A retiree was billed a small fortune to get a new driver’s license by an unofficial website selling DVLA services, but managed to get all of her money back after complaining to them.
A woman who was charged £ 80 to renew her license by an unauthorized company managed to get a full refund – and shared her advice on how she did it.
Websites that charge over £ 100 for a driving license are killing people because of the huge backlog at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Many look like the DVLA website and appear at the top of the Google rankings, encouraging drivers to click on them.
They offer services that can be performed for free on the DVLA website. Even though the DVLA charges for a service, these secondary websites often charge even more.
For example, it costs £ 14 to renew a driving license on the DVLA website, but up to £ 100 elsewhere.
The websites are legal, but companies like the AA have warned drivers to avoid them.
A woman, Adeline Johnson, 79, paid £ 80 to one such company, License Services.
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“I went to what I thought was the government website,” she said. “Suddenly a message from my bank appeared asking me to authorize a payment.”
After the money was taken, Johnson realized what had happened.
She then emailed the company complaining and asked them to get their money back.
“You don’t have the right to take my money,” she said. “If you don’t return it, I’ll report you to Trading Standards. I’m a retiree and can’t afford to lose money.”
She received an email from the company saying, “Our services allow your request to be carefully checked for any errors or omissions before being processed by DVLA.
“Please note that our company is under no circumstances affiliated with or working on behalf of the government. Therefore, we charge a service charge of £ 80 for a full year.”
But it didn’t work with Johnson, who insisted she wanted a full refund.
She continued to contact the company to ask them to get their money back – and eventually they offered her £ 20.
“There was no way I would take this offer,” she said.
So she kept asking and was offered £ 30, then £ 40, £ 50 and £ 60 – before being offered a full refund a few weeks later.
License Services has been contacted for comment.
How to tell if a licensing website is legitimate
If a website offering DVLA related services does not have “gov.uk” in the address bar, it is a red flag that it may charge these additional fees.
Another sign is that you are being asked for money for something that was previously free for you, like updating your car’s logbook when you move out.
The DVLA said fewer licenses were issued last year as motorists were granted an 11-month extension on existing licenses due to Covid.
The DVLA said websites pop up often, also offering help with V5C vehicle registration certificates or renewing a driver’s license from age 70.