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Rental customers warned of disruption

By Kyle Lindsay
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:08

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DVLA axing paper counterpart could have a knock on effect for rental customers

The vehicle rental industry is warning customers that the government’s plans to rush-through the abolition of the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence in January 2015 could leave them facing increased costs or huge queues when picking up their vehicle.

The counterpart, which has been around since 1998, is being axed as part of the government’s drive to reduce red tape and bureaucracy. However, political pressure to speed up the process now means the DVLA is set to renege on its promise to provide the vehicle rental industry with an affordable and workable alternative for checking the counterpart in real time.

There are around 10 million vehicle rental transactions in the UK each year and the majority of rental bookings are approved very quickly and at no cost by checking the driver endorsement and qualification information contained on the driver licence counterpart. Failure to make these checks can nullify insurance cover and potentially result in an unlicensed driver being allowed to rent a vehicle.

If the government proceeds with its plans, millions of existing driving licence documents will instantly become out-of-date. The absence of the industry-specific online solution promised by the DVLA will leave rental branches having to use potentially costly or time-consuming alternatives. For example, they may use the agency’s premium rate telephone service or rely on customers sharing access to their online driver records via a print-off or smartphone screen.

“Our industry handles more than 10 million vehicle rentals each year and provides a swift and professional service to customers at some of the busiest transport hubs around the UK,” said BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney.

“We applaud the government’s attempts to reduce red tape and bureaucracy, but this piece of poorly-timed political point scoring could cause chaos for our industry and its customers during this busy festive season.”

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  • Richard Brown - Licence Check Ltd says...November 27, 2014 (16:43)

    The DVLA have had a mandate to abolish the counterpart for some years now but have not implemented this until more recently. The DVLA have never said that January 2015 is the date that it will be abolished, its always remained 2015 but never January, this has been created by others that are not involved with such matters.

    The BVRLA know and understand what developments are taking place for a Real-Time licence checking solution and have the same opportunity as our own business (www.licencecheck.co.uk) to deliver such a service.

    Its a mistake to say there is no cost by checking the driver endorsement and qualification information, even at a simple level it takes man hours to process and understand what is being presented. However, a physical sight of a driving licence is no assurance that it is valid and the rental industry have used the DVLA telephone service for many years and this costs 51ppm (DVLA figure suggest it takes up to 1m 30sec) to validate a licence over the phone alone.

    Real-Time licence checking (sub second results) will be available from LICENCECHECK during February-March 2015 as BETA service, with official ‘LIVE’ date being proposed from 1st April 2015 – I assure you all of our existing clients including rental operators will be included – A ‘Real-Time’ reliable and secure solution will be available – Call LICENCECHECK on 0845 226 9686