The DVLA is encouraging people of all driving ages to beware of phony websites that charge for online services that are cheaper or free on the DVLA’s GOV.UK website. According to a recent press release the DVLA “has been contacted more than 1,200 times since January 2020 by customers who have paid more for services than they need to be, by using bogus or unaffiliated websites.”
Changing the address on your driving licence or V5C vehicle registration certificate and renewing a driving licence from age 70, are all cheaper or free on the Gov.UK website. Not only that but it will also be the quickest most efficient route to getting things done. As well as ensuring that your confidential data remains just that, private.
In their press release, Julie Lennard, DVLA Chief Executive, said:
“GOV.UK is the only site where customers will find our official services, many of which are free. You may be charged a premium when using other websites offering services that are not connected to DVLA.
We recommend you always double check you’re using GOV.UK when accessing our online services or looking for information. This means you won’t be paying more than you need to for services that are cheaper or free of charge on GOV.UK and can be sure that you’re dealing with us directly.”
Guy Anker, deputy editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, added:
“These copycat sites aren’t illegal, but they dress up like legitimate webpages, and use clever tricks to appear higher on search engines. They get you to fill in forms, which requires no more work on your part than if you’d done it yourself via the official sites, and then they overcharge you for ‘administration’ or ‘services’ – which is really just passing it to the relevant body, with no extra work involved. These services are usually free or much cheaper if you do it yourself, which can leave a very sour taste.”
So, what are the tell-tale signs, well one obvious warning sign is being charged, in the first place, for something that you would usually expect to be free “such as updating your vehicle logbook (V5C) when you’ve changed your address. Another sign is the web address, so if you should be on a government website, carefully inspect it to make sure it says GOV.UK. It’s also worth knowing the true price of a paid-for service – in the past we’ve spotted firms offering ‘checking services’ for driving licence renewals at a cost of £60, more than four times the £14 it costs to do it through GOV.UK.”
So, Boldies when in doubt always check the official website.