’ll go up by.”
Another said that a year’s road tax in 2009 would be £445 – a rate that does not exist.
After the 100 enquiries, the DVLA had made mistakes that averaged £104.44 per enquiry.
A spokesmen said: “The agency apologises for the confusion caused in our responses regarding the VED rates in 2009. DVLA has taken steps to ensure that we are now giving out correct and consistent information.”
- For more information, go to www.parkers.co.uk