Thursday, 2 March 2017

DVLA to remove motorist protection from dodgy debt collectors

The DVLA currently make a nod to protecting motorists from dodgy debt collectors. Their KADOE contract with parking operators contains a clause which regulates debt collector behaviour.

Previously they required them to obey the Office Of Fair Trading guidelines.
C3.1. The Customer shall abide by the OFT Debt Collection Guidance whenever it seeks to recover payment of unpaid Parking Charges from any person.
However, the Office of Fair Trading no longer exists. The clause now states they should abide by the Financial Conduct Authority guidance

C3.1 The Customer shall abide by the FCA Debt Collection Guidance whenever it seeks to recover payment of unpaid Parking Charges from any person

However, following a recent complaint to the ICO, clarification was obtained from the FCA that they do not regulate parking related debt collection practices – they only regulate consumer credit (mortgages, loans, credit cards etc) related debt collection.

As a result the DVLA have decided to remove this protection from the KADOE contract. Here is their statement on the matter.

When C3.1 was included in the KADOE contract, DVLA acted in good faith, and were of the understanding that this clause was enforceable. It has since been identified that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), do not regulate parking related debt practices. Therefore, this clause cannot be enforced by DVLA or a court of Law, even though it is included in the contract.
‘In accordance with the change control elements of the contract under H.1 – Variations, DVLA will issue a variation to the contract to remedy this inaccuracy, and remove clause C3.1 from the KADOE contract in due course.
The Prankster believes this is a retrograde step and that valuable protection has been removed. Motorists only need to look at the dodgy practices of debt collectors like MIL Collections and BW Legal to realise protection is essential.

The Prankster also does not believe this clause is not enforceable. The DVLA could either enforce it themselves, or they could require the ATAs to enforce it, by adding it to their code of practice.

Perhaps the real reason for pretending the DVLA cannot take action is that given the wide scale abuse by debt collectors at the moment, it would be too expensive to enforce, as practically all communications are currently breaking the FSA code.

A further alternative would be to require debt collectors to sign up to the Credit Services Association and to abide by their code of practice. The CSA does enforce its code, and the Prankster has had a number of dealings with David Lee form the CSA.

Either way, the passing of the OFT has left a big enforcement hole which unscrupulous debt collectors will be only too willing to exploit.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


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  2. Did the OFT retract "OFT Debt Collection Guidance" before the OFT was killed off? I would argue that "OFT Debt Collection Guidance" still exists as it was last published and remains in force and needs to be followed if that was part of the specific KADOE contract.
    I have a complaint to the DVLA in process that specifically references this requirement so it will be interesting to see how they respond. Both the PPC and the DCA are in breach as they have not addressed the reasons that I have denied the alleged debt.
    It's all pretty grey to me.

  3. MIL were bragging by email "its sorted now , DVLA have apologised" this afternoon