Warning over 'misleading' driving licence renewal website
MOTORISTS have been warned to beware of a website which heaps extra charges on the cost of getting a driving licence.
When Sam Glover, from Cheltenham, needed a new licence he searched on Google for "driving licence renewal" and the first option which came up was drivinglicence.uk.com.
He filled in all the forms on the site and paid the £70 fee, which he thought would cover the cost of the new licence.
So he was shocked when he received an application form in the post and was told he still needed to pay £20 to renew his licence with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
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It turns out the website was merely a "checking service", providing customers with advice on how to fill out a licence renewal form.
Sam said that, although he knew the site was within the law, it was a needless detour to getting his licence renewed and a waste of £70.
He has warned other drivers against making the same mistake.
"I was so angry about it," said the 26-year-old, from St Paul's.
"It was the first time I had ever applied to renew my licence so I just went through the first website which appeared on Google.
"It all looked fine and once I had paid my £70 I thought that would be that. But it turned out that all they do is send you the forms you would need to fill in anyway.
"You still have to register through the DVLA directly and pay the £20 renewal fee so it provided a completely needless service.
"I ended up paying £90 when I could have just paid £20."
Despite repeated attempts to contact owners of the website to complain, Sam has been unable to get through to anyone. After doing some research online he found hundreds of other complaints from other dissatisfied customers.
"The whole things is very misleading," he added.
"Why would you want to pay for something which tells you how to apply for a licence? You could go into any Post Office and get that advice for free."
The contact number advertised on the website did not work when SMART CONSUMER called.
Karen Powell, a spokeswoman for the DVLA, said: "These sites are checking sites which are in no way affiliated with the DVLA.
"For anyone looking to renew their licence the first port of call is gov.uk/dvla where they can find all the details they need."