Ever been had? Conned? Diddled? If you haven’t until now, you soon will be, by no less than HM Government and the DVLA, every time you change your car or any other motor vehicle.
A couple of weeks ago, when it became no longer a legal requirement to display a tax disc in your car windscreen, I gleefully removed the sticky plastic holder and the little coloured tax disc inside it, even though my car “Black Betty” is taxed until February.
I thought: “I don’t need to display it any more so I won’t. I’ll join the Naked Windscreen Club along with all the crooks who never taxed their car in the first place.”
My glee turned to anger when I read about the changes in more detail, and it became clear this is the biggest used car con trick ever. Even in his wildest dreams, Arthur Daley wouldn’t get away with such a swindle on a grand scale. Here’s how it works...
Until October 1st, if you bought or sold a used car it would usually have some tax left to run. “Taxed and tested” was always a good selling point. Let’s say you’re swapping your car today, the 16th of the month. Instead of passing the tax on to the next owner, you get a refund from DVLA for the whole months still to run. Your refund is calculated from the end of October. You’ve lost half a month’s worth of tax.
Similarly, the person who buys the car from you (let’s assume it’s also today) has to tax the car backdated to October 1st. That’s another half a month’s worth of tax gone.
There’s more. You pick up your new car today and you have to tax it backdated to October 1st. Yet another half a month’s worth.
It’s a bare-faced fraud, and if it happened in France they’d be blocking the motorways in protest.
The Government says the new paperless scheme will save money. Save money for whom?
The official line is that paper discs are redundant because police and other enforcement officers have number plate recognition technology to catch tax-dodgers. Oh yeah? So the police haven’t enough to do, catching thieves, thugs and drug dealers?
And if some dolloper leaves an untaxed car for sale on our street, how can we, the general public, tell whether it’s taxed or not and have it removed?
My windscreen is no longer naked. An advert for The Flat Cap Pack (available for Lanky nights, beer festivals, variety shows etc) has replaced the discarded disc, so at least the space isn’t wasted.