What should you do if you disagree with a decision to issue a PG9 (prohibition) or a failure to pass a vehicle at annual test (MOT)?
Most operators will have at some point, disagreed with the issue of a PG9 and/or failure to issue annual test certificate, but very few people know what to do about it.
Both PG9s and annual test failure have a significant impact on your Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) and ultimately upon the traffic commissioners’ view of how compliant you are. If the traffic commissioner thinks you’re not keeping your vehicles and trailers fit and roadworthy, you’ll find yourself at a public inquiry where they’ll consider whether your licence should be revoked, curtailed suspended etc.
Just like everyone else, DVSA (VOSA) examiners occasionally get things wrong, but when they do, it can have a huge impact on your business. Depending on the particular defect, it may be a matter of opinion of whether the defect is serious to warrants a PG9 rather than an advisory. Of course, all examiners must work in accordance with the categorisation of defects criteria, but as it’s such a lengthy and complex document, it’s hard to remember every detail, so even DVSA can get it wrong.
In addition, we’ve seen instances where it is likely that the vehicle has actually obtained the defect during the testing procedure (for example when jacking up a vehicle), but a PG9 has still been issued and a pass refused.
We’ve also seen cases where a PG9 has been issued by one examiner, only to be removed by another, without any rectification work having been undertaken.
So what is the procedure for appealing PG9s & MOTs?
Well unfortunately, the law does not provide for a statutory appeal against the issue of a prohibition. There is a right of appeal against a decision not to lift a prohibition. The address to write to is written out on the back of the PG9 Notice.
DVSA does have a formal complaints procedure for where there is no right of appeal. The procedure is mentioned on the back of the PG9 Notice although few people realise this. The PG9 Notice should be handed to the driver at the time the prohibition is issued. A copy should also be sent to the operator.
The reverse of the notice basically directs operators to follow the complaints procedure on the DVSA website at www.gov.uk/dvsa. However if you go to the website you then have to hunt for the information about complaints. The extent of the guidance can be found here. As you will see, it simply provides an email and phone number to complain to and nothing further.
The problem is that the procedure is vague and takes time. It may require you to keep your vehicle off the road and in the exact same condition it was when the prohibition is issued, in order for it to be re-examined. In reality, this is not always practical for operators who will want the vehicle back on the road as soon as possible. In order to do that, the PG9 will need to be lifted.
Whilst it may not be financially viable to keep your vehicle off the road for a long period, it’s really important that you still lodge a complaint if you feel the PG9 was issued incorrectly. At least this way, if you’re ever asked about it by a traffic commissioner, the fact you’ve complained will help to evidence your belief that the notice was wrongly issued. Ensure you gather as much evidence as possible to submit with your complaint ie. photographs and a detailed explanation of the issue.
We also advise that you make the examiner aware that you disagree at the time he/she issues the PG9. Ask for a second opinion there and then and if it’s not offered, make a note of this so you can refer to it in your complaint.
Please note that you must ensure that the PG9 has been lifted before taking it on the road otherwise you will have committed an offence.