Up to this point, while it had been vastly more expensive than I had ever imagined, at least it had been relatively straightforward. Basically, bend over and let anybody take a bite out of my ass for as much as they wanted.
Now I actually had to get the piece of paper that would let me ride the bike on the road, the registration document (V5c)
I went online to the official source at the DVSA and found that unlike every other industry in the entire globe it has yet managed to move to an online system. Also, they do not accept payment for processing the registration by any other method than physical cheque or postal order. I haven’t used cheques since I was 14 and even then it was only for the novelty of being an adult. So I don’t own a checkbook, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a postal order!
Grumbling about the prehistoric nature of our bureaucracy I organised myself to go to the post office. I stood in line behind the plebeian masses and when it was my turn, asked the lady behind the counter to provide me with a postal order for £103.04. She said she would be happy to, and that it will only cost me £25… Well that was just plainly ridiculous and I told them so before leaving without a postal order.
Lloyds Bank was just down the road and I thought they would happily write me a cheque for my own money without any hassle. Indeed after spending another 10 minutes in a queue behind a herd of window lickers I was confronted with the most ridiculous of all situations. Lloyds Bank would happily write me a cheque for my £103.04 and they would “only” charge me £40 for the privilege of this one off banker’s cheque. Alternatively I could request they order me an entire cheque book of cheques sent to my home address for free. The lunacy of this stumped me and by the time they had explained it all to me they could have just given me the banker’s cheque for free and been done with it.
But no, bureaucracy prevailed against the headwind of logic and kept a few more worthless people employed to push meaningless and wasteful pieces of paper around a desk… needless to say I took the free cheque book option and waited for a week for it to be delivered.
Collecting the documents together to send to the DVSA was also a complete farse. Try as I might I could not find a concise list of documents on their website. In the end I gave them as much information as I could and hoped that their rejection letter would give me a list of things they needed.
True to form, a rejection letter came back with all my printed documents, my uncashed cheque and a list of things they wanted supplied.
They wanted some normal things like proof of address and driving licence number, import documents and details of registration in New Zealand. These were not a problem and were easily collected.
What was more of a problem was the proof of ownership. I had a sales receipt from the motorcycle dealership where I bought it, but New Zealand has gone fully digital with its record keeping and does not issue paper documents pertaining to vehicle ownership. When you buy and sell a car in New Zealand you simply go to a local government office and convey the new ownership details of the vehicle. These are recorded in the official government system and you’re given an A4 piece of paper as a receipt. I had kept a digital copy of this document but disposed of the original as it had no real meaning. A copy of this document was not acceptable to the DVSA, they wanted the original. The original piece of A4 paper printed with some plain format text anyone could have written…. After several long and circling conversations about this issue they finally accepted that there was no original to be had and that this was all they were going to get.
There was one easy win from the protracted conversations with the DVSA; I found out that I did not require a certificate of conformity for my bike because it was over 10 years old. WINNER! But they did require dating evidence when the bike was manufactured to assign it the correct vehicle registration year. LOSER!
Usually this evidence comes from a certificate of conformity provided by the manufacturer. Without that, you can usually tell the year of manufacture from the VIN number or the registration document. Luckily for me, even after seeing all the documents from New Zealand I had given them, they said that these were not sufficient. They advised me to get in touch with Ducati, and get evidence directly from them.
Now you would be forgiven for thinking this would be easy; phoning up the manufacturer and asking about your own bike. But, after being fobbed off by two separate secretaries I finally found one that was willing to listen to my problem and was sympathetic enough to help. I wrote her an email and included the same information I sent the DVSA proving the VIN number and that the bike was mine. And after only a little prompting and following up I was furnished with a signed letter from Ducati UK stating the bike was supplied from Ducati Bologna on the 16th of June 2004.
Confident that I had picked off all of the requirements, I packed up my documents and the uncashed cheque together again and sent it all back.