DVSA last week announced a number of measures the agency would be taking to tackle companies selling test slots at extortionate prices. 

As has been reported in the media, a number of companies have been profiting from selling practical driving test slots at up to double the price. These businesses are using bots to crawl the DVSA booking engine for vacant slots, scooping them up and selling them on at inflated prices to pupils.

The agency has implemented several measures to tackle the issues including:

  • stopping accepting new automatic online registrations to use the service – any new applications must be made by email, where they’ll be thoroughly checked by DVSA
  • stopping accepting any new registrations from companies who do not directly employ a driving instructor
  • removing any registrations not linked to driving instructors
  • reducing the number of times a driving test appointment can be changed from 10 to the pre-pandemic limit of 6 – if more changes are needed after that, trainers or their pupils will have to cancel the test and rebook it

The regulator will also be looking to change the terms and conditions for using the service to make it clear it is not allowed to make a profit from making and managing driving test bookings.  In addition, the ADI Registrar is reviewing the ‘fit and proper’ criteria to make it clear that profiting from driving test bookings is not considered fit and proper behaviour.

Given the amount of developments to the booking process over the last few weeks DIA has asked DVSA to produce a summary of what’s changed and that will be sent out early next week. 

Update on short notice cancellations in England, Scotland and Wales

From Wednesday 22 June, DVSA is changing its approach to the short notice cancellation of theory and practical tests for candidates with COVID-19.

DVSA will no longer automatically rearrange or refund practical, or theory tests cancelled within the 3-day short notice cancellation window if your pupil tells us they have COVID-19.

Pupils will need to continue to follow government guidance if they do have COVID-19 symptoms. The agency’s standard short notice cancellation period was temporarily stopped during the pandemic to allow pupils who tested positive for COVID-19 to automatically rearrange or refund their practical or theory test.

The agency is now using their standard short notice cancellation process due to illness, in line with the government’s plan for lifting remaining restrictions for living with COVID-19.

Pupils will lose their test fee if they cancel or change their theory or practical test in England, Scotland and Wales within the short notice cancellation period unless they:

  • are ill or injured – such as if they have COVID-19
  • are affected by a bereavement
  • need to take an exam
  • have had their driving licence stolen

For more information on this topic read the full DVSA Direct here.

Driving test can be changed up to 6 times

We have reduced the number of times a driving test appointment can be changed from 10 to 6.

If you or your pupil changes the test more than 6 times, you will need to cancel it and rebook the test.

Short notice cancellations are changing

From Wednesday 22 June, we will no longer automatically rearrange or refund practical, or theory tests cancelled within the 3-day short notice cancellation window if your pupil tells us they have COVID-19.

This means that you or your pupils will lose your test fee if a test is cancelled within the short notice period unless your pupil:

  • is ill or injured
  • has been affected by a bereavement
  • needs to take an exam
  • has had their driving licence stolen

The full details about the change and how to apply for a refund were sent to you by email on June 7.

We’ll also be updating the guidance on GOV.UK.