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 2018 , 2016 , 2014 , 2012 and every year prior to 2012 are due for an NCT in 2022

Free NCT Test if Delayed

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 – :

You will be provided with a test, free of charge, where an appointment cannot be offered within a 28 day period, unless any of the following apply:

the test is overdue by more than 7 days at the time of contacting us;

an appointment was offered 7 days or more prior to the test due date;

you have made specific requests regarding suitable days, times or dates;

you have declined or rearranged two or more appointments;

you have failed to attend an appointment; or

you have previously accepted or requested an appointment outside of the 28 day 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.

NCT contact details


Post : The Booking Department , National Car Testing Service Ltd

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

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One thought on “NCT Booking Delays : How to Get a Free NCT

  1. 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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