Bizarre & just a bit catch 22

A couple of questions/problems for SFN members to ponder.

Buying from the USA - cost of shipping.

I recently bought a part for an american vehicle online. My experience was almost funny. The part, a handle, cost 63 dollars, weighed 3 lbs & came in a box 38cm x 15cm x 15cm. When I ordered I asked for delivery to France which sent the sales person into confusion. She had no idea where to start! When I suggested taking the handle in a box to the post office she told me that they do not do that, they only use USPS & UPS. I let her know that UPS operate here too so she said that she would find out if it could be done. The following day the answer was yes but it would cost about 100 dollars! As I needed the part I decided to order & was advised that I could order online.

After filling in my card details & order details I came to my address & all was going well until I had to choose a country from a drop down menu. The choices were USA or Canada! I ordered by phone & email & finally got it through. It arrived today.

Costs were - item = $63, shipping $125, TVA sur marchandises (exonere) = 28 euros, frais de dossier = 14 euros, more TVA on the TVA = 2.80.

Just what "special" trade agreement does Europe have with the USA???

Returning to the UK to live.

A friend of mine is returning to the UK shortly & is trying to sort out transport. He has his perfectly valid UK licence which has his old UK address on it but the current occupier (his son) has been accepting any post there. As my friend receives any post sent there it is an acceptable address as far as DVLA are concerned. The problem comes when he tries to get insurance on a UK car. He has rented a house for the time being while he looks for something to buy so alresdy has a tenancy agreement & has his UK bank statement sent there. Quotes for his potential new car seem to go well until he is asked if the address on his licence matches his rental property. Of course, it does not & cover is then refused.

Rob Miles of Direct Line insurance was quoted recently "Millions of drivers have an old name or address on their driving licence, and while this won’t affect their car insurance cover, having incorrect information on their licence puts them at risk of a large fine if their licence is ever checked by the police".

But some companies DO let it affect their cover, despite having 3 other proofs of address. I presumed that they are allowed to ask about your licence & be given the driver number which can then be checked on the DVLA database. This will show all the details except the address! So why are underwriters allowed to force people to change things tosuit themselves?

Another insurer required any new policyholder to have been a UK resident for at least 2 years!!! This makes things impossible as a UK resident (like a french resident) is not allowed to drive a foreign registered car in the UK (there are exceptions). So now insurance companies can effectively ban an innocent motorist from driving! Come on, this cannot be right. I can understand the need for proof of a living address in order to assess the risk of keeping a car in an area but how many proofs of address do they need?

So even changing his address on his licence will not help - which he cannot do until his return & then - well, these are the DVLA requirements -

You need to:

  • have your driving licence
  • be a resident of Great Britain
  • provide addresses of where you’ve lived for the last 3 years
  • have a valid UK passport or other form of identity
  • have your National Insurance number if known
  • not be disqualified from driving

He ought to stay here!

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