If you are not satisfied with the service you have received, ask to speak to the office or centre manager as they can deal with most complaints quickly and informally.
If your complaint is not resolved informally, you can make a formal complaint. DVA aims to reply to formal complaints within 10 working days.
Make a formal complaint
DVA works within a framework set by law and the decisions made have to be in line with relevant laws. It may not always be possible to meet your expectations.
We have a 3-stage complaints procedure, which means that you have the right to have your complaint reviewed by someone else in DVA, if you are not happy with your responses at Stage 1 and Stage 2 respectively. After the 3 internal stages, you can refer your complaint to the NI Public Services Ombudsman. See further details below.
To make a formal complaint, you can write, email or telephone using the details at the link below:
To help us deal with your complaint you should provide us with as much relevant information as possible including:
- your full name and address
- your date of birth or driver number (if your complaint relates to your driving licence)
- your vehicle's registration number (if your complaint relates to a vehicle or a driving test)
- your daytime contact number (if possible)
- full details of your complaint, including any previous dealings with us about it
All the correspondence you receive from DVA in relation to the complaint will give the contact details of the person who sent them and a reference number.
Your complaint is forwarded to the manager of the section, office or centre that you have been dealing with, to respond in detail to the issue you have raised.
If you are not happy with the reply at Stage one, you can escalate the matter to Stage two and a senior manager responsible for the area of concern will reconsider all the information received from you and the response given at Stage one. Their reply will be reviewed and discussed with the Customer Services Manager, who will issue a Stage 2 reply to you.
If you remain unhappy with the Stage 2 response, or feel that your complaint has not been dealt with fully, you can write to:
The Chief Executive
Driver & Vehicle Agency
148 - 158 Corporation Street
If you are still not satisfied
If you remain dissatisfied with the Agency’s response or how your complaint has been handled, you can refer the matter to the Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is independent and can investigate complaints against government departments and their agencies. The Ombudsman will normally expect you to have exhausted the DVA complaints procedure before considering your complaint.
Sometimes when things go wrong you may be entitled to compensation. DVA will consider a claim for compensation if:
- a test is cancelled for any reason within its control and the notification given is less than one clear working day for vehicle tests and three clear working days for driving tests
- your vehicle is damaged on, or in, DVA property and the Agency is found to be negligent
- the Departmental Solicitor’s Office or Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman recommends that compensation be paid
DVA will not consider compensation if the reason for cancelling a test is outside its control. For example, if a test is cancelled because of bad weather or a power failure. However, every effort will be made to give you a new test date as soon as possible.
DVA aims to:
- make applying for compensation as easy as possible for you
- pay you within 10 working days of your claim being settled
- identify areas where problems often occur and take steps to improve its services
Amount of compensation paid
If the DVA does not give you the accepted period of notification and the reason for cancellation was within its control, you will get an automatic refund of 50 per cent of the test fee, plus a new appointment date.
If the DVA accepts liability, you will get reimbursement of any expenses that arise as a direct result of a cancelled test or a damaged vehicle which are verifiable and reasonably incurred.
If a compensation claim needs to be independently assessed, the Agency will normally pay the amount recommended by the Ombudsman or the DVA Central Claims Unit.
Please note that any costs associated with legal representation or other third parties in undisputed cases will remain the responsibility of the customer.
How to claim compensation
Claims related to the cancellation of tests:
- claims for expenses must be in writing
- where possible, you should provide receipts for any costs you incurred
- the claim and supporting evidence should be submitted to the centre where the test was due to take place
Please note you do not need to claim the 50 per cent of the test fee as this is paid to you automatically.
Claims involving damage to a vehicle:
- you should report it as soon as possible to the Test Centre manager who will inspect the damage or if you have already left the premises, arrange a time for you to return with the vehicle for inspection
- the Test Centre manager will provide you with a claim form
- the claim and a quote from a recognised garage showing the cost of repairing the damage should be returned to the Test Centre manager
Once a claim is received
DVA aims to issue a decision to all formal requests for compensation within 10 working days.
It will thoroughly investigate your claim and examine all evidence available. As part of this process it may be necessary to ask you for additional documentation or information.
You will be informed if additional time is required to investigate your claim.
Still not happy?
If, during or after the processing of a claim, you wish to complain about any aspect of DVA's service or the handling of your claim, you can write to the customer services manager at the link below.
More useful links
- DVA complaints leaflet(external link opens in a new window / tab)
- DVA compensation leaflet - DFI website(external link opens in a new window / tab)
- DVA customer services guide - DFI website (external link opens in a new window / tab)
- Test centre locations
- DVA complaints procedure and form, Irish language version - DFI website(external link opens in a new window / tab)
- DVA Customer Compensation - Irish Language Version (PDF 366KB)