DVLA issues urgent warning to drivers in UK

Car driver

The DVLA has issued a warning to drivers as people are paying a premium for services they can get for free or cheaper through the DVLA website directly - Credit: Archant

Drivers are being charged a premium by unaffiliated websites paying for services that are cheaper or free through a government website.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has issued a warning to drivers amid a rise in complaints.

New figures have shown there have been 1,200 complaints since January 2020 about websites that are not affiliated with the DVLA but that claim to offer DVLA-related services.

While these sites are genuinely offering services advertised and are not illegal, they are charging significantly more than what the DVLA charges. 

It has said some sites are offering help with V5C vehicle registration certificates or renewing a driving licence from the age of 70, which can all be done for free on the DVLA website.

File photo dated 13/12/11 of a sign for DVLA offices. People with medical conditions and disabilitie

The DVLA has said customers should always use its official GOV.UK site when completing driving applications - Credit: PA

How to avoid being caught out

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.

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"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 we’ve spotted firms offering ‘checking services’ for driving licence renewals for £60, more than four times the £14 it costs to do it through GOV.UK."