/ 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.

Barry Coyle says:
5 September 2019

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

Ian O'Keefe says:
25 February 2020

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

Peter Solan says:
6 September 2019

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

This was asked and answered on Twitter Peter its to do with Identity –
https://mobile.twitter.com/DVLAgovuk/status/368348731344560128

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.

The real licence website run by HMG is-
https://www.gov.uk/browse/driving/driving-licences
no third party trackers nor malware.
None of the links click onto third party websites all DVLA and no real trackers.

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.

Karen Henderson says:
16 February 2020

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?