Drivers have been issued a warning by the DVLA which could save them facing a bill they would otherwise avoid.
The DVLA, which is based in Swansea, says websites often spring up also offering to help with V5C vehicle registration certificates or renewing a driving licence from the age of 70.
But all of these can actually be done for free on the DVLA website, although that hasn’t stopped some websites from trying to make money at drivers’ expense.
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These secondary websites do genuinely offer the services they advertise – it is just they charge too. Even if the DVLA does charge for a service, copycat websites will ask for even more, according to the Mirror.
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For example, it costs £14 to renew a driving licence on the DVLA website, but up to £60 elsewhere. The DVLA said it had been contacted by 1,200 drivers about the issue since January, 2020. DVLA workers were out on strike recently – you can read more about that here.
MoneySavingExpert deputy editor Guy Anker said: “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.”
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If a website offering DVLA-related services doesn’t have “gov.uk” in the address bar, it’s a red flag that it may charge these extra fees. Another sign is that you are being asked for money for something that was previously free for you – like updating your car’s log book when you move house.
DVLA chief executive Julie Lennard 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.”