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Wirral woman lands herself a fine and clamped for not taxing her tax free car

A Wirral mum woke up to find her car clamped and slapped with a £100 fine because she didn’t renew the tax on her tax free vehicle.

Margaret Hickey, 46, from Prenton, said she was told her new Nissan Qashqai was zero taxed when she bought it.

But she didn’t realise that despite there being no charge the road tax on the car still had to be renewed each year.

Today she spoke out about her rude awakening as a warning to other car owners.

Mum-of-two Margaret said: “I woke up this morning to a big yellow clamp and a sticker saying, ‘Don’t remove this untaxed vehicle’ with an agency fee.

“I rang up the company who clamped it and they said ‘You’ve not paid your tax’. But I don’t pay tax on this car!”

The family had received a reminder but since it stated the tax on the car was £0 Margaret said she “thought nothing of it”.

Margaret believes the need to still renew road tax on tax free vehicles should be made more clear.

She added: “I’ve just had to pay £100 to have a clamp removed on a car I don’t pay tax on and it was as simple as getting it renewed on the phone.

Margaret, who says she has always taxed her car in the past,said: “I’ve been driving around with no tax since June - I’m horrified. I’ve always paid tax.“

A DVLA Spokesman said: “By law all vehicles must be taxed or declared off road by making a Statutory Off Road Notification. This applies to all vehicles – including those that don’t attract any fee for the vehicle tax.

“This regular contact means we have an up to date record of the keeper of the vehicle which helps the police should they need to trace or contact them in an emergency.”

The DVLA says it operates a range of measures to make it easy for people to tax their vehicles – these include online vehicle taxing and Direct Debit. They also continue to send reminder letters to vehicle keepers, which is why it is so important they notify DVLA of a change of address or keeper.

Clamping is one of a range of measures taken to make sure untaxed vehicles are not driven on the road.

When the DVLA clamp an untaxed vehicle the motorist will have to pay a release fee of £100 and, if they cannot show that the vehicle has been taxed, a surety fee of £160. The surety fee is refunded if the motorist is able to show that the vehicle has been taxed within 15 days of the vehicle’s release.

If the release fee has not been paid within 24 hours then the DVLA will impound the vehicle. The release fee will then rise to £200 and there will be a storage charge of £21 per day.

If a vehicle is declared off the road (SORN) it must be kept off the road, on private land.