A second letter to the DVLA, who ignored the first.


Eight months ago I moved house and, as I needed to change my address with the DVLA, I went with the ‘do it online’ option, following the process through right up until the point where it left me back at square one, forcing me to do make the request on paper in the traditional method. I put a rather petulant note in with my address change request, pointing out that your system had let me down and cost me time I could ill afford to lose. Petulant it my have been, but excusably so I think, given the stress that moving house causes, added to in no small part by the shortcomings of your system.

As luck would have it, I find myself to be in the position of moving house yet again, but in spite of the short period of time which had elapsed since the last move, I had forgotten quite how bad your online system was, and like a mouse leaping towards a piece of cheese which has already broken its tiny spinal cord, I once again sat down to ‘do it online’.

Since my petulant note was roundly ignored eight months ago, I am sending this polite email to a) inform you that the problems remain and to relate them to you as specifically as I can and b) request that some kind of action is taken to make sure that, when I next move house, I will not be subjected to the same risk to my blood pressure. (Some kind of apology, or failing that even an acknowledgement that I have bothered to write to you, might be nice as well.)

1. To change my address online I am required to log on with my Government Gateway details. In spite of the fact that I file a tax return on an annual basis using the same username and password, these seem not to be recognised by the system which tells me I must ‘register first’.

2. There follows a laborious process of registration, including the past three years’ worth of addresses, after which your website tells me ‘you have already registered!’. The cheery exclamation mark implies that I am somehow ridiculous for having gone through this silly process, even though I wasn’t given the option to do otherwise and was perfectly well aware that I had already registered. Never mind, I think; what’s done is done, and I’m surely nearing the end now.

3. I am indeed nearing the end. A couple more pieces of information and the next page informs me, without giving any reason at all, that the system is not able to acknowledge my change of address and ‘none of the information you have entered has been saved’.

The levels and number of ways in which this system has failed me are, I think, perfectly obvious, perhaps the most annoying being that it gives me no reasons for what has happened and no option other than to start again (a trap which I fell into eight months ago, there being nothing to suggest that it was necessarily the system, as opposed to my information, which was fundamentally flawed).

For pity’s sake, if you can’t fix your online system at least put up a warning in big letter that it is quicker (and it is, I think probably even for those lucky people who get through the entire assault course, still quicker) to fill in the green counterpart on the paper part of the licence and post it?

Yours sincerely,

James Lark

P.S. If your ‘contact us’ page has a ten minute timeout, it is also polite to inform people of that fact before, rather than after, they have pressed ‘next’. Don’t worry though – I know your website well enough by now to have anticipated such inconsiderate technical shortcomings and made sure my missive was saved and preserved in all manner of formats before taking the plunge.

P.P.S. Oh my bloody lord. You have limited your comments box to 1200 characters. Why on earth would you do such a thing? Does eloquence mean nothing to you? Or are you worried (perhaps justifiably) that if you let people have as many characters as they want they will email their problems at the full length warranted by their size?!! I fear I am veering towards petulance again as I ask what kind of CRETIN built your bloody website in the first place??? But I suppose it hardly matters since YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO READ THIS thanks to the inbuilt safeguards against lengthy sarcasm your website seems – I suspect inadvertently, since the rest of it is so clueless – to contain.

I’m going to fucking blog it instead, so at least somebody sees it.

3 thoughts on “A second letter to the DVLA, who ignored the first.

  1. You’ll be pleased to know that in 2014 the DVLA’s website is still ‘not fit for purpose’.

    On Monday night I sat down with my laptop, photocard and counterpart licences, thinking that I’d be able to amend my address details in a brace of shakes. Apparently not.

    Having answered myriad questions and entered reams of information, I was asked to enter both the photocard and counterpart licence numbers printed on my documents. Simple, you would have thought. Not so, I discovered.

    For reasons I have yet to fathom, the website failed to recognise the details from either document. After trying three times, the website blithely told me that as I wasn’t in possession of my licence documents, I’d have to send them £20 in order to be issued with replacements. What utter hogwash! There I was, sitting with both licences in my hand, only to be told that I was lying and that I didn’t have them at all.

    Naturally I could have plumped for the postal option and filled in the relevant section on the counterpart licence, returning it to the DVLA together with the photocard. But I refused to rollover and let this matter lie. I have therefore complained to the DVLA (using their inadequate online contact method) to bring these matters to their attention, including photographs of the documents that I apparently don’t have.

    I await their response with interest…


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