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  1. Experienced motorists are being wrongly stripped of their entitlements, then find themselves unable to prove they ever passed their tests because the agency has deleted its records We've had these complaints on here. I've posted this article in full in case it disappears from the newspaper: For the past four months Shane Rae has been living under the threat of having his driving licence taken away – yet he has committed no offence and his 30-year driving record is unblemished. He has even been forced to retake his driving test and take on a solicitor to fight his cause. And the reason for all this? Rae, 45, moved house and sent his licence to the DVLA to amend his address. It was returned minus his entitlement to ride a motorcycle – and when he complained he was warned that his car licence would be revoked as well because the government agency had no record of his qualification to ride a motorbike or drive a car. Rae is one of hundreds of motorists who have found themselves stranded after sending their licence to the DVLA to have it amended, only to be confronted with a demand that they provide proof that they passed their test, even if they took it decades ago. He says the whole experience has left him feeling like a character in a Kafka novel – and adds that even the clout of the prime minister, who happens to be his local MP, hasn’t succeeded in getting the department to see sense. The DVLA is already in the doghouse with many motorists after a new online system that affects people hiring a car was plagued by technical hitches earlier this month, and the emergence of this latest problem will only add to the pressure on the agency. Rae told Guardian Money that he exchanged his Canadian licence for a full UK one in 2000 after submitting all the required evidence from the Canadian authorities, “and since then I haven’t incurred so much as a parking ticket”. He adds: “When I complained about the missing motorcycle entitlement the DVLA told me it destroys supporting documentation for applications after 10 years and that it could therefore find no proof that I was ever entitled to drive, despite in a separate letter confirming that it had scrutinised my documents when amending my licence in 2004. “I was told I would have to request evidence of my entitlements from the Canadian authorities – yet in the same breath the DVLA admits that Canadian driving records are destroyed if they remain dormant for more than 10 years.” It turns out that Rae is far from alone. Paul Chapman, who runs a motorcycle training school, was one of the first to realise something was amiss after receiving dozens of calls from motorcyclists who’d had their entitlements removed after updating their licence. “I’ve had couriers and HGV drivers come to me who have lost their jobs because of this, and 50-year-old bikers who have had a licence for 20 years until they applied to update it,” he says. In its response to a freedom of information request submitted by Chapman, the DVLA insists it retains all driving entitlements on computer and microfiche, and destroys only the licence applications after a 10-year period. The trouble is, it is the also-destroyed supporting documents provided alongside these applications that the DVLA insists on viewing when querying the validity of long-held licences – and the onus is on the motorist to provide them. Chapman says: “I have had to create cheap, quick ways for these guys to take their test again in order to apply for a new licence, but you’re still looking at around £600. The DVLA’s attitude is that it never makes mistakes, and that if a driving entitlement drops off your licence it is up to you to prove that you ever took a test, when it is its job to store all that information. It’s almost worth getting a speeding fine every three years so that the police have a record of your licence.” In the case of Rae, who works in publishing and lives in Oxfordshire, he has spent well in excess of £1,000 on retests and legal fees. His solicitor persuaded the DVLA to delay revoking his licence, which could have jeopardised his job, until he could retake his test. “The DVLA was in effect saying it was happy for me to carry on driving, even though it insists I don’t have a valid licence,” he says. However, he then discovered that possessing a full licence disqualified him from taking a driving test. “The DVLA confirmed there is no way for me to take the test again unless it takes away my licence, so it has revoked it again for its computer system to then allow me to book a new test to replace the documents it admits it has seen but since destroyed,” he says. Rae adds that David Cameron has written to the agency on his behalf three times, “which as far as his office is concerned is unprecedented”. There are fears the problems will worsen now the paper part of the licence has been abolished, along with tax discs, leaving motorists at the mercy of the agency’s digital records. The DVLA has an online service that allows people to view their driving record – for example, vehicles they can drive and any penalty points and disqualifications – but this does not include historical information about previous entitlements, so it will be no use to those who are suddenly required to produce evidence of decades-old qualifications in order to keep their licence. Another driver caught up in this is Steve Sylvester, 51, who lives in Derby and held an HGV licence and a motorcycle entitlement until he sent his paper licence to be swapped for a photocard in April. He was reissued with a provisional car licence. It is almost worth getting a speeding fine every three years so that the police have a record of your licence “I have held a full licence for 25 years and, as I worked as a security driver for Barclays, it had to be vetted by the police, who found no problem with it,” he says. “I sent the DVLA the make and model of the car I took my test in, as well as the name of the instructor and the driving school, but they demanded the test certificate that I sent them 35 years ago. My job was on the line because I need to be able to drive, so I had to pay £200 to take my driving test again and apply for a new licence.” Meanwhile, it was a speeding fine that alerted Dave Knox, a 64-year-old teacher from Merseyside, to the fact his motorcycle entitlement had been omitted from a replacement licence. “I passed my test in 1972, but had to apply for a replacement licence when I lost the original on holiday,” he says. “A few years later I got pulled for speeding and the police confiscated my bike because it turned out the replacement licence didn’t include my motorcycle entitlement. When I complained to the DVLA, it told me I’d never passed my test.” Knox received a court summons for riding a motorbike while unqualified, but his driving record provided by the DVLA was so full of errors – “it even suggested I’d had three licence changes in one day, which is an impossibility” – that the court ruled in his favour and his motorcycle entitlement was restored. “I got no compensation for being unable to ride my bike to work for six months, or for the £150 I had to spend insuring someone else to ride it from the police compound,” he says. The DVLA told Money that it cannot issue licences in “good faith” alone. It declines to discuss individual circumstances, but says that in Rae’s case information came to light from Canada that cast doubt on his entitlement to drive. This information, according to the DVLA’s letters to Rae, is the fact that Canadian driving records are destroyed after 10 years of dormancy, so it can’t re-examine his certificate which allowed it to issue his UK licence in the first place. The agency says it never removes valid entitlements and that rare errors are quickly corrected by checking its computer records. In 2010 it estimated that 2% of drivers’ records contained errors that were the fault of the DVLA, and between 2008 and 2010 it received 285 complaints that entitlements had gone missing. These figures are the most recent it has published. The problem for motorists who reach an impasse with the agency’s customer services is that it is difficult to lodge a complaint with an independent third party. The DVLA can refer unresolved complaints to the Department for Transport’s independent complaints assessor (ICA), but motorists can’t apply for mediation directly, and the ICA only dealt with 93 DVLA complaints between 2013 and 2014. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman also looks at complaints, but unhappy drivers have to ask their MP to contact the service on their behalf – which doubtless explains why the ombudsman has only taken on 14 complaints about the DVLA in the past 12 months. That is up from two in 2013, and a solitary investigation in 2012. The ombudsman itself is dissatisfied with the system. “It’s very difficult for consumers to complain,” a spokesperson says. “We receive a lot of inquiries from people unhappy with their experience with the DVLA, but the vast majority haven’t approached us via their MP, so we have to redirect them, which whittles the numbers down a lot. We’ve been campaigning for years to make the process easier, and welcome the government’s proposals for a single public service ombudsman.”
  2. Happy New Year all! I took out a contract with Tmobile on 6/6/12 - this is a 24 month contract, so as I work out, this contract should end on the 6/5/13, which is 24 months - Tmobile are saying the contract ends on 6/6/14, which I work out to be 25 months. Am I being dense here?? Tmobile also wrote advising me I could get a upgrade early for a discounted £50 and advise me of the phone and price plan I can have - the letter mentions no other costs, so I trot along to their shop, only to be told I have to pay a fee for the handset. I complain - they say basically tough. The small print (v small) states "you may have to pay a fee for the handset. I want to report them for false representation - who do I do this too please??? This is not the forst time TMobile have been dishonest and I want to hit them where it hurts....... Many thanks
  3. So, we have had a letter from G24 stating that we stayed in a car park for over 4 hours on a recent Saturday with photo's of us going in and then out again. Whilst we did enter the car park at 12.30pm, we also left (having met my parents there) about 7 minutes later. We then went back to the car park at about 16.50 to visit Toys R' Us to buy a game. They have then included the photo of us leaving the second time and arriving the first time. I sent them a letter stating all the details of what happened on the day, and they are still pressing ahead with the penalty charge notice - can't say i'm surprised, but as its blatantly a complete lie and verging on fraud (if indeed it isn't fraud or deception) i'm wondering what we should do with regards to the second letter.
  4. I went to Metro Bank today, had to cycle because of the demonstrations/ riots between my house and the bank. Got attacked there - hit in the head - when I told a middle aged man, English, that he shouldn't **** on the statue of Charles I. Carried on, sat down in the bank. According to what I could see the Credit Check was optional if you had proofs of residence. I had three. Plus my driving license and my passport. The woman was a bit slimy, more concerned with make up than banking, but I didn't really care. The process took forever, over an hour and a half. It was unbearably hot. I'd dressed for winter and cycled. So, it was tough to cope. I stripped down to my shirt and spent as much time outside as possible. When I'd come back she'd still be pecking at her computer like a parrot. I wouldn't have minded going away and coming back you know, why the dishonesty. She keeps on asking me personal questions. I don't see why I have to answer them. I'd been there over half an hour, forty minutes by now and she has taken all my photocopies of bank accounts and passport and things. They have all my data. But she wants to know my marital status and my employment status and this and that, I'm polite mind, but it's stupid. It's embarrassing having to answer these things to a human being, I don't like being labeled by these stupid categories which don't apply to me. I would rather have just ticked boxes. I only want the account to use abroad because HBoS can be trusted to keep my savings separate from my current account when I'm in risky areas for data fraud this worries me. But they pry about my reasons uncomfortably. I look at the basic leaflet they have out. It says "no stupid bank rules". I ask about the cash cards. My mum's quaker and feminist principles make her angry about being a miss, or mrs or ms. She changed banks to avoid all that. The teller more or less told me - yes - it's on the card - your name must be as we say (on the old Midlands cards you could make up any name!). I said - that seems stupid. She said, more or less - no - you're stupid. Nice. I was just asking! But, I digress... After an hour and twenty minutes or so she starts going on about credit cards. I've told her I don't want that stuff or overdrafts. I avoid credit cards. I prefer to spend what I have. My parents have a card which I use if I need to buy things for them (my mum's been unwell) but that's it. But the teller witters away on the credit card thing "do you have a credit card". No, no I don't. None of her business. I noticed they had dog bowls of water. Maybe I could drink some of that. Water for dogs, huh? At least in Bank of Scotland they give you a coffee and water when they tout their products. Eventually she says "computer says no". I say why, she says the credit reference, I say what? I've got good credit, she says, no, it's the SAW REPORT, you can't have an account because of money laundering. I say what? She says that there is a credit card in my name in my address but the birthday is off 6 days. So. This is worrying. Different issues need to be discussed no. 1)what do I do about that 2) what do I do about this account? Is it held for me, or do I deal with it and start it again 3) what do I do about my personal data? She's sort of indicating that there wasn't much to say. I'm sitting, quietly, trying to think of the right questions, when the bouncer who has been moving closer and glancing at this woman for some reason comes and stands a foot in front of me and says "is there is problem?" you know how, like a rent-a-cop. I look at her and just like shake my head a bit confused and she looks back with same "I'm a bit of a tart clenching my pelvic floor muscle" look that she has been doing the whole time. Then he's saying "the lady's asked you to leave". Christ! What is this? A strip club? Some sort of booze den? I don't know. Please remember - I'd been assaulted and I'm a little concussed. I've been treated - literally - worse than a dog and this man is standing over me with his arms folded as I am sitting in the chair. I just look over my shoulder and shout "I need to see the manager". And then I scream at this bouncer. I'm just not taking it. I can deal with abuse and violence on the street. I can deal with a lot of things, but I just can't cope with being intimidated in a bank. So, I screamed at them. Then I told the manager. He didn't seem inclined to make the bouncer apologise. They'd probably called the police for 'breach of the peace'. Luckily the riots were tying them up. But why, why do they behave like that, it's not fair. Anyway. They didn't tell me any of the rules. They did the credit reference check without consent. They have all my personal data, they have my passport photographed, my driving license, my bank accounts, everything. I mean - I handed it to them, but I signed nothing. What duties do they have to protect this data? What are they talking about, money laundering? I don't get it, they had all my proofs of ID, they had my other bank account details. How could this be money laundering? It makes no sense? Why would they refuse my account? Why wouldn't they say first, in their leaflets that this was the case? It seems they're a useless bunch. It was the worst experience I've ever had in a bank. ======= -for the search engines - Metro Bank is bad. Metro Bank is very bad. Metro Bank is crap
  5. This is warning for everybody who may read this! I absolutely do not want anybody else suffering the treatment and unnecessary stress that has resulted in my dealings from Comet! My advice to everybody is under no circumstances should you buy from Comet! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - In September I purchased a laptop (Sony Vaio, for college) from Comet for £519.99 along with an extended warranty plan for £139.99 which I was nagged into buying by the salesguy. One month later the laptop suffered a mishap which resulted in a cracked screen. Submitted the laptop to Comet who assured me it would be repaired and returned within 1 month. They also assured that the Hard drive would remain untouched and unharmed as it contained all my college work. 1 month passed with no word from Comet so I called them up. They were waiting on parts that apparently just arrived the day previous - took a month for parts to arrive? They promised to call me back in a few days once it had been repaired. 1 week later, no call? I am informed laptop is damaged beyond repair and as they no longer stock the model of the original laptop that I would have to choose another laptop. I was also informed that because of Comets decision to replace my laptop rather then repair it that the warranty I purchased it was no longer valid; after two months of purchasing it. I had asked for my HD to be returned to me for which I was told it had been disposed of (I have proof in email form). The loss of my HD resulted in the failure of my college unit and a tonne of unnecessary stress. I have recently discovered that Comet do in fact have my HD and are withholding it from me unless I pay a fee of £10, this I have proof of following an exchange with a Comet rep on moneysavingexpert.com Before this information coming to light I mailed Comet for the 6th time asking why my laptop was disposed of without asking my permission first. They tell me that following inspection of my damaged laptop that the motherboard was found to have fault. The laptop was functioning perfectly before the mishap and an issue with the motherboard is surely something I would notice myself having built my own desktops previously. This was the first time I was informed of the faulty motherboard as they had neglecting to tell me on the phone following my call. So I've been told I'll have to choose a new laptop. I get online and look at their stock and there are NO laptops that match the spec of my original purchase that does not exceed the the £519.99. I inform them of this and ask them what I'm supposed to do but I am responded with a simple "not our problem". A few days later I went in to complain, thinking I could get things moving if I went in person. I was told again that I would just have to settle for an inferior laptop, that it wasn't their problem. The guy that sold me the extended warranty turned round and said to me "Yeah well that's the gamble you take when you decide to buy the extended warranty"!!! Unbelievable! So I stand instore and I say, "Okay, I'll choose a new one today" but no, no. They are adamant that I cannot choose a new laptop until I've recieved some letter of confirmation. Apparently one should have been sent out to me but nothing has arrived. I request them to send another out on the computer at the desk, which they do. Two weeks later, no letter. The first hasn't arrived, the second hasn't arrived. I call up Comet, the woman tells me that there is no record of any letters being sent out to me. I found out through email a month later that I didn't even need this magic letter, that it was only for kitchen appliances such as fridges, dishwashers etc. It has been 4 months down the line now, constantly emailing, constantly phoning, constantly arguing but receiving excuses and lies. They had failed to provide me with a replacement laptop that matches the spec of my original, all others exceed price. Have recently found out this is a breech of contract as in this incident they are supposed to provide me with the same model of laptop even if it means sourcing it at their expense. I was seriously stressed out, failing college so I backed down and decided to accept an inferior laptop. Went into Comet where they refused to hand over the laptop I had chosen despite it being feet away from me in their backroom, insisted I had to go home and order by phone instead. Requested that they make the order since I was having problems with my phone at home, of which they did. Was told to go home and wait for Comet to call. Comet never called so before the store closed I called to arrange delivery myself. Was PROMISED laptop would be delivered on Friday. Came home from college on Friday (yesterday) and they never showed up. It is Saturday today and I have filed report with Trading Standards. The probability of this reaching court is certain. I also want to stress to you that in the 4 months since I placed my laptop into Comets care have I not once received any phone call or email to update me on the situation. Literally not one phone call, even when they assure me. My mother had also been banned from entering our local store following her going in to negotiate on my behalf (I was attending college). So I have an appointment with Trading Standards on Monday. I've been told to bring in printed copies of all exchanges made with Comet so I'm currently typing out a full report and orgasnizing all this paperwork. I think this is probably going to reach court but I've been advised that Comet won't let it get that far, that the furthest they'll meet me is on the court steps and that they'll probably make an offer then. I've already threatened court before, reminded them of it 3 times and they obviously thought I was bluffing. If anybody is interested in how this ends up, let me know here and I'll update with any details when they happen.
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