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Sorn scandal as fee-charging websites prey on the vulnerable

Published 29 June 2019

Unscrupulous websites have been accused of ‘preying on the vulnerable’ by charging for services that are available freely and easily.

Sites including get-sorn.co.uk, registeroffroad.co.uk and sornservice.co.uk are charging £25 - or £30 for a ‘fast-track’ service - for customers who wish to declare their cars off-road to avoid fines or having them clamped and removed.

Yet the service is available for free via the DVLA’s own website and takes just minutes to complete.

"This is just preying on the naive or vulnerable," said Philip Swift, CEO of vehicle data specialist CMA UK. "It’s a free service and easy to use."

Thanks to clever search engine optimisation, the paid-for sites often appear ahead of the free service on a Google Search.

According to the latest DVLA data (2018) there are currently over two million cars registered as SORN in the UK.

HonestJohn.co.uk Managing Editor Dan Powell said: "The vast majority of people will, of course, continue to use the government service. But the big concern is that those who aren’t familiar with the process of DVLA paperwork or, indeed, foreign nationals who aren’t aware that a free service even exists could be suckered into paying for something that doesn’t need to be paid for. It needs greater regulation."

Comments

Johnfrog    on 1 July 2019

This is similar to the problem of mis-sold PPI by banks - constant adverts on TV by parasitic claims firms offering to recover PPI for you when you can do it yourself for free.

NEIL SCARLETT    on 1 July 2019

Criminals and con men have existed throughout human history and of course it should come as no surprise when these types act in a devious or unlawful manner. The real crime being committed is that the legitimate powers that be, HM Government, DVLA etc.do little or nothing to stop it. Oh hang on a minute, silly me I'm talking about DVLA, an official organisation that sells motorists details to unscrupulous car parking firms, so why should I be surprised that nothing is done. Don't mention data protection, I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it. Nonetheless officialdom would maintain that they are doing all they can etc.etc. But ask yourself this. If someone were to put up a bogus website purporting to represent the Duchy of Cornwall, just for example, how long would it take for the authorities to put a stop to it. Not very long methinks.

Edited by NEIL SCARLETT on 01/07/2019 at 16:59

Don1988    on 1 July 2019

I came across a website scam but this time involving a land registry search. It was going to cost over £100 But the official Government site did it for a fraction of the cost. They're everywhere preying on usually older vulnerable people.

Edited by Don1988 on 01/07/2019 at 17:21

Julian Berkeley    on 1 July 2019

This is similar to the problem of mis-sold PPI by banks - constant adverts on TV by parasitic claims firms offering to recover PPI for you when you can do it yourself for free.

Yes, it is, and just like the EHIC cards (soon to be obsolete?) that give free medical care in Europe. They're free to renew but loads of scam sites sprang up offering the usual 'fast-track' service for £25. Folks fall into these traps too easily when they get into a panic!

Palcouk    on 1 July 2019

The Gov and the various quangos (regulators) reside in the past where everyone used snail mail, they have failed to grasp or adapt to the www and as such these type of scams and false news will continue.

Raytrendy    on 2 July 2019

The Gov and the various quangos (regulators) reside in the past where everyone used snail mail, they have failed to grasp or adapt to the www and as such these type of scams and false news will continue.

But they have adapted. You can tax your car, SORN it, declare it sold to a new keeper, (and more) all online for free at the gov.uk website. The issue here is that third parties are charging naïve or vulnerable individuals a fee for doing on their behalf what they could easily do for themselves.

Falkirk Bairn    on 2 August 2019

Renewing my licence as I am over 70

Filled in form online on a Thursday & it was delivered to me Tuesday - Free of charge.

The same day I sent myapplication I googled renewing licence at 70 & the top hit was
www.ukdrivingservices.co.uk/info/renew-over-70/?gc...E

They charge £70 for filling in their form & them checking it before they submit it.

I am switched on but someone in a hurry might just pay up.

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