North Country Assemblywoman: Bill prohibiting unnecessary DMV fees passes Assembly
Monday, June 18, 2018 - 5:41 pm

Legislation sponsored by North Country Assemblywoman Jenne that prohibits the licensing of certain predatory third-party vendors from selling access to vehicle registration services already performed at no additional cost by the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) passed the Assembly Tuesday.

The legislation would prevent businesses not engaged in vehicle sales from charging residents for directions on how to register your vehicle, a service already provided by the DMV at no charge.

Jenne said she introduced the legislation after a complaint was filed with her office by a Watertown-area constituent.

“I was surprised when I learned about these deceptive business practices, and it was clear we needed to take steps to protect our state's residents from paying unnecessary fees. The state should not be condoning a practice that takes advantage of consumers. Paying an additional cost for a service that is offered at no cost by a state agency is a scam,” Jenne said.

“Today, there’s an even greater need for strong consumer protections to ensure that New Yorkers aren’t preyed upon by misleading and downright dishonest businesses, whether those businesses are brick-and-mortar stores or online entities,” she added.

Assemblywoman Jenne said third-party vendors should not be profiting at the expense of those conducting business with state agencies like the DMV.

"The state should in no way be endorsing those third-party vendors charging constituents a fee for services that are available for free," she stressed.

She said it’s often hard for consumers to determine the legitimacy of online services at a glance.

Websites including www.dmv-services.com or www.on-lineregistration.us appear to be portals to official DMV webpages, but, despite the mandatory yet hard to find disclaimer, many people are fooled into paying an unnecessary “finder’s” fee.

For example, the “On-Line Registration” webpage has a banner across the top that reads “New York Motor Vehicles Service Bureau.” The site charges a $45 to $75 “Online Service Bureau” fee for registration renewals (based on “processing time”).

Using an official looking moniker, this website and others like it simultaneously rip off New York State residents and tarnish the image of the DMV, according to the assemblywoman.

"It's simply wrong for businesses like these, which exist only to take money out of the pockets of hard-working state residents attempting to comply with the law, to be licensed by the DMV," the assemblywoman said.