Background

Misleading Advertising: D Smith breaks the UK advertising rules for misleadingly implying on several websites that they offer an official contact phone number for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, when it is in fact a call-forwarding service that charges a premium to connect the call through to the DVLA.

To contact the DVLA, consumers can call for free on 0300 790 6802 or find other contact details via https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/driver-and-vehicle-licensing-agency.

In July 2015 the Compliance team wrote guidance about the advertising of call-forwarding services and specifically what advertisers needed to do to comply with the Code. In summary, call-forwarding services should make clear they provide a call-forwarding service rather than an official number for third-party services.

The following websites use the same 0844 number and fail to make sufficiently clear it is offering a call-forwarding service rather than official customer service number:

  • Contactthedvla.co.uk
  • dvla-contact-number.co.uk
  • talk-tax.co.uk
  • number-helpline.co.uk

In order to comply with the Code, the websites should remove all misleading claims that they offer an official number and make expressly clear alongside their own numbers (1) that they are not affiliated to the DVLA and (2) they offer a call-forwarding service.

The CAP Compliance team contacted D Smith but, in the absence of a response, we took the decision on 13 April 2018 (updated on 18 May 2018) to place their company details on this section of the ASA website. These details shall remain in place until such time as D Smith has removed or appropriately amended contactthedvla.co.uk to ensure compliance with the CAP Code.


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