A MOTORIST has blasted the DVLA for ‘hiding’ discounts from owners of greener vehicles.
Adrian Denby, 54, of Honley, bought a Volvo C30 to take advantage of the lower vehicle tax rates available to owners of cars with lower CO2 emissions.
Mr Denby’s 18-month-old Volvo has a 1.6-litre diesel engine producing 129g of CO2 per kilometre, placing it in tax band D.
Band D car owners, who tax their cars from April 1, 2010 must pay £90 for 12 months tax.
But Band D owners who bought their tax from March 31, 2010 or earlier had to pay the old rate of £120.
Despite being eligible for the new cheaper rate, Mr Denby – whose tax expired at midnight on March 31 – was offered the older, more expensive rate when his vehicle taxing reminder arrived.
And Mr Denby fears there will be other motorists who have had to pay extra because they were not offered the cheaper rate to which they were entitled.
He said: “Nowhere on the form or contained in any literature was there mention of the changes to vehicle tax rates effective from April 1 – which affects thousands of people across this district and the country.
“The young woman I spoke to restated the cost of taxing my car was £120 and went through my options, never mentioning the tax changes once. When I pressed her on this eventually she said changes come into effect from April 1.
“My tax expired at midnight on March 31, so any new tax could only start at 00.01 on April 1, so why wasn’t I able to tax my car at the new rate automatically?
In effect I was being ‘fined’ £30 for being a decent citizen and taxing my car before it ran out. That can’t be right.
“I wanted to bring this outrageous situation to someone’s attention.
“The DVLA should have sent my reminder at the new rate and – or at the very least – explained the tax changes so I had an informed choice to make.
“It seemed to be a case of: ‘don’t tell them unless they ask’.
“I got it at the new rate, but no thanks to them.”
A DVLA spokesman said: “All Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) renewal reminders for tax discs due to expire on March 31 were printed with the rate that was applicable at the time of printing.
“The reminder letters also carried a message stating that a different rate might be payable, depending on when the tax disc is purchased and the new rates and dates of introduction have been available on direct.gov.uk/motoring
“Previous budgets have announced changes in VED rates that will take place from April 2010. The law is clear that the new rates apply only to licences taken out from April 1, 2010.”