Motorists warned of copycat websites charging a premium for DVLA services free on GOV.UK

DVLA is urging motorists to beware of websites that charge a premium for DVLA online services that are cheaper or free on GOV.UK.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 1:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 2:37 pm
DVLA is urging motorists to beware of websites that charge a premium for DVLA online services that are cheaper or free on GOV.UK.
DVLA is urging motorists to beware of websites that charge a premium for DVLA online services that are cheaper or free on GOV.UK.

The agency is reminding motorists that they should always use GOV.UK, to be sure they are dealing directly with DVLA and not paying more than they need to.

This comes as new figures released today show that since January 2020, DVLA has been contacted by customers more than 1,200 times about websites that are not affiliated with DVLA but which purport to offer DVLA-related services.

Using any website other than GOV.UK can mean motorists are charged more for services that are either cheaper or completely free on GOV.UK, such as changing the address on your driving licence or V5C vehicle registration certificate, and renewing a driving licence from age 70.

Applying online will always be the quickest, easiest and often cheapest way to transact with DVLA – and by going to GOV.UK motorists can be sure their application is safe and secure. Find further information on the services available on GOV.UK.

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 and can be sure that you’re dealing with us directly.

Guy Anker, deputy editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, 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.

"These services are usually free or much cheaper if you do it yourself, which can leave a very sour taste."

The obvious red flag that you’re on a copycat site is if you’re being charged for something that’s usually free – such as updating your vehicle log book (V5C) when you’ve changed your address.

Another tell-tale 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 firms have been spoted 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.