DRIVERS have been warned to avoid websites charging up to £80 for licencing services that can be accessed for free.
The DVLA is urging motorists to be aware that many third-party firms charge a premium for services that are cheaper – or even free – on the government’s official website.
Figures published today showed that since January the DVLA has been contacted more than 1,200 times about these type of websites.
Motorists should deal directly with the government’s website to avoid being hit with unnecessary costs.
The Sun found that Vehicle Online Services – a third-party website not affiliated with the government – is billing drivers up to £80 to change the address on their drivers’ licence.
However, this service is completely free through the DVLA.
It’s also free for drivers over the age of 70 to renew their licence – but Vehicle Services Online is charging £80 for this service.
Another copycat firm – Licence Renew Plus – is slapping first-time drivers with a £99 fee for their provisional licence, while it will cost £114 through Vehicle Online Services.
This document costs just £34 when bought through the government’s website.
None of the third-party websites we checked tried to trick customers into thinking they were affiliated with the DVLA.
They also included statements admitting that their services were more expensive than the official channels.
The firms’ websites state that the payments cover the costs of thoroughly checking applicants details before they are submitted to the DVLA to avoid delays.
However, they do appear above the government’s website on Google.
The Sun has contacted both firms and Google for comment.
The DVLA said using the government website will “always be the quickest, easiest and often cheapest way” to access driving licence services.
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.”
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