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Old Jul 19th 2017, 12:33 am   #1
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Default HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

Hi!

Long time lurker first time question asker.

I have a rather complex dilemma on my hands with regards to a stranded van in France.

I used to live in France in Tignes in Savoie. I am British and hold no sort of French citizenship but used to have a French bank account and live there full time etc. albeit being paid by an English company. (Not entirely relevant, but it adds context.)

I bought a Citroen Berlingo van in the UK on a visit home with the intention of exporting/re-registering onto French plates, therefore my intention was the keep the van on English tax/reg for 6 months while I accrued the necessary funds/paperwork for the switch. I was advised to SORN the van in the UK, however through recent further reading it seems that advise was totally incorrect, sadly too late and complicating the situation even further.

Due to unforeseen circumstances (a bad knee injury, won't go into it) I was unable to begin the process and subsequently left France.
By this time, my UK tax and MOT had both expired and the van was, in UK eyes, off the road. It remained completely unknown to the French system as I had got a Certificat de Conformite and no further. So, without any other option, I had to leave the van parked in an undergound car park in Tignes, stranded, neither registered in France or the UK, which is where it has remained for the last year.

What i am trying to ascertain is whether there is any way of getting the van back to the UK to be re-registered without breaking a law (UK or French) or incurring a cost so large it isn't worth it? The van only cost me £1000 in the first place so the loss isn't huge however as things stand it's just sat in France still being a ghost van, which isn't much of a better outcome and I'm worried that I'm still somehow at the mercy of the DVLA.

I have read various conflicting opinions all over various sites on the legality/riskiness of driving with a pre-booked MOT in Dover but I have no idea and am not willing to risk a massive fine or worse being arrested.

HELP!! All advice/experience appreciated.
Thanks you for your time, sorry about my extensive rambling but as you can tell, it's pretty confusing!

Tom
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 3:19 am   #2
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

My only suggestion is to trailer it back to the UK , then get MOT etc. Trouble is that it will likely cost a few hundred pounds to get it back. Do you have a friend with a trailer who would like a few days holiday in France and bring it back for you?
Scrapping it in France may be a no no if it technically does not exist but maybe one of our members living in France can offer some better advice?
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 12:28 pm   #3
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

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Originally Posted by TomHeath View Post
Hi!

So, without any other option, I had to leave the van parked in an undergound car park in Tignes, stranded, neither registered in France or the UK, which is where it has remained for the last year.


Tom
Do you have someone checking on that? I'd expect it to have been towed away by now and probably have ended up with a scrap merchant.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 1:53 pm   #4
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

I take it from your post that you did the change of ownership in the UK and then declared the van SORN, is that correct? But you also talk about it being unregistered, and needing to re-register it. I don't suppose it makes any practical difference to your situation as a SORN'd vehicle can't legally be driven on the roads, but for the sake of clarity I think you need to distinguish in your own mind between a vehicle that is still registered and is on the system but has been taken off the road, and a vehicle that is currently unregistered and needs registering to get it back into the system. AFAIK the only way to un-register a vehicle from DVLA is to scrap it or to export it and register it in another country, and you clearly haven't done either of these things therefore presumably it is still registered. Why do you think it is not?
You can easily check online and see what its status is.
PS Is this underground car park a pay-to-park car park? However much would it cost to get it out????
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 2:55 pm   #5
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

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Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
I take it from your post that you did the change of ownership in the UK and then declared the van SORN, is that correct? But you also talk about it being unregistered, and needing to re-register it. I don't suppose it makes any practical difference to your situation as a SORN'd vehicle can't legally be driven on the roads, but for the sake of clarity I think you need to distinguish in your own mind between a vehicle that is still registered and is on the system but has been taken off the road, and a vehicle that is currently unregistered and needs registering to get it back into the system. AFAIK the only way to un-register a vehicle from DVLA is to scrap it or to export it and register it in another country, and you clearly haven't done either of these things therefore presumably it is still registered. Why do you think it is not?
You can easily check online and see what its status is.
PS Is this underground car park a pay-to-park car park? However much would it cost to get it out????
I apologise for the confusion, it is on a SORN and I never sent through the export papers to Swansea as my injury occurred midway through the winter (my intention had been to go through the process of changing it during the subsequent summer.) The car park is free access in summer and unmanned in winter so the van should have remained there, and to my knowledge has. The keys were left with a friend of mine in town.

The only possibility it seems would be a flatbed truck but I fear this would end up costing more than the van is worth.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 3:59 pm   #6
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

As a secondary problem, it may be somewhere between difficult and impossible to sell it for scrap as it is impossible to tell, from a French scrap dealer's perspective, that it hasn't been stolen.

EU laws in this area have got very tight, to discourage international theft of vehicles, and this issue has been discussed several times here on BE - that selling, including scrapping, a vehicle in a country where the vehicle is not registered is extremely difficult without the current owner first going through the step of registering it locally.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 7:40 pm   #7
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

Can't you pay the MOT in the UK?
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 7:50 pm   #8
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

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Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Can't you pay the MOT in the UK?
It's in Tignes in the French alps, so not MOTable.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 7:57 pm   #9
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

Ok, I saw that it had SORN and then he said the MOT expired. So that means he has to go get an MOT done?

Didn't we have a similar question before from someone? I think in the end they just drove it and got the mot done asap.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 8:24 pm   #10
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Default Re: HELP/ADVICE NEEDED - Very Complicated Van Situation

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Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Ok, I saw that it had SORN and then he said the MOT expired. So that means he has to go get an MOT done?

Didn't we have a similar question before from someone? I think in the end they just drove it and got the mot done asap.
Yeah, it's not the first time, but it leads to a very sketchy situation when the vehicle has been SORNed/deregistered in the UK and not yet registered in France - driving it home when it isn't properly registered, and certainly isn't currently MOTed, probably makes it uninsurable.

Clearly the deregistration in the UK and registration locally should be done as close together as possible, in other words don't deregister in the UK until you are actually ready to register in the country you have taken it to, or even afterwards if that is possible.
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