People surprised by charge after registering vehicles
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Many people use the Internet to make life easier. Earlier this month, Socorro Jackson registered her husband’s truck online.
Jackson, who is very familiar with the state’s Motor Vehicle Division website, was sent a renewal notice encouraging her to renew the registration online.
“I’ve done this for eight years now, this has never happened,” Jackson said.
Jackson was charged for a drivers license booklet and roadside assistance service in addition to her vehicle registration.
“I thought everything was OK,” she said. “It was about four to five hours later my husband said what did you buy from New Mexico License? I said nothing. I just renewed the license plate. And he said come and look at this and I was shocked.”
Jackson said she received an email confirming she paid for the booklet and the roadside service, two things she says she didn’t want or need.
“The guide was for $1.99, I think that’s a monthly charge and I have no idea what they were going to charge me for the road service,” Jackson said.
In some searches, the top results for New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department is a private website called newmexicodriverslicense.org. There are tabs and information that appear to be part of a government website. Click the renew registration tab, enter your personal information and you’ll eventually end up on a page requesting your credit card information. The product the company sells is a driving guide and roadside assistance. The site includes plenty of disclaimers but apparently people don’t see them.
“They’re counting on people just going on there, not reading all the disclaimers, paying close attention,” said Demesia Padilla the Secretary for Taxation and Revenue who oversees the MVD.
Padilla says the site eventually forwards people to the correct government website. She says because the private website includes plenty of disclaimers, it doesn’t appear its operators are breaking any laws. Even so, there are plenty of complaints and warnings about the website floating around on the Internet. AARP and the Better Business Bureau also warns potential customers.
Padilla says her office is considering changing the font of the state’s website address to make it larger on the renewal cards. She says they’re also contacting Google to see if the MVD website can come up first on the search list.
Padilla says the bottom line is that people just to be aware of the website they visit.
“I think that should be the first red flag for somebody,” Padilla says. “That if it’s not a dot.gov, it’s not sending you to our governmental site.”
Jackson has been updating her vehicle registration online for years and knows she was on the state’s MVD website. She says she isn’t 100 percent sure how she got there.
“That was scary, that was scary. I’ve never had anything happen like this before,” Jackson said.
She’s since canceled her booklet and roadside assistance and is also going to renew her vehicles differently next time.
“I will go stand in the office and take a number and I’ll do it in person,” Jackson said.”Face to face.”