Consumer Skills

03rd August 2020

Coronavirus: Impact to Services in Northern Ireland

Information about the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) to general services in Northern Ireland, such as MOT centres.

The information on this page was last updated on 3 August 2020.

Consumer Advice

Belfast City Council's Consumer Advice Service is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

If you have any consumer queries or complaints relating to water, electricity, transport (including flights), post and parking please contact The Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or [email protected].

MOT test centres

All MOT test centres are currently closed for all vehicle testing. A one-year MOT temporary exemption certificate (TEC) will be processed automatically from Monday 11 May. This means that owners of all eligible cars, goods vehicles, trailers and motorcycles, will no longer have to book and pay for an MOT appointment in order to get a TEC. TECs will be applied to eligible vehicles for up to one year from the date the vehicle was due to be tested. Any appointments in the system will now be cancelled and refunds issued. Due to the volume of refunds being processed, this is taking longer than usual. Separate arrangements are already in place for taxis and buses, allowing vehicle licences to be renewed without the requirement for prior testing.

Update 22 June 2020: It has been announced that the DVA is planning a phased return of MOT and driving testing services. From 20 July, the DVA plans to resume MOT testing for priority vehicle groups, including those vehicles that are not able to avail of Temporary Exemption Certificates (TECs). This includes taxis and buses due a first time test; vehicles not previously registered in Northern Ireland; vehicles whose MOTs have expired by more than 12 months that includes vehicles previously declared SORN and those sold by car dealerships. Read more here

Update 28 July 2020: Car and lorry driving tests will resume from 1 September 2020. MOT testing will also resume from 1 September 2020. Driving tests for key workers and those who have had their tests cancelled will take priority. 

Action on Hearing Loss

Action on Hearing Loss is currently unable to offer face-to-face services. This includes their Information Service, Hearing Aid Support Service, Tinnitus Support Service and Employment Service.  They will still continue to support people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus via phone, email and text and they are currently exploring options for video calls.  They can also post out hearing aid batteries where possible.  They have updated the contact details for all their services on their website so you know who to contact for support.

Download their leaflet here or click here for further contact details. 

Communication problems due to face masks  

COVID-19 poses unique challenges for communicating, as many of those with hearing loss rely on visual cues, such as lip-reading and facial expression, for communication. This visual information is lost when someone is on a telephone or wearing a mask.

In order to adapt to overcome this barrier we may need to adapt to new ways of communicating and using additional resources in order to communicate effectively. 

Action on Hearing Loss are pleased to offer FREE online talk ‘Overcoming Communication Barriers during COVID-19’  to groups and organisations working with older people and people with hearing loss. It can be delivered via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another online platform that is suitable for you.

To book or for further information you can contact [email protected] or 028 9023 9619