NCT Booking Delays : How to Get a Free NCT

There can sometimes be  long NCT booking delays in some parts of the country when tying to get a test date.  The worst period  for NCT booking  delays seems to be around December and January – because  January is when most people first bought their  cars. According to the RSA – the average wait for a test booking in 2018 was 5.4 days.

Cars first registered in 2016 , 2014 , 2012 , 2010 and every year prior to 2010 are due for an NCT in 2020

Free NCT Test if Delayed

Covid-19 All NCT tests are suspended and all NCT certs due to expire on or after 28 March 2020 now have had the test date extended by 4 months .

The information below does not apply while NCT centres are closed because of Covid-19

An NCT test costs €55 Euro  – but delays in getting an NCT could mean you might get a free Test . This is not a new thing – it has been in the NCTS customer charter for several years. This is probably why  NCT tests have not been suspended because of the problems with the lifting equipment in Jan 2020. If they did suspend the NCT tests it would probaby cost them thousands of Euros in delay  claims.

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 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 – if you’re given an appointment which 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. If that is all they offer you – then point out that it must be free according to their charter.

In 2015 NCTS had to do 81,000 tests for free because of delays – (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 sometimes 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.
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.

The NCT Bookings Phone Number is   01 413 5992 – (Monday-Thursday 8am to 8pm, Friday: 8am -6pm).


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 for test bookings  is   01 413 5992 – (Monday-Thursday 8am to 8pm, Friday: 8am -6pm).

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.

More Money saving Tips and Discounts Here

NCT contact details


Post : The Booking Department , National Car Testing Service Ltd

Citywest Business Campus ,Lake Drive 3026 ,Naas Road ,Dublin 24

Just for information :     Applus Car Testing Service Ltd (ACTS) recorded an operating profit in 2017 of year of €6,761,671  .  Pre tax profits in the year were €7,582,359.

3 thoughts on “NCT Booking Delays : How to Get a Free NCT

  1. Thats some great information, Its always good to know your rights and €55 would be a nice saving. Also getting booked in for a test quicker.

  2. “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.” So how to agree to booking date to get that free NCT if they can only offer a date that is more than 4 weeks away?

    • Hi Mag – if thay offer you an appointment more than 4 weeks in the future – just tell them that it will have to be free. If they refuse – then complain . You can contact he National Car Testing Service for a customer complaints form.

      Phone: 014135994 (Monday – Friday: 9am – 4pm)

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