Wrexham Trading Standards is warning the public to be careful when applying for services online as it can be easy to get misled by ‘copycat’ websites that charge extra, unnecessary costs.
Examples where this can happen include applying for or renewing driving licences, passports, European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC), US Entry Permits, driving tests and child benefit.
Although official websites will sometimes require a fee for making an application, there are a number of third party websites that will charge an additional fee to accept the application, and simply pass it on to the issuing authority.
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“You may not even realise you’re being misled”
Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships Public Protection and Community Safety, said: “These websites will often look very similar to the official websites, so you may not even realise you’re being misled. They usually have a disclaimer and a link to the official site, but this may be in small print that can easily be missed. Often members of the public only find out they have used one of these copycat websites when it’s too late and they have paid the extra fee. Take your time to make sure you’re using the official site to avoid paying out any unnecessary costs.”
Advice from Trading Standards is to be extra careful if doing a general search through a search engine as this is far more likely to result in third party websites being listed in the results.
Check what the official web address is for the service you’re looking for, and type that in instead, taking some time to double check the website you open to make sure it’s the official version and that the fee is what you were expecting.
Consumer advice is available from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service. They can be contacted on 0808 223 1144 (Welsh) or 0808 223 1133 (English).
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