Resolver guide – Dealing with a DVLA problem

3 min read
April 01, 2022

Over the pandemic, over one thousand people have been in touch with Resolver each month about problems with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Problems with contacting the DVLA have received a lot of publicity and huge numbers of people have been in touch about a range of complaints and problems that they’ve been unable to resolve. Here’s our guide to what’s going on and what you can do to sort a DVLA problem out.

What is the DVLA responsible for?

The DVLA is the sole organisation responsible for the registration and licensing of drivers in Great Britain. They are responsible for the collection and enforcement of Vehicle Exercise Duty (VED) – or road tax, to you and me.

The DVLAs main duties include:

  • Issuing drivers licences.
  • Recording driver endorsements (points on your licence), disqualifications and medical conditions that can have an impact on driving.
  • Issuing vehicle registration certificates.
  • Pursuing vehicle tax dodgers
  • Registering and issuing tachograph cards – devices for goods or passenger drivers that make sure they stick to the rules and maximum driving times.
  • Selling DVLA personalised number plates.

Most of us will encounter the DVLA when applying for a licence, renewals, updating medical records, disputing records and obtaining documentation relating to a vehicle.

What’s the problem at the DVLA?

Because the DVLA processes a lot of paper-based applications and documents, the pandemic had a considerable impact on the organisation. Reports of a strike and low staffing levels also led to considerable numbers of people saying they could not contact the DVLA at all, or only after considerable waits on the phone of up to two hours or more.

The DVLA also switched off email services during this time making it hard to contact them through other methods This also impacted Resolver as the DVLA effectively stopped all enquiries other than those made on the telephone. This situation is currently ongoing, though we are in regular contact with the service to see how we can help get your complaints sorted out.

What if I need to contact the DVLA?

Our users are still reporting considerable delays getting through on the phone to the DVLA helpdesk, but waiting times seem to be coming down from the peak. However, we are still being contacted by around 1,000 people each month about DVLA problems.

DVLA Driving Licence Enquiries:

Telephone: 0300 790 6801
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturdays, 8am to 4pm

There is also a ‘webchat’ function, though again, our users report that it is often unavailable:

https://contact.dvla.gov.uk/driving-licence

 What does the DVLA advise if people need to use the service?

The DVLA are currently advising people wait 10 weeks before contacting them for receipt of driving documents. There is a service that enables you to share you existing driving records with another organisation if you need to do this: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

The service states that they are currently processing applications from the following dates: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dvla-coronavirus-covid-19-update#processing-dates-for-paper-applications

You can also apply online for some (but by no means all) services here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dvla-coronavirus-covid-19-update#online-services

What are people complaining to Resolver about?

There are lots of things you can’t do online and sometimes original documents are required like identification documents for non-British nationals, doctors assessments for people who have had medical conditions and other official documentation relating to your capacity to drive may be requested.

Our users have reported long delays after submitting these documents, difficulties contacting the helpline and subsequent problems after being assured their application was being processed.

We are recommending that people use Resolver to register their complaints so we can report the data to the Government and DVLA itself. But you can also use Resolver to formulate your complaint then cut and paste it (you’ll need to get an email or link from the helpline or webchat) or – depressingly in 2022 – post it.

We are regularly reaching out to the DVLA to see what we can do to help with their backlog, manage expectations and provide updates, so keep an eye on our website and newspapers for the latest information.

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