Three out of four road tax enquiries from undercover researchers were answered wrongly by the DVLA, according to a new investigation.
Of 100 enquiries made to the government agency by phone and email for the probe, it made mistakes in 76 cases, the study claims.
Researchers for the car price guide Parker’s picked 100 models of car that will be badly affected by upcoming changes to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), and called the DVLA to ask about road tax costs for the cars over the next three years.
The cars chosen were models registered between March 2001 and March 2006 that produce more than 225g/km of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Parker’s says it wanted to test whether the DVLA would advise consumers that the cars would temporarily move into Band K next year (£300 in road tax) and would then be liable for a £430 or £455 charge in 2010.
The guide says that the DVLA gave wrong road tax figures, for at least one of the three years it asked about, for 76 out of the 100 cars.
The biggest area of confusion concerned what was happening in 2009, it said. Cars that emit more than 186g/km of CO2, and were registered between March 2001 and March 2006, will move from Band F to Band K – a rise of £90, says Parker’s.
It says that most of the call centre staff it spoke to were unaware of this and put the cars into other bands.
Parker’s says that, once confronted with its findings, the DVLA eventually apologised for ‘confusion caused in our responses to both you and to any callers to DVLA regarding VED rates in 2009’ and it had since ‘taken appropriate steps’ to ensure information was correct.
The DVLA told Which? that it answered 12 million calls a year and its own data showed 92% customer satisfaction.