The MOT system has been running for well over 50 years in the UK, and thousands of tests are carried out every year without any problems. In order to qualify as a MOT tester, mechanics have to go through an extensive government training programme. This is designed to ensure that the MOT test is carried out as fairly as is possible and that all centres in the UK are following the same process and standards. But as with any process involving people, there is the possibility of human error. So that’s why the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has a complaints process for helping people who think their car has failed its MOT where it should have passed.
Complain to the Centre
If you get a call to say your car has failed its MOT and you’re sure it should have passed, the first thing to do is to raise it there and then with the test centre. Whoever performed the MOT should be able to take you through the process in detail, and explain exactly where your vehicle doesn’t come up to standard. If you are disputing a failed test, then don’t agree to any work being carried out.
Fill in the Form Online
If you’re still not happy about the reasons you’ve been given for your car failing its MOT, you can then start the formal complaints process. Fill in the online form which is available through the DVSA website, and email it to the address given. You should do this within 14 working days of the test result which you are disputing. You can also fill in the form, print it off and send it by post, but this obviously takes longer. DVSA will then get in touch and arrange with you to have your car re-tested at another site. You will have to pay for this second test. If the second test confirms that your car should have passed, then you should be able to reclaim the cost.
Most people complain about MOT tests because they think the garage is deliberately failing cars in order to make more money from unnecessary repairs. Remember that you are well within your rights in many cases to take your car to another garage for a second opinion before you agree to any repairs. If however the first garage has said your car is unroadworthy, you can’t drive it away; you’ll have to arrange to have it towed or put on a trailer.
If you are correct in your suspicion that a garage is trying to con you into unnecessary work, then this isn’t something the DVSA can go anything about. You should report the garage to your local Council’s Trading Standards department, giving as much information as you have about what happened. In very serious cases, you could also consider approaching the police. You might also wish to seek legal advice about whether you can sue the garage for any costs and expenses you have incurred.