Motorists are being warned about scammers charging motorists money for service that they cannot get for free. This service is a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ ( SORN ), which is what declares if the car if off-road. There is a fear that ‘getting it wrong’ could mean certain operators are praying on vulnerable motorists. Expert HonestJohn is calling regulation to ensure that this does not occur. Motorists can declare a SORN for free by visiting www.gov.uk/make-a-sorn.
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.
However, the free service which takes a number of minutes can be done on the DVLA website.
“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.”
Due to clever search engine optimisation (SEO), these paid-for sights can often appear above the official free service on Google.
This may fool some drivers into thinking they are the preferred and even advised services.
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.”
According to the latest DVLA data (2018), there are currently over two million cars registered as SORN in the UK.
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