With a great deal of bloody difficulty, that’s how!
What follows is pretty much what I’ve said to the DVLA this afternoon. Do I expect to make a difference? Yeah, right…
As regular readers will know, I’ve just bought a Class 3 mobility scooter. If you, too, have bought a Class 3 mobility scooter or powerchair, you are, as I am, legally obliged to register it with the DVLA (see here). To do this, you need a Declaration of Vehicle Newness (supplied by the manufacturer or importer – in theory), and form V55/4 – the same form as for a new car. Where do you get one? From your “local” DVLA office. That’s in quotes because they have a very strange concept of “local”. My allegedly local office is in sodding Chester! It might as well be on the moon – the chances of my being able to get there are about the same.
When someone buys a new car they hand over their money and get, in exchange, a taxed and registered car. They do not get involved in the registration process at all. It’s as simple and painless – from the buyer’s point of view, as it possibly can be. Why, compared to car drivers, are we second-class citizens?
When we buy Class 3 machines what help do we get? Bugger all, that’s what. Not only is the onus on us to register our machines, it’s also our problem to secure the appropriate paperwork. Why should that be? In a sane universe, the Declaration of Newness should be with the machines when they leave the factory, along with a V55/4. That or the onus should be on the dealer to ensure the paperwork is provided. Nothing less is acceptable. It should not be the responsibility of the buyer to have to chase up the goddamned forms. Any more than it is the responsibility of a car buyer.
Oh, and you can no longer email the DVLA, you have to fill in an online form, having first selected the nature of your enquiry from a menu. That menu mentions Class 3 vehicle registration not at all. Why am I not surprised?
Nevertheless, I have just used it to ask them to send me a V55/4, and asking them what documentation they will accept in lieu of a Declaration of Newness (the answer, nothing), which I can’t get (and frankly have no interest in chasing – I shouldn’t have to)*. As, however, my category of enquiry doesn’t exist in their new, “improved” system, I’m not hopeful.
*I did manage to get one.
Utterly pointless though registration of Class 3 mobility machines is, the compulsory provision, to the buyer, of V55/4 forms, and Declarations of Vehicle Newness, with new machines is long overdue. After all, at the risk of flogging this to death, car drivers don’t find themselves with the hassle of having to register their new cars for the first time, so why make it so difficult for disabled people, who already have enough to contend with? At least give us the bloody paperwork. That’s a start…
If the DVLA require people to comply with a law which is largely pointless, they surely have an obligation to make it as easy for us to do so as possible. As things stand, it’s an absurd situation, and the law is mostly ignored. And if I don’t get the response I need from them, then screw ’em, I’ve tried.
Oh – I’ve just got a reply. They reiterated the legislation from the website – which by now I know better than they do – and as an after-thought said they’d sent me a V55/4 in the mail.
And I, at least have the ability to contact the DVLA and make them aware of my needs and my displeasure (and get a V55/4 sent out). Many disabled people don’t have that ability – what are they expected to do? The law that requires us to register our machines with the DVLA is frankly the most pointless bollocks ever devised – it serves no purpose whatsoever.
The DVLA needs to get its head out of its arse and get this shambles sorted out, or just abolish the whole mess.