Do I have to pay extra road tax on my new car?

A reader's new car wasn't registered in March due to the coronavirus lockdown and now its road tax costs hundreds more. Does she have to pay it?...

2021 Mini Countryman front

I was due to collect a new Mini Countryman from a dealer in the Stratstone Group on 27 March, but the showroom closed before this date due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The dealer has now reopened and contacted me to say that the price has increased by £330 because the car wasn’t registered before 1 April, so a new, higher rate of road tax is payable on it.

It feels like I’m being penalised because I and the dealership adhered to lockdown guidance. Have you been contacted by readers in a similar situation and can you offer me any guidance?

The dealer has said it is happy to refund my deposit if I no longer want to go ahead with the deal.

Rachel Grant

What Car? says...

The increases in vehicle excise duty (VED) that took effect from 1 April this year were announced by the Government well before the coronavirus outbreak, so it’s not something that has been done recently to add extra cost to new cars. However, we understand that it might come as a nasty surprise for car buyers. 

We have heard from some other people in a similar position, but the dealers in these cases have absorbed the cost of the VED increase rather than asking the customer to pay for it. 

If your car wasn't ordered with unusual options and you would be happy to consider a different Countryman, you could check out the deals on offer at other dealerships, and online through the New Car Buying section of our website, to see if you can get a bigger discount elsewhere that will compensate for the higher VED. However, if the ordered car is a particular spec and has options on it that are important to you, we'd suggest talking to the dealer to see if it can offer something, such as a service pack or extras, that make up for the extra cost. 

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