MPs call for crackdown on 'copycat' websites

October 7, 2014 | By | In News

A cross-party committee of MPs has urged the government to do more about 'copy cat' driver websites that have been duping innocent motorists into paying for official services that would normally be free of charge.

According to reports, there has been an increase in the number of 'misleading' websites that look like official DVLA pages but require users to pay for services that would otherwise cost nothing through authorised government channels.

The AA told MPs that it had received an increase in the number of complaints about sites that charge for services, such as applying for a driving test or renewing a driving licence.

The committee agreed that there was a case for websites that added value to the customer experience by offering to check applications in order to speed up proceedings but it also recognised that a number of sites were simply set up to 'trick' users into parting with money for free services.

Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh told The Guardian: “David Cameron’s government has presided over digital tax disc chaos, delays to driving tests and rip-off copycat websites. Drivers deserve better, and this report is clear that ministers need to stamp out copycat websites and ensure motoring agencies have the tools they need to keep rogues off our roads.”

According to a government spokesperson, the National Trading Standards body has closed "several sites" they found to be acting fraudulently and that it has published advice on the official DVLA website warning users that other sites may charge additional fees.

Transport for London (TfL) has also asked the DVLA to send letters to all drivers that have used an unofficial website to pay for the Congestion Charge, advising them of the unnecessary hidden charges that could be involved.

Picture: Fotolia

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