Drivers warned of rogue tax disc website
By: Click4Reg Team
Last updated: 04 April 2014
Motorists are being warned of a rogue website that charges people an additional £40 on top of their new tax disc. The company has set up their online enterprise to look extremely similar to the official site, yet they charge an additional service fee. All drivers, including those with personalised number plates, need to ensure theyre thoroughly checking websites for legitimacy to avoid being duped out of cash.
When applying for a tax disc through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), theres no charge other than for the tax disc itself. However, rogue websites that charge additional service fees have become increasingly numerous over the past few years. Now, one particular website called taxdisc-direct.uk.com, have modelled themselves on the official government site, causing large numbers of people to believe theyre actually using the proper website. This results in people paying far more for their tax disc than is required.
The issue of copycat websites has been on the increase for several years, particularly because search engines, such as Google, offer companies advertising to place their services at the top of search results. This can mean that rogue websites are actually placed higher on the search page than official channels. Similar problems have been noted for driving licences, tax returns and European Health Insurance Cards (Ehics).
With the problem known, the government are currently working with search engines to raise awareness about the issue. A spokesperson from the DVLA explained, The Department for Transport is aware of several websites not connected to DVLA or the official government website that are offering services to customers who are applying for tax discs and driving licences. The Office of Fair Trading has ruled that websites which charge additional fees and services are not acting illegally. He added that action is being taken to tackle rogue websites, with organisations, such as the National Trading Standards Board, Which? and the Advertising Standards Authority, all involved.
However, for now the problem remains and the non-official websites continue to run. All drivers must take care when they come to renew their tax disc at the end of the year, carefully selecting the right website. Its important to remember that regardless of registration, personalised number plates or not, there should never be a service charge when applying for a new disc. If there is, its likely that a rogue website is being used and drivers must use the official .gov.uk website instead.