Friday, June 01, 2007

Buying the Bus

We had to change our car.

Well actually, to be more precise, we had to sell the family car to pay a bill, back in March. The people who wanted the money refused to accept Hubby's body and were threatening to sell our teddy bears, being the only thing of any value, in huge house with huge mortgage for huge family. At the time I couldn't drive anyway, due to wonky knee syndrome. So by the time that I was able to drive again, I was left driving a mini that I was borrowing from ED, who had bought it for herself, to learn to drive, from her "Orange" earnings. It's a lovely car. For four people. But, as I have five children, we were a little short of spaces. As such, even to drive a few miles with the whole family, we had to take two cars. And given that hubby's car has, as you all know, very high mileage, even that was a bit dodgy...

So, last week we finally took the plunge and bought a seven seater bus style car off EBAY.

We got a good deal.

A very good deal. It had been written off by an insurance company, because of a dent in its tailgate. It only had 72000 miles on the clock, and due to its "written off" status was for sale at approximately half the market value.

So, a week ago hubby and I went down to Devon to collect said car.

"You'll have to get it re registered by VOSA" said the dealer. It does have to be said at this point that "dealer" is possibly a bit of a euphemism, when buying a "write off", with grubby five pound notes, from someone in a yard behind a locked gate...

Especially when as a sideline they do "storage". I did wonder momentarily what was inside the storage boxes on the land.

And so the challenge began. We had no idea who VOSA were, let alone, how to go about sorting through the system. We had a deadline though. We had to get the car into a legal state by this Sunday as (shhh, don't tell her if you are reading this and you know her...) we have a surprise BIG birthday party for my Mum, in Bedford, at my brother's house. So, in order not to drive two cars to Bedford, with five children, three puddings, a joint of pork and a pasta salad, one car being a fifteen year old mini and one car having over 200k on the clock, it was essential that we got the big car re registered.

Hubby drove down to VOSA, who turned out to be the vehicle registering people, in Bristol, on Tuesday. They had promised us the previous Friday that they would let us do the necessary paperwork on Tuesday, and come back on this Friday to get it registered.

Unfortunately, when hubby got there it was a different man. He'd just been on holiday. Clearly not a good holiday as he was in a bad mood.


He said.

"No, No No. I can't help you."

The earliest date he was prepared to offer was next Monday, 4th June.

Hubby rang me.

"Can I ring him?" I said. Hubby seemed to think that it would be futile, but gave me the number nevertheless.

I pleaded charmed, cried, acted well, and sure enough got a date for the car being tested against the possibility of fraud, theft and actually being a car at all, on Thursday at 9.40 a.m.

I rang hubby back, feeling a little smug. Hubby was actually standing in the vast office (three people) with the man, whilst I made the phonecall, so he knew the outcome already...

The man then went away to check out the current status of the car, before officially booking it in for Thursday.

Two minutes later he came back. "Who told you that you needed to do this?" he said to hubby.

"The dealer."

"Well, you don't. The car hasn't been written off yet. You just need a form X1 gobbledygook to fill in, to get a new log book, as opposed to X2 gobbledygook and you'll need to go to the the DVLA office to get it taxed."

So, with this knowledge on board, on Wednesday, Hubby had a work meeting in Bristol, just next door to the DVLA office. After the meeting, he ventured in there armed with form X1 gobbledygook, insurance information (policy document hadn't arrived in post as yet, but policy number was available and car was insured) and the MOT certificate.

"No, sorry." We can't tax it, because you haven't got your insurance document.

"But you know that it's insured said Hubby, because here is the policy number, and you are the DVLA. The number is on your database. We just haven't got the piece of paper in the post yet, because we only bought the car last Friday."

"Sorry, I can't access that information. That's in the Swansea Office" said the DVLA in Bristol.

"Can you not call them and ask them?" said Hubby.

"No, we are not allowed."

"Can I drive to the Swansea Office to get it taxed there?"

"No, we don't offer a counter service in Swansea!"

This time, perhaps a little embarrassed by my performance for the VOSA office, Hubby didn't call me until he was clear of the building.


On to the insurance company, who for a fee of £4 more promised a cover note in the post by recorded delivery on Thursday, the normal delivery time being five to seven working days. (Why did they not offer me that in the first place? I asked. Because it was an extra £4. DID THEY NOT THINK THAT I MIGHT NEED THE DOCUMENT FOR A REASON?!)

On to the DVLA in Swansea to find out where the nearest agent is to here and to establish that IF we got the cover note to them along with form X1 gobbledygook and MOT certificate they would definitely allow us to tax the car there and then....

Was told that there was an office in Kempsey, just a stone's throw away from Hubby's office and that yes they would.

Hubby waited for the post to arrive yesterday morning before setting off for work......................

And yes.

We now have a fully legal and taxed car.

I hope that it's a good party.

p.s. Talking of parties and stuff: Root for Enidd in the Big Blogger House!
Big Blogger 2007


Akelamalu said...

Red Tape - Aaarrrghhh! Glad you got it sorted and well done with your bargain bus. Hope the party goes well. How's the knee?

Sally Lomax said...

Thanks Ak. Knee's much better thanks, but not completely. So off to the consultant on Weds. That will be a blog...

ED said...

Haha I didn't even know it was that much of a palava!

ESOS will love that you have blogged about the 'Loser Cruiser'!

Love ED xx

ps.the piccie you got off google is of 7 random americans by a cardboard cut-out of a bus!

Asha said...

WOW!! What an ordeal to go thru'? Glad you got the car in the end!:))

Lisa said...

Yikes, what a mess! I think you have to have special breeding to work in a Motor Vehicle Department (and not in a good way, either!)

BTW- Haven't tasted the marmite yet, I've had houseguests all week, another post for me, as well! :)

john.g. said...

I'm knackered after reading that! What a performance. The computer age hasn't sunk in with these burocratic arseholes.

meredic said...

I am fascinated to see how She Of The TownHouse is going to get two dogs, Axeman, The Boy and a full shop from Tesco in to her little Mazda.
I hope she isnt thinking of relying on anyone else ;)

Karmyn R said...

What a red taped mess! Sheesh - you think these agencies would have it streamlined.

Sally Lomax said...

Asha - Thanks! So am I!
Lisa - Don't you just1 Enjoy the marmite. I love it - but i like salty things. Best on toast!!
John G - Quite!
Meredic - That will be fun to watch then!
Karmyn - You would wouldn't you!

Akelamalu said...

Oh well good luck for Wednesday, been there know what it's like.

Sally Lomax said...

ED - I liked the piccie from Google. I thought it was funny, and depicted the loser cruiser well. Thank you Google for your images!

headless chicken said...

Jeez if you don't have enough to do,all this hassle to find suitable transport for the Lomax gang!
Have fun at the party.

pierre l said...

Good to hear that you now have transport of appropriate size, but you sure are unlucky with officialdom! But it's good that your knee is improving. I trust you will have your notebook with you on Wednesday so you can tell us all about it (without breaching anyone's privacy, of course).

elena jane said...

now i want to know WHAT sort of 7 person "bus" you have. we have a 7 seater van, and it's a tight fit and mine aren't all grown yet.
glad you got your bus all sorted in the end. hope the weekend party goes wonderfully well and the appt also :)

Wendz said...

Honestly Sally,I don't know of anyone else who suffers so much at the hands of the bureacrats.....but heaveans it makes for a good read.

You have a lot of tenacity - I'd have lost it by now and whizzed through City Hall screaming my head off!

slimmeroftheyea said...

ED DRIVING?????!!!!!! i feel so old now!

Ignorminious said...

Weird to hear someone I've never met blogging about the city I live in and have been in all through this palava!

Glad to hear you got it all sorted with the DVLA nutcases :)

enidd said...

sally, you're at your best when dealing with this kind of madness! and thanks for the plug!

pierre l said...

If my reading of the rules is correct, you can only vote evict people from Big Blogger. Because I don't follow most of the people who are in it (although I have probably read most of them on occasion), my preferred result would be Enidd vs Clare. My soft spot towards Clare is well documented. Having said that, I do love the Sally and Headless Chicken combination.

ChrisB said...

I can't believe all this bureaucracy; if your hubby was at Northleigh House that's practically on my doorstep I would have given him a coffee or something stronger!! Good job you could use your acting talent to good effect and glad it's all sorted.

Pamela said...

I never!!!! that is the worst customer service I've ever heard.

Government jobs???

Sally Lomax said...

HC - Yes! But we had a nice time thank you!
Pierre - Will certainly blog about Piers and friends!
EJ - It's probably one that you would call a van. We tend to call them Space Buses in England, (a form of British exaggeration I guess), but it's actaully a Nissan Serena, which is a simlar size to the Toyota Previa, Renault Espace and various others. Space is still tight for seven to be honest, but not as tight as it was in our previous one which was a Vauxhall Zafira!
Wendz - I think it comes of not ever quite having enough money, rather a lot of children and living in a rural area. (Which is slightly worrying, because one day I would like to have more money, but I'd still like to find things to write about, but don't want to struggle forever just so that I can write about such hassles!
Slimmer - Yes! So do I!
Ig - Yes I'm glad that's over too!
Enidd - Thank you. Looking forward to the next task!
Chris - Thank you! Next time....
Pamela - Government jobs!