There can sometimes be long NCT booking delays in some parts of the country when tying to get a test date. Not having a valid NCT cert can get you 3 instant penalty points if stopped .
The worst period for NCT booking delays is always around December and January – because January is when most people first bought their cars. Cars first registered in 2013 , 2011 , 2009 , 2007 and every year prior to 2007 are due for an NCT in 2017
But – every cloud has a silver lining – delays could mean you might get a free NCT ! ( An NCT test costs €55 Euro ) . In 2015 NCTS had to do 81,000 tests for free because of delays.
This is not a new thing – it has been in the NCTS charter for several years.
According to the NCT customer charter – :
” The customer will be provided with a test free of charge where an appointment cannot be offered within a four week period provided that:
• The Customer has not declined a test appointment (either confirmed or provisional) more than twice, at a centre of their choosing, for the test due at this time
• The Customer has not previously accepted a booking outside of the 4 week period.”
• The test is not overdue by more than 7 days at the time of contacting NCTS
• An appointment has not been offered at least 1 week prior to the test due date.
• The customer has not made specific requests regarding suitable days, times or dates.
• The customer has not declined or rearranged two or more appointments.
• The customer has not failed to attend an appointment.
• The customer has not previously accepted or requested an appointment outside of the four week period.
So – as long as your appointment is at least a week before your due date – it doesn’t matter how many weeks away it is – you won’t get it for free. Also – the free test doesn’t apply if your NCT had expired by more than 7 days when you first contacted NCT.
Don’t accept a booking date online or over the phone which is more than 4 weeks away – because then you will fail the criteria for getting the free test.
In 2015 NCTS had to do 81,000 tests for free because of delays – that is according to the annual review by the RSA – so don’t think it doesn’t happen.
It has been pointed out by NCT that the appointments listed on the NCT website are not a true representation of all the slots available. To get access to all the available appointments they say it is best to phone the call centre, where it is possible to be put on a priority list.
The time and day they offer you might not always suit you 100% – but it has to be at the test centre of your choice.
In the majority of cases – they will eventually come back to you with an appointment that is less than 4 weeks away and therefore it will not be free – but mentioning the FREE NCT should get you an earlier appointment.
In just one week ending 7/12/14 – there were 200 free NCT tests given out because of delays. If you don’t get an appointment within 28 days , starting from the day you asked – then they are obliged to give you a free test.
Of course – one way to avoid your NCT expiring is to book a test well in advance. The NCT Regulations allow for a car to be tested up to 90 days in advance of the current NCT expiry date test due date without affecting the expiry date of the certificate issued.
The NCT Phone Number is 1890 412 413 – (8am-8pm Mon-Thurs; 8am-6pm Friday). You could also try this alternative NCT phone number : 01 4135900 – which will be included in your “free landline calls” if you have such a deal with your phone provider. More here about 1890 Call Costs
Test Within an Hour
The NCT charter also says that customers are entitled to a free test if they have to wait more than 60 minutes after their appointment time before the test begins. (As long as you arrive on time) You will probably need to ask for a refund if this happens – the staff may not just offer it to you.
Plus: If NCTS cancel your test booking and do not give you at least 5 days notice, a new test appointment will be provided free of charge.
NCT contact details
Post : The Booking Department , National Car Testing Service Ltd
Citywest Business Campus ,Lake Drive 3026 ,Naas Road ,Dublin 24