/ Money, Motoring

Scam watch: driving licence renewals

Denis was almost fooled into paying a lot more than he needed to renew his driving licence by a copycat website. Does this ring any bells with you?

Denis Kearney told us:

‘If you’re over 70, watch out for copycat websites when renewing your driving licence. A website that often pops up when searching online looks just like the official DVLA website, but it charges you 90p to renew your licence. If you pay, you will also be enrolled into a recurring fortnightly charge of £38 for services.

‘The website asks for personal details to be submitted via an authentic-looking form, but this information doesn’t go to the DVLA. Instead, you’ll be sent the official application form to your home address. Thankfully, upon inspection of the small print, I spotted that these additional charges would be made and cancelled my card before any more money was taken.

‘Even if these sites are technically legal, they deliberately set out to deceive people.’

Our say on copycat sites

You should always go directly to the official ‘gov.uk’ website for government services – such as passport or driving licence renewals – rather than relying on search engines, where the results can display copycat websites.

These often charge an over-the-top fee for a free service, or mislead you into signing up for recurring payments. If you fall for one of these, you should be able to get your money back using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (if you paid by credit card) or a chargeback claim (debit card).

It’s illegal for a copycat website to parade itself as a government entity. We have called for a crackdown against sites that don’t prominently display that they’re not associated with the government and that you can get a passport or driving licence without additional costs through the official government website.

We have also pressed search engines to stop displaying adverts for copycat websites at the top of search results. Google has taken action to remove copycat sites for paid search results and has worked to ensure that the official gov.uk sites come top. If you see a misleading website, please report them to search engines on gov.uk.

Have you ever come across a copycat website for driving licence renewals?

Useful links:

Read Which? advice on how to spot a copycat website
Renew your driving licence on the official gov.uk DVLA website
Report a misleading website to search engines on gov.uk

Comments
Brian Thompson says:
21 August 2019

Still waiting to hear from driving services – very quick to remove money from my account even though licence renewal is FREE.

Watch out for this company:

Myvehicles info.com

This is a copycat website pretending to be the DVLA. They are charging £89 for licence renewal, DVLA charge £20. After realising that I paid a copycat, I immediately cancelled my order and requested a refund, after 6 weeks still awaiting refund”….

Charlie says:
19 December 2019

Hi Barry. I’ve just accidentally used them too! Feel absolutely gutted. Did you ever get your money back? Stressing out

Charlie / Barry I also fell for this and requested a refund immediately to which after a week they agreed to but its now 25th Feb (8 weeks) and still nothing so I am looking to take legal action

Why do the DVLA need to know my marital status and NI number
This info has nothing to do with my licence

This comment was removed at the request of the user

just been to applydvladrivinglicence.co.uk entered all details include NI and passport should I be concerned ? Cancelled before the end but this is a scam site

From their website, they seem to be a UK based service company see:-https://applydvladrivinglicence.co.uk/privacy-policy.php

So, if there are properly registered for the GDPR and legitimate under UK law, you could contact them as a data subject and ask them to erase any records they now hold on you.

I think these copycat sites operate from the basis that UK law does not prevent you from paying a third party to do something that you might otherwise do yourself, but in practice these sites don’t provide any added value as they make you do almost all the work and then charge a substantial fee nonetheless.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I have just been almost scammed by DVLA Licence Apply:

https://dvlalicenceapply.co.uk/index.php

I did not pay give them my bank details luckily as the website crashed when I entered my passport number, but I did give them my NI number, Passport number, driving licence number, mother’s maiden name etc etc.

Should I be worried and if so what should I do to ensure I am not at risk of having my identity stolen or some other cyber fraud?

mrs. una kearnon says:
12 December 2019

I WAS CHARGED £77 to get a renewal photo licence, still waiting, although I received a confirmation of my order and told hat they would use my passport photo

Niyaz Butt says:
30 December 2019

I have had no respond from them for my refund. I thought i was on gov. website and paid £14 for a renewal of my licence instead got charged £89.

Just applied for a change from paper licence on licenceapply.co.uk alarm bells when I was redirected to a Santander site to pay £75. I didn’t proceed. Went on to government site and paid £20. Still a bit concerned about the amount of personal details regarding passport number etc I filled in before coming off first site.

Karen, this site clearly states:

Exchange paper licence for a photo card
Price:£77.60
(Official DVLA fee £20, Our service fee £57.60)
Licence Apply and https://www.licenceapply.co.uk/ are not affiliated with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the UK government, GOV.UK or any official body. We provide a independent checking and applying service, which cannot be obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. If you apply directly with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, there will be no checking and applying fee payable. The £77.60 price includes the £57.60 service fee payable to https://www.licenceapply.co.uk/ and the £20.00 fee due to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. By using this website you agree that you understand this disclaimer..

Not very good English but it does spell out its terms.

Searching on “driving licence change from paper to card” brings up this as the first result:
https://www.gov.uk/exchange-paper-driving-licence

Official sites have .gov.uk, not .co.uk or .com.

Karen says:
16 April 2020

Just got caught with http://www.uklicenceservice.com. £40 to change driving licence address. Hoping I get my money back but more worrying is that they now have my NI & passport number etc. Argh! Wish I had been slower & checked first

Mark says:
2 June 2020

We just got caught the same way with http://www.uklicenceservice.com , also for £40.
We cancelled within 5 minutes. Did you get the money back? Or have any other issues as a result of doing this?

John says:
23 June 2020

Hi Karen
My daughter got caught the exact same way and I am now worried that they have her NI and passport number. What did you do or was there any outcome.
Grateful for any advice you can give or anyone else can.
Thanks.

JON Price says:
18 July 2020

l used a site called Call sign Ltd, ending up paying £89 and no licence, took my money within two hours ! l have cancelled order, but they have all my details, now l am worried monies will disappear or likewise other things will occur.

Jon, sorry to hear you were caught out, but what led you to use Call Sign in the first place?

You should notify the credit card you paid with or your bank if it was by debit card immediately if you haven’t already done so.

If I google ‘renew driving licence online’, the first website in the results is http://www.gov.uk the official government website .

JON says:
18 July 2020

I went to DVLA site and
got directed to this site. and then notified Bank, Alfa.

That’s strange. I have just put “DVLA” in the browser and the entry that comes at the top of the list is the official GOV.UK site for the DVLA with all its subsidiary functions. This was via the Bing search engine. No mention of Call Sign on the first four pages of listings.

I also tried “Callsign Ltd” but apart from various sites giving company information I could see no references to services provided or assistance with licence renewal.

Jon – When you went to the DVLA site, was it the official GOV.UK site for the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency? You said you got directed to “this site” – did you mean the Callsign Ltd site or to this Which? Conversation site? If you first went to the official GOV.UK site and were redirected from there, then I feel you should report it to the DVLA because it sounds as if some unauthorised and illegal re-routing is going on.

Confirmed. I tried DVLA in both upper and lower case, but with the same result.

Jon says:
18 July 2020

It directed me straight to the Call Sign after going to the Dvla site. When l applied, submitted, then the site disappeared until l went back to see what was going on.

Hi Jon, Thanks for coming back here.

Are you able to replicate how you got to the Call Sign website?
What you searched for?
What you clicked on?

If you put spaces in a link, it won’t get held for moderation.
https://www.gov.uk/renew-driving-licence

Jon says:
18 July 2020

Yes, that was the very same site, then l got re- directed to another page so l filled it out, after submitting my details, then realised it was not Dvla. I cancelled but they still took my money within two hours ok?

I’ve just gone through the procedure and it kept me on the DVLA site. That suggest one of two possibilities:

1. You have malware or a virus.
2. You made an inadvertent error.

When you said “When l applied, submitted, then the site disappeared until l went back” can you explain exactly what happened? One other thing: you initially said

“l used a site called Call sign Ltd, ending up paying £89”

but you told us you used DVLA and were redirected. Can you confirm which it was? Call sign Ltd doesn’t exist, although Callsign Ltd, does.

Hi Jon, I have also tried it on that site and not getting redirected.

Ian may be correct but I wonder if Callsign is a legitimate partner of DVLA a bit like Verisign whenever you use a credit card on the internet.
https://www.callsign.com/sectors/government/

As Ian said, if Jon has picked up some malware, eg in his Web browser, then simple Web searches can end up in dodgy places.