California

California DMV warns customers about private websites charging unnecessary fees

People wait in line outside the California Department of Motor Vehicles in Modesto, Calif., Friday, June 22, 2018.
People wait in line outside the California Department of Motor Vehicles in Modesto, Calif., Friday, June 22, 2018. aalfaro@modbee.com

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles cautioned the public Tuesday about unofficial websites that are asking customers to pay unnecessary fees for DMV-related services.

The department said in a news release that the sites — which aren’t government-affiliated — charge fees to make DMV appointments, finish electronic driver license and ID card applications and more.

The DMV advised Californians to only use the DMV’s official website, www.dmv.ca.gov, and said that there are “no additional fees to complete the electronic application or any online services.”

DMV investigators are looking into the private sites to see if they are breaking any consumer protection laws.

The department said that, though the sites sometimes admit they’re not official government sites, they “may contain inaccurate information about DMV services and fees and may include unnecessary charges and fees that are not required by the DMV.”

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What’s more, many of the private sites’ user agreements let them profit off customers’ personal information “by selling that information to other businesses,” the DMV said.

The DMV said that if anyone encounters a website they suspect is fraudulent, they should reach out to DMV investigators at: ReportFraud@dmv.ca.gov.

Customers across California are experiencing rising wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles. People at the Sacramento South field office on July 26, 2018 were particularly frustrated.

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