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DVLA lost passport / Passport lost in post

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Hi folks, I apologise in advance if this is a bit long winded, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible.

I'm wondering if I can get some advice as to where my girlfriend stands with an issue that is causing her a lot of worry at the minute and I obviously want to offer as much help as possible.

She is a Swiss national and exchanged her Swiss licence for a UK one in July. This involved sending her passport into the DVLA as proof of identity (she did not know and therefore did not send it with a pre-stamped & addressed, recorded delivery envelope for return). She got her licence back over 2 weeks ago but her passport hasn't as yet turned up. She's contacted the DVLA who at first told her that her passport had been returned same day, separately, by unrecorded first class post.

Now, I'm sure DVLA have their reasons, but to me, sending a document as important as a passport by unrecorded post just seems irresponsible. She sent it to them special delivery.

What's worrying her most now is that we have a holiday booked for 9th September and if it doesn't turn up she has to get a replacement. The fact that she's Swiss makes this even more of a ball ache as she'll have to take time off work to travel down to the Swiss Embassy in London to obtain an emergency passport, cancel the old one (which she only got in February!) and reorder a new full passport. This whole process will cost a bomb, as well as being slightly inconvenient.

What we've also noticed is that the address the DVLA have put on her licence (and have sent her passport back to) is completely wrong, with exception of the postcode. The licence was put through our door by a neighbour. The house number and road names are wrong, but a postman with decent local knowledge could at least get post to the correct building, but not door number as we've only been here a couple of months.

I've checked the address the DVLA have used on a couple of address checking sites and it's a complete mess, they told her they had to use the variation they've used as it's what their system produced from the address she put on the D1, but frankly, that's a load of crap, our address is by no means new and there isn't even a road in our area with the name they've used.

If in the likely event that it doesn't turn up this week and she has to travel to London etc, what are our chances claiming for compensation from the DVLA.

As far as I'm concerned, she can prove that she sent it to them and that they received it, but they can't prove that they've sent it back. More so, the address they 'allegedly' used, doesn't technically exist.

Thanks in advance folks.

LM

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I assume all this was done with the DVLA on the telephone? If so, then try getting it in writing.

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DVLA will use their 'Post Office' (PAF) file to confirm the address used, as people are prone to adding localities and affectations that are purely cosmetic, If the postcode is correct, then the address preceding it would be also - unless the PAF has an error (which is not unknown). Go to the Royal Mail site and the postcode checker, type in your postcode and see the addresses that are matched to this. Is your there? If it is, and this differs from the DVLAs version, you need to write and bring this to their attention.

 

As to the missing pasport, there is no such thing as a 'REcorded Delivery' envedlope - and indeed under the circumstances you describe, as it didn't arrive, there would be no signature - so you would be no better off than you are now, as there is no special handling, it just goes in the normal mail. Special Delivery (SD) is the only option, but like RD it requires the DVLA to take it to a PO and I don not believe they offer this service (but the PAssport Office does). Filling in a missing postal item form is your next step - as if the passport fell out of the envelope, they have a passport and no address for it. Make this your next move.

 

You will have no chance of claiming compensation from the DVLA unfortunately. It will be seen as one of those things, unless you can get a judge to agree that by not offering a secure return service for documents, they are somehow being nergligent.

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I am not so sure. I believe duty of care of valuable items/documents rests with the person who has been entrusted with them until they are safely received by the original owner.If DVLA chose to simply put a passport in a standard envelope and sling it in the post, they have not acted with care as Royal Mail will not compensate for the actual replacement value of the passport, their liability being limited to 10x the postage stamp used, ie £41 if first class.

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This is well covered ground. They have no responsibility for the supporting documentation (same as the Passport Office) as RM is deemed to be an acceptable carrier. The customer can always exhibit the documents and have them returned immediately at any local DVLA office.

 

The passport office will if asked and the fee is paid, retur docs by tracked courier, but at additional expense to the customer.

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As buzby states, The Passport Office sends millions of passports a year through royal mail first class delivery.

 

What does concern me is the address they have input for her on the system. If your girlfriend has clearly written her correct address on the application form and DVLA have input this incorrectly then I would be asking serious questions of their actions. As you state, their explanation does not add up. The passport may well be returned to DVLA as undelivered. I trust somebody at DVLA will be contacting your girlfriend immediately if and when this happens and they then decide to return it to the address supplied on the original application form.

 

Your girlfriend should also return the driving licence to them for amendment informing them that the address is not accurate and clearly stating her postal address. I would advise that is only done when the passport as obviously she would be without two forms of ID.

Edited by 'the dude'

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The passport may well be returned to DVLA as undelivered.

 

How come?

All envelopes from DVLA that I see have "Do not return to sender" (or similar) printed on the back.

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No, those letters are marked this way as they are reminders (usually the V11). All my revert communications, including VED and V5c have a return address.

 

Can I ask what you believe sending anything by Recordrd Selivery actually provides, except for a signature? If it is lost, there us no signature, no tracking, and no enhanced compensation over standard 1st or 2nd class.

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DVLA are liable. If you provided them with the correct name, address and postcode and they chose to change that and send a passport to the wrong address, that makes them liable whether they like it or not. You could sue them for the cost of replacement passport.

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Sorry, that is nonsensical. 'Address' system is owned by the Royal Mail. It is they who provide the postcode, and the parsing of an address for their purposes. Unfortunately, people attempt to mend their addresses into locations and with irrelevant detail that the RM do not req

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The OP says that the address the DL was sent to is the wrong house number and street name. If the Op provided the correct information and DVLA changed it, that is not the OPs fault and is DVLA's fault. So it is not 'nonsensical' at all. It is wrong to assume that the OP has tried to 'mend their address'. I know for a fact that the PAF is wrong on many occasions. The information provided to DVLA is the information they should have used. By changing street name and house number it seems obvious that the item will be delivered to the wrong street and house number!

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Of course they are not. If you used an address other than that recognised by the PO (which also includes the postcode) then you have your makings for a misdelivery or even non delivery. Postcodes resulted in the almost complete killing off of house names in urban areas, as owners attempting to add individuality to their address invariably ignored the street number and substitutedf a vanity name that reflected them. The DVLA system uses Royal Mail's PAF (Postcode Address File) and only an address taken from here can be used in the address detailas field - irrespective of the applicant's wishes.

 

By using the RM, and the RM sanctioned address, I'd be interested in how you could attribute negligence? Especially since the applicant will never be taken to be any authority on the accuracy of same.

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Very easily. The street address and the house number were provided correctly and DVLA wrongly changed both street name and house number. We are not talking about a house name, but a street name. Something the OP has no control over at all. DVLA were wrong to 'correct' the application and should not have sent a valuable document like a passport to an address that differes from the one provided. The PAF is not 100% correct and as I already said, I have on numerous occasions found the PAF to be incorrect.

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This needs to be proved. If the postcode valid for both variations of the address? If so, there is wriggle room due to a clerk's possible incompetence. (Perhaos an I/L and O/0 transposition). However it will be up to the applicant to prove the error, where a correct postcode has resulted in a non-PAF approved address being used. (This can be checked online on the RM website for free).

Edited by buzby

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