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The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has issued a cautionary message to motorists, highlighting the potential for increased costs when renewing their driving licenses, especially affecting those aged 70 and above.

The warning aims to alert drivers to the existence of unofficial websites that charge an extra fee for services that are otherwise free on the official DVLA platform. This situation adds an extra financial burden at a time when individuals are already grappling with the challenges of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Particularly vulnerable to falling victim to these deceptive websites are older drivers, as they are required to renew their photocard every three years. This periodic renewal increases the likelihood of encountering unauthorized platforms posing as legitimate DVLA services, told Daily Express.

The DVLA emphasized the importance of using the official GOV.UK website and avoiding third-party websites that may appear similar but are not affiliated with the organization. These unofficial sites often charge inflated fees for basic services, with some drivers having been asked to pay handling fees exceeding £80.

To combat this issue, the DVLA took to social media, specifically posting the warning on platform X (formerly known as Twitter). The message urged drivers to opt for the secure and cost-free GOV.UK platform, reiterating that using third-party services could result in unnecessary financial implications.

The modus operandi of these unofficial websites typically involves accepting payment and initiating a driver’s application before forwarding it to the DVLA for processing. By going directly to the DVLA, motorists can bypass these intermediaries, saving money and time in the renewal process. The standard cost for renewing a driving license online through the official channel is a mere £14, a stark contrast to the exorbitant fees charged by some third-party services.

Moreover, drivers aged 70 and above can renew their licenses for free through the official government website, eliminating any risk of being charged on GOV.UK. Despite this, statistics from 2021 revealed that 803 drivers aged 70 and above had opted for third-party sites for their renewals.

Julie Lennard, the Chief Executive of the DVLA, emphasized the security, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency of the online renewal service. She urged drivers to use the official platform, assuring them that transactions could be completed in as little as five days, with the driving license arriving promptly.

While acknowledging a reluctance among some road users to utilize online services, the DVLA highlighted the extended processing times associated with paper applications. Photocards requested through paper applications typically take around three weeks to arrive. Despite this, the majority of individuals who switch to online services do not revert to using paper applications, with approximately 90 percent of users choosing the more convenient and faster online renewal process.

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