RAC Cars News


DVLA Increases Profits From Selling Driver Details

By raccars Published

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The DVLA has doubled the amount of money it makes from selling private driver information to almost £22 million over the last four and a half years. The DVLA passes on drivers' contact information to parking enforcement firms for a fee.

The amount raised by the DVLA in this practice has risen every year and is predicted to reach £7.3 million in 2014. £4.3 million was raised this way from April to October this year. The DVLA sells driver names, addresses and vehicle details to companies trying to track down motorists to issue and receive fines.

In 2013 the DVLA earned £6 million by selling personal data, more than twice the £2.9 million it made in the 2010-2011 period. Earnings for 2011-2012 reached £3.7 million, going up to £4.8 million for 2012-2013 for a total of £21.7 million over four and a half years.

The DVLA sells the data to approved firms for £2.50. Based upon the earnings posted, this means the details of nearly 8.7 million car owners have been released in that time. 31 different firms have bought data from the DVLA in this time, but a number of them have been criticised for bullying behaviour with motorists.

The biggest spender was Parking Eye, spending over £7 million to buy driver data from the DVLA. The same firm was taken to court earlier this year for issuing a fine to a driver for cicrcling a car park in search of a space, and lost its case. Excel Parking has paid the DVLA £1.1 million for driver information and has been a target of BBC One's consumer affairs programme Watchdog for behaving unfairly and has been accused of ignoring court rulings relating to its signage.

Observices, another parking enforcement firm, has admitted to misleading motorists, which resulted in a fine. Nonetheless the company has continued to spend a further £66,000 with the DVLA in exchange for driver data.

The DVLA was obliged to release the figures relating to earnings from selling driver data after a freedom of information request. In response the agency claimed that it does not profit from the data sales and that the money raised is used to cover the cost of administration related to the transaction. The agency also pointed out that landowners have a right to motorists' data in the case of a breach of contract in order to pursue their legal rights.

The DVLA was also keen to reassure car owners that it enforces the security of its electronic database strictly.

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