I had the same problem last week: could only buy a permit costing £440. Couldn’t get through by phone. However yesterday the website was working. But the permit has not yet been confirmed: they have to check the car and residency details and get back to me. Am a bit worried because I’m on holiday without my car.
Hi everyone the website is working now and I successfully obtained my permit this weekend. You need to upload proof of address and car ownership so it helps to have those available scanned or as photos (small) before you start the application. You can use council tax/utility bill, and VC5 for the car. They check your application then get back to you to request payment. You can buy visitors scratchcards too on the same site. Hope helpful, Charlotte