The UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has warned drivers to steer clear of third-party websites that charge “hefty premiums” for licence services.
The agency said that in the past year more than 800 Britons said they unnecessarily parted with money to renew their driving licence when they turn 70 years old via a third party website.
Some services charge as much as £81 ($108) to renew an over-70 licence, when doing so on the government’s official website is free. When drivers in the UK reach their 70th birthday, they must renew their entitlement to drive every three years.
DVLA CEO Julie Lennard said: “Drivers looking to renew their licence at 70 and over should use our online service which is secure, free of charge, and also the quickest, easiest way to transact with DVLA. Customers usually receive their driving licence in just five days."
Many third-party websites appear high up in the results on Google search when looking for DVLA, resulting in scores of drivers using them thinking they are dealing with DVLA.
Third party websites charge a fee to pass a driver’s application to DVLA, but these sites are not affiliated with DVLA, and applications made through third party websites are not processed any quicker than those made through the Gov.uk website.
Brits have to pay £34 to get their provisional licence if they apply online and £43 if they do so by post.
After that it’s free to get their full licence, unless they want their photograph to be different from the one on their provisional licence. This costs £17.
Back in July MPs questioned officials from the DVLA about “serious delays” in processing applications for driving licences.
The Commons Transport Committee said its session followed concerns from motorists, trainee drivers and lorry drivers about long delays in receiving documents.
The DVLA has also said digital provisional driving licences will be introduced as part of post-Brexit changes to make transport "fairer, greener and more efficient".
The agency said it was aiming to develop an app featuring the licences, required by those learning to drive, by 2024.
It was reported that if the rollout proves to be a success then full driving licences could follow suit.
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