DVSA to step up alert on fraudulent MOTs in the UK

Over the last year, more than two thousand reports of MOT fraud have been lodged. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has taken action to address the problem, by clamping down on the testers responsible. As a result, they’ve struck 156 garages and 335 MOT testers from the register.

Nowadays, it’s easy to book an MOT online– and if you make sure that you’re doing so through a reputable website, it’s easy to avoid fraud. But in many cases, it’s the motorists themselves who are outright seeking out fraudulent testers.

What does MOT fraud involve?

MOT fraud might come in a range of different forms, but for the most part they all involve handing out MOT certificates to vehicles which don’t deserve them. In some cases, vehicles are inspected, and their faults are ignored. In others, the inspection never takes place. Those responsible often accept bribes in order to pass the vehicle. In a minority of cases, the reverse might happen – a tester will fail a vehicle that should have passed, in order to get more money out of a customer to ‘fix’ the so-called problem.

Of course, not all errors in MOT testing amount to fraud. It might be that the tester simply made a mistake. In this case, there’s an appeals process to go through to contest the result.

What guidance is there?

The DVSA has issued new guidance for members of the public who suspect that a tester is breaking the law. Reports can be made anonymously, and should include details of the alleged fraud. Make sure to specify exactly when and where it happened, and the vehicles and individuals involved.

You can do this anonymously, so you don’t need to fear blowback from the individuals you’re shopping. With that said, if you want to provide your name, it might help the authorities to ultimately secure a prosecution – though be aware that you may have to appear in court to make this happen.

What is the DVSA?

It’s the job of the DVSA to ensure that vehicles in the UK meet a certain standard of roadworthiness. They have the power to ban garages from carrying out MOT tests, or to fine them, or hand out prison sentences. As well as relying on information from the public, they also conduct their own surveillance to check that testers are acting in accordance with the law. They might do this through mystery shopper reports, or through surveillance by teams of undercover agents. By ensuring that there’s a credible risk of a substantial punishment, many would-be fraudsters might be deterred – which will ultimately help to protect the testing system, and keep British roads safer.

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