DVLA rip-off warning: Sites that charge customers for free services are 'within the law'

DVLA third-party websites charge up to £72 for basic Government services that can be accessed for free or at a cheaper price on the GOV.UK website. The services comply with the regulation because they have a disclaimer and link to the official government website. 

This means they are allowed to continue charging for services as long as they clearly have a reference back to the DVLA’s free services.

The shocking discovery was revealed in a Freedom of Information act request as DVLA chiefs admitted the third-party sites could not legally be stopped.

Replying to the request a DVLA spokesperson said: “In answer to your questions both websites you refer to are operating within the Ofcom regulations and thereby operating within the law.

“They are third-party services sites but provide a disclaimer on their sites and a link to the services that the DVLA provide.”

The statement added: “There was a time when these type of sites operated without anyone able to do anything but now there are regulations in place.”

Prices vary between each of the third-party websites, but all set prices to change an address on a driving licence which DVLA officials do for free.

‘Apply UK Driving Licence’ are charging £72 for a first provisional driving licence compared to officials who only charge £34.

They slap a £35 fee on a free over 70 renewal service and £49 to change a photo on a driving licence when officials only charge £14.

‘Licence Services UK’ charged customers a shocking £64.95 to replace a lost or stolen driving licence.

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UK Driving Licence also charges for services and claims they ensure an application is completed with minimal delay.

The website states customers should receive a driving licence within 2 weeks if they change an address online.

However, the official GOV.UK website states a changed licence should arrive in just one week if a customer applies digitally.

In a statement to Express.co.uk, a DVLA spokesperson said: “We regularly remind our customers that the only official place to find our services and information online is on GOV.UK

“Whilst the majority of Government services are free on GOV.UK we’re aware that some third party sites charge a premium. When we become aware of sites misleading motorists we work closely with Government Digital Service to raise the issue.”

Express.co.uk have contacted all three of the named third-party websites in this piece for comment. 

source: express.co.uk