IMPORTANT NOTICE – THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT AN OFFICIAL DSA DOCUMENT AND IS IN NO WAY ASSOSIATED WITH THE DRIVING STANDARDS AGENCY*****
So you’ve come this far…… which probably means you or somebody you know is trying to beat the 3 month waiting list at your local test centre. This document which you have bought will not guarantee a cancellation; just give you information on how to improve your chances.
HOW TO SEARCH FOR A CANCELLATION
There are 3 main ways to search for a cancellation,
• Call the national booking number on 0300 200 1122 (press option 2)
• Go online and search for availability www.direct.gov.uk/drivingtest
• IVR system (integrated voice recognition)
Before you start you will need to have all of your information to hand, it is recommended that you put your hands on the following information before starting:
1. Application reference number (displayed on your confirmation email/letter)
2. Driver/License number (displayed as item 5 on your provisional photo card license)
3. Theory certificate number (displayed on your theory certificate)
Call Centre – The call centre is available Monday to Friday between the hours of 08:00 and 18:00. You will be able to speak directly to an agent who can quickly search a range of test centres for any upcoming tests. The more you call the contact centre the greater chance you stand of picking up a cancellation (even if this means 15 times per day) There is no best time to call, however the lines are at their least busiest between the hours of 08:00 to 09:00 and 17:00 to 18:00. You can take a test anywhere in the country (as long as you can get there, and you do not need to take your instructor- although you will still need to provide a vehicle – read on for further information about this) (include options information here) Quite often you could call up and they might have a cancellation for later on that very day – BE PREPARED, have a backup plan if your instructor is not going to be available, you will need to make a decision there and then. If you agree to take this type of test and then hang up there is no going back, you will either need to take the test – or face losing the test fee.
Go Online - By using the online service you are gaining access to exact same information what the call operators can see. The online service is available from 06:00 to midnight, and is what is known as a live system, so as soon as somebody cancels their test (either online or over the phone) it will show up instantly on the page. Because this is a live system it is quite common for availability to change minute by minute, which is why it is a good idea to check as often as you can through the day and evening. *IMPORTANT – when you do find a suitable date you will need to follow the steps all the way through, you will need to ‘confirm’ all of the changes and then ‘save’ all of the changes – only when you receive a new email confirmation can you assume your test has been successfully changed over – this has caught out many people and will cause you to lose your test fee
IVR System – A simple way to check for cancellations without having to speak to an operator. You will need to call the national booking number shown above and then (insert options information) you will hear an automated voice that will check availability at your chosen test centre, and you can then change this test by reading out information through your telephone, such as yes & no commands. (THE IVR WILL SHOW THE SAME DATES AS THE ONLINE SERVICE AND THE CALLCENTRE)
If you have a friend or relative who also has their driving test booked for an earlier date than yours – it is possible to swap your date and time with them, which basically means you will sit your test at their original chosen date and time, and vice versa. This can only be auctioned by calling the call centre, and the agents will be more than happy to help. If you do not know anybody who has their test booked for an earlier date than your – just ask your instructor, the chances are they will have a candidate who is not quite ready to take their test and you could take their place.
Taking your test at a weekend (Saturday & Sunday)
Naturally this would be a great option for candidate’s who work during the week or cannot get time off work so easily – such as school teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses etc etc.
Weekend test availability often available, you will need to either check online or call the call centre for this. The DSA examiners work Monday to Friday, and can chose if they wish to work overtime on a Saturday or Sunday, quite often this will only be available at test centre’s where the current waiting list is over 6 weeks (which is most test centre’s) A weekend test costs £75, if you have already paid the standard £62 for your test you will need to pay the extra £13 over the phone(ensure the cardholder is present) or online. If you were to then revert back to a weekday test you would receive a refund of £13 back onto the original card. It is a good idea to make sure your instructor is available, however if you read on you will discover there are more options available to you.
3rd Party cancellation checker
There are website’s out there that will claim to constantly check for cancellations for you if you pay a one off fee of around £20, do not sign up to these. The DSA has recently introduced enforcements to their website (December 2010) which no longer allows its website to be scanned by 3rd party software.
DO NOT sign up to any 3rd party websites, because they can never guarantee you a cancellation, they will just charge you for something you can do yourself, and by the time they can inform you that there is a cancellation – the chances are it has already been taken (due to it being a live system)
Taking the test
A lot of people believe that they must take their test at their local test centre, and that it must be taken in the instructor’s car – this is far from the truth, there are many options you can look at as listed below.
If you have found a cancellation but your instructor is not available for the test you can consider taking the test in a friend or family members car (see vehicle requirements below), a hired vehicle (see hire vehicles below) or even calling a different driving instructor to see if they can take you to your test (they will normally only do this if you agree to pay for a 1 or 2 hour lesson before your test, but would it be worth it if you passed? I think so….
Whoever does take you to your test must be over 21 years old, and have held their FULL UK/License for 3 years or more.
Hire a car for your test
You can also use a hire car for the test, you MUST ensure that the hire car has dual controls (just like your driving instructors car) If your hire car is not fitted with dual controls you will not be allowed to take your test and you will lose your fee. Companies such as Arnold Clark are able to supply these cars. But please speak to your local hire car company and they will put you in the right direction.
How to make sure your test WILL go ahead
There are several things you need to be aware of, things that have cost test candidates in the past collectively millions of pounds. (put something comical here)
• Ensure you arrive at the test centre at least 10 to 15 minutes before the test is due to start, allowing extra time for traffic. If you arrive late to your test you will lose your fee and have to pay again, there is no way around this.
• Ensure you bring all of your documents to the test centre (Photo card, counterpart & theory certificate) If you have lost your certificate just call the booking number above and they will confirm that they have a record of the pass (in that case no certificate will be required at the test centre) If you do not take the correct documents to the test centre you will lose your fee and have to pay again, there is no way around this.
• Ensure the vehicle tyres are all within legal limits, ensure that all indicators, side lights, brake lights are in FULL working order, if any of these are not working correctly you will lose your fee and have to pay again.
• Ensure the dashboard has no error lights, such as airbag warning, low oil warning, if any of these are displayed the examiner is within his/her rights to terminate the test as the vehicle is not in roadworthy condition, you will also lose your fee and have to pay again (getting bored of hearing this aren’t you)
Taking your own vehicle to the test centre (or a friend or relatives car)
**THIS DOES NOT NEED TO BE A DUAL CONTROL VEHICLE** (that rule only applies to hire cars)
You are allowed to take your driving test in your own vehicle, or even a family member or friends car, however there are certain criteria that MUST be met, otherwise your test will not take place and you will lose your fee.
The vehicle must be in roadworthy condition and:
• Be fitted with a passenger side headrest (most cars have them)
• Have valid tax, MOT if older than 3 years, and you must be insured on the vehicle (the insurance document is not required at the test centre, although you will be required to sign a waiver confirming that you are insured on the vehicle.
You must supply an extra rearview mirror and hand this to the examiner, who will place this on the windscreen so he/she can see out of the rear of the car, these are available from car accessory stores such as Halfords, Motor world etc for around £5.
You will also need to check to see if your vehicle has ever been subject to a vehicle recall. If there has been a previous problem with the car and it has not been corrected by the dealership the test cannot go ahead. You can view the entire list of vehicle recalls by visiting (include link here) or if you call the national booking number above they can check this for you. Remember that if somebody other than your instructor is taking you to the test centre they must be over 21 and held their license for 3 years or more.
There are some vehicles that are deemed unsuitable for testing, such as Ford Ka Convertible, Mini Convertible and VW Beetle convertible, this is because these cars to not have full all-round viewing access, and no – you cannot take your test in a convertible with the roof down.
Information about changing your test
The DSA require 3 clear working days notice from you if you wish to change or cancel your test, for example if your test is on Friday 21 January, then you will need to change your test on or before Monday 17 January, notice how there are 3 clear working days between the two dates, thousands of people have been caught out by this, and have lost their test fee, not a money making scheme by the DSA, but this is their policy. Sunday is not classed as a working day, neither are bank holidays, Saturdays are classed as a working day.
I have failed my test – what next?
If you have failed your test you can book your test as soon as you get back into your house, but you must wait 10 clear working days until you can take your test. If you are rebooking your test online remember to use the www.direct.gov webpages, thousands or candidates have been caught out and gone onto 3rd party webpages and been charged upto £83 for a standard test (the DSA will only charge you £62 for a standard weekday test, or £75 for a weekend test. I would strongly advise you to just book the next available date, and then concentrate on finding an earlier date, this way if you do not manage to find a cancellation you will at least have your original date to fall back on.
My test has been cancelled by the DSA – what can I do?
If your test has been cancelled by the DSA you will be automatically booked into the next available date, the staff will always try to find you the earliest date possible, but if there is simply nothing available then don’t be too surprised if you are booked in for a test which is another 3 months away. You will be required use one of the 3 options in order to try and find an earlier date, sucks doesn’t it – but there is nothing that can be done. If your test has been cancelled because of examiner unavailability and you have not been given 3 clear working days notice – you are entitled to Compensation, in the form of an out of pocket expenses form, this form can be downloaded by following this like (insert link) – you will need to print the form and send it to the address at the bottom of this document, they will only normally pay you for the cost of a lesson before your test, the cost of your instructors car during the test, and any UNPAID leave you have taken from your employer. If the test has been cancelled as a direct result of adverse weather – no compensation will be paid at all – as this is not the fault of the DSA.
DSA CONTACT DETAILS
DSA Call centre – 0300 200 1122 (calls charged at)
Driving Standards Agency
PO BOX 280
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
EMAIL – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions about the content of this email you will need to contact the DSA directly
This document is NOT produced by the DRIVING STANDARDS AGENCY; therefore it is subject to change.