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DVLA court summons

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Hello all

I am new to the site and was looking for advice on this matter.

I am a motor trader and was using a vehicle with valid trade plates displayed. For some reason it was picked up by a camera as 'untaxed'

The DVLA sent a letter asking for a fine, to which I replied explaining that the vehicle was using trade plates. They do not seem to have received my response and have now taken the matter to court. I have now written to them again but they have not yet responded.

My problem is that the court date is approaching and I am now not sure what to do.

Does anybody have any advise on this? Many thanks in advance

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DVLA often seem to lose documents and make errors. They are like a dinosaur and are certainly not at all customer facing. I sometimes even wonder whether they are run by Vodafone – or maybe it's the other way round they run Vodafone.


Presumably you have a copy of the photograph – or there is other documentation referring to the registration number that you were driving under.


Presumably you have your trade plates and all the documentation relating to those is complete in order.


I think that the best thing for you to do is to go to court on the day with your trade plates with the photo with your documentation and plead not guilty. Pull the trade plates out of the bag and shown to the magistrates. Tell them that if they want to have any of the documentation checked and they are welcome. Finally, tell the magistrates that you have tried several times to query the whole thing with the DVLA and that you have had no response. Show the magistrates your copy correspondence. When you have been found not guilty – as you surely will, then respectfully ask that you be given a figure for costs against DVLA given that you tried very hard to query it and to save everybody's time including the time of the courts.


Keep your claim very reasonable, but if you have lost half a days work for instance and the cost of getting to the court then claim those. Try to keep it less than £50 because the magistrates will be very wary that they are being suckered into a money grab. The most important thing is to get an order for costs against DVLA - even if it is only £10 - because then that emphasises to the DVLA that they got it badly wrong.


Please do let us know what happens

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Were the plates mounted as they should be or on the parcel shelf ?



I couldn't agree more with the bit about 'losing' documents which is why I always advise sending recorded.

The DVLA must 'lose', (said very loosely), more mail than all other departments put together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was told, when we used trade plates, that if they were not displayed as per instructions, then the cover they provided would not be in force. I can't remember the locations for display but I remember being specifically told that DVLA would fine you if they were not correctly displayed. I was just on the brief, I didn't actually use trade plates so I took very little notice so I'm sorry I cant be more accurate.

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I got a confusing response from the DVLA. Here are some excepts:(exactly as it is written in their letter)


"Under section 29 of the vehicle excise and registration act 1994 it is an offence for a vehicle to be unlicensed without a Statutory Declaration in force. As a result of a vehicle being seen unlicensed as the registered keeper of the vehicle you are liable for the amount of time the vehicle has been unlicensed whilst in your possession.


In response to the above you have stated that the vehicle(...reg number given) was being used on trade plates as it was undergoing repairs. Please could you provide 3rd party evidence to support your claim in the form of a written statement from the garage confirming that they were carring out the repairs. In the statement the garage must confirm what vehicle they repaired and the dates it was in their possession.


However I am able to offer you the opportunity to pay an out of court settlement of ......(amount given) to resolve this matter.This amount must be paid in full by .........(date given)"


They have actually extended the deadline to pay the out of court settlement.


Any suggestions on how to proceed with this?

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They think that you are the registered keeper and that your car was with a garage having repairs done. They don't understand that the RK is the same person who was driving on the trade plates, i.e: you.


It sounds like a standard form letter, their computer system 'script' probably doesn't have on option for your circumstances.

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At this point I would respond as requested, 100% honestly even though being administratively equally obtuse, and write two letters -


- one letter from 'me' the Motor Trader and holder of the Trade Plates confirming the vehicle was being used on the public road by you in your capacity of a Motor Trader at the appropriate time and dates and it was displaying your trade plates number XX XXX. Add the duration it was off the road under repair (presumably from when the previous tax ran out unless it was SORN - something you have not told us)


- one letter from 'me' the Registered Keeper saying "following DVLA's letter to me of xx/xx/xxxx I enclose a letter from the Motor Trader and Trade Plate holder giving the confirmations you requested. As this now fulfills the requirement in your letter I assume the matter is now closed".


Put the two in the same envelope and send by a Signed For/Proof of Delivery service (whatever the post office offers these days).

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Unfortunately the reply from Tony P will not work. The OP has fallen foul of a common misunderstanding of the use of trade plates. When he applied for the TP's he filled in an application form the guide line notes of which state - 'A motor trader: may use the trade licence on mechanically propelled vehicles only if they are temporarily in their possession in the course of their business.'


The actual law is Section 11(3) Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 'In the case of any other motor trader, a trade licence is a licence for all vehicles which are from time to time temporarily in his possession in the course of his business as a motor trader.'


As the vehicle is registered in his name, this condition has not been adhered to.


Sorry, but I fear that unless the Trade plates are held by his business as a limited company and the vehicle registered to him in his personal entity, the OP will have difficulty in defending this. As it has proceeded to Magistrates Court, he might need to plead guilty with mitigation as misunderstanding of the conditions applied - vehicle had been in storage and was only now being moved for repair and he thought that this was sufficient to be 'temporary possession'.

  • Confused 1

My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

If you have found my post helpful, please enhance my reputation by clicking on the Heart. Thank you

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