Learner drivers are being charged £200 to buy a test drive – more than double the initial fee – from people who bought slots wholesale to sell for profit. The lockdown has seen driving tests cancelled, meaning there are now up to six months of waiting to book a test in some places.
A woman told the BBC she paid £210 for a test through her instructor. The standard fee is £62 for a test on weekdays and £75 on evenings, weekends and public holidays.
The woman said: “My driving instructor was calling me and saying, ‘Quick, there’s a cancellation, do you want it? The day we booked my test, it was all over in a three or four minute phone call.”
After paying, she received a reference number allowing her to modify the test booking with her own details. Another driver said his instructor paid £235 for his test.
The BBC found companies using automated software to search for canceled slots to resell, and several Facebook posts offering test times for sale. One person said he made hundreds of pounds a week reselling tests.
Learners only have access to part of the DVSA site where they can book one test at a time, but driving schools have more access allowing bookings for multiple slots. The BBC said she had registered as a fake driving school and had access to the “extra” section.
They say it took five minutes to register as a driving school with no verification or paperwork. The driving school section of the site will send you an alert when slots become available, and the slots can be exchanged with another learner after they have been booked.
Charles Moffat, chairman of the National Joint Council of Certified Driving Instructors, told the BBC: ‘We abhor such practice and will always report such conduct to the DVSA.
The DVSA said: “We urge applicants not to use third-party cancellation verification services and always go through the official DVSA website.
“We already have measures in place to monitor and prevent bots from accessing our systems, while strengthening our firewall to address the issue.”
He said new tests were released on Monday at 6 a.m. 24 weeks in advance.