Unscrupulous websites have been accused of ‘daylight robbery’ and ‘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 on 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.
Dan Powell, Managing Editor of the Honest John motoring website, commented: “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.”
According to the latest DVLA data (2018) there are currently over two million cars registered as SORN in the UK.