TRANSPORT for London has issued an urgent warning to drivers over a ULEZ charge scam that could cost you thousands.
One driver told how he was slapped with a £160 fine from TfL for failing to pay two £12.50 ULEZ fees on time – despite insisting he DID pay the fine in advance.
He claims he used a website called Pay Ultra Low Charges.
The motorist’s heart sunk on realising the site – which claims to be TfL and Government sanctioned – was not authorised by TfL.
TfL has urged all drivers to use their official website to make payments for all London driving fees.
These include the congestion charge, la ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) charge and the low emission zone fee.
They say drivers are often sent to unofficial online payment sites which promise to sort the fee with TfL on motorists behalf’s.
But they often fail to put these payments through, leaving drivers with huge fines.
One driver told The Sun how he realised he would have to pay the ULEZ fee the night before a last-minute two day jaunt to London.
TfL’s ULEZ cost covers all parts of London within the North and South Circular roads.
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Older vehicles, including motorbikes, that don’t meet the tighter emissions standards have to pay £12.50 every day they are used within the ULEZ.
The driver told The Sun: “I was in London for a couple of days to visit and I knew that there were ULEZ charges.
“I went Google and I put it in ‘ULEZ charge’. The first thing that came up was this page.”
He paid £35 and set off on his trip.
But he was baffled to be slapped with two penalty notices from TfL for driving without paying the fee.
He quickly realised he had fallen victim to a scam.
The driver added: “I paid it because I thought it was the right thing to do.
“This should be a warning for other people like me that go on the web to look up the charge.
“To be honest I thought: ‘How is it possible there are thieves that make websites like this?’
“I am pretty young and I made the mistake.
“yo era como, if someone is rushed in the morning the first thing that comes up [is the website].
“The first thing I did was go on the terms and conditions and it said it was regulated by the Government so I thought I would be ok.”
He tried to contact the site but to no avail.
Él dijo: “I tried to do the right thing but it was a scam.
“People need to be made aware. No soy el unico.
“There’s is nothing I can do so I thought I would pay and leave it.”
TfL’s web page on fraudulent sites states: “Desafortunadamente, internet search engines do not always put our ‘Pay to Drive in London’ page or other relevant payment pages at the top of their search results.
“This means you may find yourself being offered one of many unofficial online payment sites.
“These sites – they do not operate with approval from us – claim to offer additional services.
“These services are either non-existent or are already provided by TfL without charge.
“Unofficial sites can charge a premium of up to £8 extra for the charging areas.
“We continually work with search engine companies such as Google, as well as Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority, to try to remedy the situation.”