Thousands of motorists around the country are having their vehicles clamped, towed and fined after being caught out by changes in the rules concerning car tax.
While most drivers are now aware that the old paper tax disc is no longer required, some are still unaware that car tax is automatically cancelled if a car changes ownership.
Previously, anyone selling used cars could include the tax, however, when a used car is sold, the tax is considered void and the buyer must re-tax it, even if it has a valid disc in the window.
Used cars need to be re-taxed
The loophole has been attributed to a massive upsurge in clampings by the DVLA, which have swelled dramatically since October, when the agency officially announced the end of the paper disc.
Prior to the changes, the DVLA was clamping approximately 5,000 vehicles a month, but this has risen to more than 8,000 since, with fines of as much as £800 also issued.
The DVLA, which recently came under fire after it was caught selling driver’s personal details to parking companies, says that it has tried to make people as aware of the changes as possible.
However, despite this, plenty of drivers have unwittingly found their cars clamped or towed after being given a car by a friend or relative, or even by swapping cars within a family.
What’s more, those who are caught out have no right to appeal to an independent body, and are simply forced to foot the bill by themselves.
String of DVLA errors
On top of this, a string of administrative errors has also irked drivers since the rule change late last year, with one driver having his car clamped after buying his wife’s Motability vehicle after her death.
Having went to his local post office, filled in the forms and paid for a full year’s tax by himself, the DVLA cancelled the payment due to an admin issue, which then resulted in the car being clamped.
However, a spokesman for the DVLA defended the organisation, saying: “We continue to operate a comprehensive package of measures which make vehicle tax easy to pay but hard to avoid.
“We know that the vast majority of motorists continue to tax their vehicles on time with over 23 million drivers taxing their vehicles since 1 October 2014.”
“Easy to pay but hard to avoid”
They added: “The changes have been widely publicised and we write to every vehicle keeper to remind them of the new rules before the vehicle tax expires.
“We also write to every new vehicle keeper when they buy a used vehicle to inform them that they must tax the vehicle before they use it.”
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