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Pensioner falls victim to online car tax ‘fiddle’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 12, 2014

Syd Bill

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AN 85-year-old man from Burton has become the latest motorist to be stung by a copycat website while attempting to renew his car tax.

Syd Bill said he wanted to warn other people to be on their guard when paying online after being charged £40 in add-ons by a website modelled on that of the DVLA.

The motoring organisation, which does not charge drivers paying tax additional fees, said it was aware of reports of similar cases across the UK, but that it was not illegal.

With car tax being increasinly paid online, many websites have sprung up offering the service.

But Mr Syd, of Harper Avenue, Burton, accused the copycat website of acting like ‘rogue traders’ and said he was given no warning that he would have to pay any more money.

He said: “I taxed my car online for £180 but found a debit of £220 in my bank account.

“I then learned there is a copycat or mirror site which picks up my details and charges my debit card.”

The pensioner, who said he rarely uses his car anymore, was so enraged at the extra charge, he contacted the town’s MP Andrew Griffiths.

The politician said it was a ‘worrying problem’ and that he had written to the DVLA previously after another of his constituents had been unwittingly charged extra.

The DVLA has advised motorists that if they want to avoid additional charges they should only use official websites which end in ‘gov.uk’.

A spokesman said: “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 are not acting illegally.

“The Government, led by the Cabinet Office, is taking action to tackle rogue websites and is working with organisations such as the Advertising Standards Authority, the National Trading Standards Board, Which? and search engines, including Google, to raise awareness of this issue and to ensure enforcement action is taken where appropriate.”

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