The DVLA has not confirmed it owns your car

19 June 2024
What was claimed

The DVLA has confirmed it owns “your cars”.

Our verdict

The DVLA has not said this. Registering a vehicle with the DVLA does not mean the agency gains ownership of the vehicle. The Secretary of State for Transport technically owns registration numbers, but not the physical number plates or the vehicles.

Thousands of people have shared a clip on Facebook that falsely claims the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) owns “your cars”.

The DVLA is a government agency sponsored by the Department for Transport, and is responsible for holding driver and vehicle records. The clip, which has more than 9,000 shares, shows a slideshow of images supposedly relating to the DVLA and a group called Just an Ordinary Citizen, which is described on its website as standing for “truth and justice”. 

Overlaid text on the clip says: “DVLA confirm they are your cars owner [sic]”, with the caption: “Take back control and ownership of your vehicle.” 

The audio appears to be a recording of a genuine conversation between a member of the public and a DVLA employee, but the DVLA employee does not say anything about the agency owning people’s cars. 

While it is a legal requirement to register vehicles with the DVLA—which enables vehicles to be taxed, as well as for road safety and law enforcement purposes—a spokesperson for the DVLA told Full Fact: “Registering a vehicle with DVLA does not give ownership of the vehicle to DVLA.” 

The apparent DVLA employee in the recording does say that “all number plates for any vehicle registered in the UK are officially and legally owned by the DVLA”. However the DVLA confirmed to Full Fact that it is the registration numbers, rather than the physical number plates, that are technically owned by the Secretary of State for Transport. 

They said: “Vehicle registration numbers are effectively the property of the Secretary of State and may be withdrawn at any time.”

The man phoning the DVLA in the recording mentions the vehicle’s “manufacturer certificate”, which appears to be referring to a certificate of conformity (CoC).

The CoC is a document issued by a manufacturer that certifies that a vehicle has been “manufactured in conformity with type approval standards”, such as relevant safety and environmental regulations.

The DVLA requires this evidence for registering the vehicle, but that does not mean it becomes the vehicle’s owner.

As the apparent DVLA employee explains over the phone, it is possible to request the original CoC back once the car has been registered using a form available on the government website. 

This is not the first time we’ve seen false claims relating to concerns over personal ownership, including that the World Economic Forum (WEF) said private vehicle ownership should be restricted to ‘elites’ and property ownership would become ‘unsustainable’

We’ve also previously written about other claims relating to vehicles, including whether it’s an offence to drive in flip flops or with a registration plate upside down

It’s important to consider whether information on social media comes from credible sources before sharing it online.

Image courtesy of Arpingstone

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