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DVLA - SORN Notice
downes86
post Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 11:31
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Hi,

This is my first time posting on this site and I would be really grateful for some advice. The situation is as follows and my Step Dad is extremely shocked and worried about this as he has always abided by the law and done everything by the book:

As a retired builder, his van has been sitting on the drive gathering dust for about 2 years now. He had declared it as SORN as he was not using it and had now decided to sell it. To do that, he had to get an MOT on the van in order to be able to get the car back on the road, taxed and insured.

He called his local mechanic and they confirmed that they were permitted to collect the van from the drive and carry out the MOT on it. My Step Dad collected the mechanic from the garage at approximately 13:15 on 17.09.13 in order that he could drive the van to his garage for its scheduled MOT as he is insured to drive any vehicle, being a mechanic and that it is legally allowed for a car to be on the road when on a SORN notice to allow the MOT to be carried out. Approximately 20 minutes later (13:36), my Step Dad received a phone call from the receptionist, informing him that the van was about to be clamped, so he immediately drove around to see what was happening.

It transpires that when the mechanic got to the garage, he got out of the van to see where the current car being MOT’d was up to, and within that time frame, a man had pulled up, got out of his car and was holding a clamp in his hand ready to clamp the van.

The mechanic questioned what he was doing, and explained he was bringing the van in for an MOT, but the man informed him it was too late and he was clamping the van anyway. As my Step Dad arrived at the garage, the van had been clamped but the man was still present, he was quite smug, telling my Step Dad that the only way to unclamp the vehicle would be to pay the £260 fine.

Upon calling to pay the fine, he was told that he can re-claim the £160 but that the £100 fine would remain in place. The fine was paid however given the circumstances, is there any way to appeal this if at all possible, and claim back the full amount given all procedures had been followed correctly by the owner of the van. On 18.09.13, after taxing the vehicle, he went to Queensferry to produce the tax disc to get the 'surety' of £160 back, to which they said would be back in his bank account within 5-7 working days. It has still not appeared in to the account. After persistently chasing this up, he finally received a call yesterday which resulted in an apology and they have now said that it will be in his account within the next 5 working days. As a further note, my Step Dad noted that they were wearing DVLA uniforms and was not made aware of any additional fines to be paid and any correspondence on the email receipt it states for any queries contact dvla.

This morning (28.09.13) my Step Dad received a £475 fine in the post from the DVLA. He has been told he has to pay this by 11.10.13 or face a £1,000 fine. This has really shook him up as he had no idea that an additional fine would be payable given the extortionate fee of the clamping but also given that he could prove the van was being MOT'd and that he had subsequently on 18.09.13 insured the vehicle and taxed it for 6 months, back dated to the beginning of September 2013 using my log book as the tax notice I had received would have meant I could only tax the vehicle starting from October 2013 as that is when the SORN notice was due to expire.

Given the situation and circumstances, any advice on how to deal with this situation and appeal the fine and the clamping fine would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Christine
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post Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 11:31
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timbstoke
post Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 11:46
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Presumably the mechanic had parked the vehicle on a public road while he checked the status. That being the case, it seems to me that he should be the one liable for any fees incurred by his actions, not your stepfather. He's paid now, but it seems the appropriate response on receiving that call should have been "It's in your care - if you've incurred fees by parking/using it illegally, they're your responsibility".

As for the DVLA letter, someone will be along with better advice than me before too long, but I would expect that your approach would be to write to them explaining the situation, pointing out that the vehicle was in the care of the garage at the time, and see what they say. Worst case scenario, it goes to court, and a magistrate would have to be having a very bad day to find your stepfather guilty in the circumstances.

This post has been edited by timbstoke: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 11:47
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StuartBu
post Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 12:20
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It really does show the depths we have sunk to in this country when such a situation can arise like this but I'd agree that the mechanic would be morally responsible if not legally so.
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Pete D
post Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 13:25
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Did the step-dad renew the Sorn notice. They only last 1 year at the moment. So taking the vehicle on the road with no tax and no Sorn is the problem. Pete D
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StuartBu
post Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 13:49
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QUOTE (Pete D @ Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 14:25) *
Did the step-dad renew the Sorn notice. They only last 1 year at the moment. So taking the vehicle on the road with no tax and no Sorn is the problem. Pete D

If the mot was pre booked would having no Tax matter ...i understood that was allowed. Not sure what rules re Sorn and pre booked mots are. And then there is insurance of course... A trailer would have saved all this but not much help now.
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Pete D
post Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 14:59
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No tax going to a pre booked MOT no problem as long as the vehicle is SORN. No Sorn then the penalty applies and back tax is due. Pete D
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andy_foster
post Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 15:21
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Johnxxx
post Sun, 29 Sep 2013 - 04:26
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QUOTE (andy_foster @ Sat, 28 Sep 2013 - 16:21) *
Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance.
You have to be of a certain age to understand the context of this remark. Unfortunately, I am.

However, getting back to the OPs situation - has he been accused of failing to tax / insure or failing to (re) SORN ?
Can someone pin-point the legislation that deals with being allowed to drive an untaxed or SORNed vehicle to a pre-booked MOT ?
Regarding insurance - the vehicle should have been covered by the mechanic's / garage's trade policy while in their care, whether parked on the road or not. It seems a bit of a coincidence that the clamper just happened to be there at the same time that the untaxed / unsorned vehicle turned up - maybe he sits there all day waiting for such things, or maybe the garage tipped him off ?
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downes86
post Sun, 29 Sep 2013 - 14:26
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Hi, thanks for the replies.

Just to clarify - the car was SORN, my step dad recently received the notice to renew, I believe at the end of October but as he had decided to sell the van, he sought advice from the mechanic on how to get the van back on the road. The mehanic confirmed he is insured to drive the vehicle and could legally drive it to have its scheduled MOT. The mechanic did leave the van unattended on the road, over the drive to the garage, presumably to move an existing car or something out of he way.

My step dad gets quite flustered by things, hence why I am trying to see what options there are for resolving this.

It was extremely coincidental that the clamper turned up within the short timeframe. My initial instinct is perhaps they placed a sensor on the van? But surely that is illegal.

He has used the same mechanic for many years, along with my husband and I.

We will be calling the DVLA tomorrow to explain the situation and hopefully we will get a real person.

We can prove that the car was pre booked, I am fairly certain the mehanic will be willing to show the diary, we will be asking of he has cctv also and as the van was immediately taxed and insured, I think this proves he has been treated extremely unfairly.

Any further feedback/assistance would be appreciated in the meantime.
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mrh3369
post Sun, 29 Sep 2013 - 14:37
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If you seriously think they placed a sensor in the van you are quite probably delusional, anpr would be more likely, as the vehicle was in the custody of the garage they should deal with this mess.


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downes86
post Mon, 30 Sep 2013 - 07:48
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I made the last comment about having some kind of sensor placed on the van in jest, however it did seem extremely quick and unlucky that they turned up so quickly. The guy parked his car in the middle of the road apparently to stop the van from being moved in to the garage and blocking any other traffic.

Waiting for the DVLA to open at 9am.
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paulajayne
post Mon, 30 Sep 2013 - 08:00
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"Just to clarify - the car was SORN, my step dad recently received the notice to renew, I believe at the end of October but as he had decided to sell the van, he sought advice from the mechanic on how to get the van back on the road"

Sounds like he did not renew the sorn as required.
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NeverMind
post Mon, 30 Sep 2013 - 09:23
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QUOTE (paulajayne @ Mon, 30 Sep 2013 - 09:00) *
Sounds like he did not renew the sorn as required.


Eh? But it's still only September?
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David_R
post Mon, 30 Sep 2013 - 09:24
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It's worth pointing out at this point:

The moment the Garage mechanic parked the van on the public highway and then left the driver's seat, he left an uninsured (and, it would seem un-taxed and un-sorn'd) vehicle on the highway. His trader's insurance will 99% likely ONLY be valid if the insured driver is in the driver's seat. The allowance in law (AFAIK) also only allows a vehicle to be driven to a pre-booked MOT, it does not allow the vehicle to be parked and left unattended during that journey.

Most garages have a large enough forecourt that it's not an issue. If this garage had no off-street parking, and they knew they were bringing in an uninsured and untaxed vehicle, they should have made space for it to be driven directly onto private land (into the garage).

I would suggest pushing the garage a little harder to accept liability for what they have done when the vehicle was in their mechanic's charge.

When was the date of liability of the SORN declaration? You can shove the registration plate into the DVLA website to find out if you don't have the paperwork to hand.
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AFCNEAL
post Mon, 30 Sep 2013 - 11:41
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I wonder if the mechanic left the van parked for longer than he claims so it was parked on a public road, maybe a disgruntled local complained?


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sgtdixie
post Mon, 30 Sep 2013 - 12:54
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QUOTE (AFCNEAL @ Mon, 30 Sep 2013 - 12:41) *
I wonder if the mechanic left the van parked for longer than he claims so it was parked on a public road, maybe a disgruntled local complained?

That is a more realistic scenario than a DVLA clamper arriving within 2 minutes of parking up. I can see why the mechanic may lie to avoid liability. Even if the fine turns out to be perfectly legal I think the OP has a good civil case against the garage to recover his costs as fault lies wholly with the company.
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