Drivers could unknowingly be charged more for Dartford Crossing

Published: 18 February 2019

Drivers could unknowingly be charged more for Dartford Crossing
Some drivers have paid more than required for the dart charge by mistake as they have used a different site to process the charge, the site can cost up to three times more than the official dart charge service.
Through Google searching: “Pay the Dartford Crossing charge” a result is bought up through ads listed as www.paydartcharge.co.uk, meaning the advertisement is the first thing some of those who search for the charge could see.
A single crossing is charged at £7.50 through the website, compared to the Government website, which is £2.50 without an account and £2 with one. 
A search for "pay the Dartford Crossing charge" brings up the website www.paydartcharge.co.uk, with a Google "Ad" mark next to it. This shows it has paid to appear first. The fee is in place for road users who need to cross between 6AM and 10PM.
If the charge hasn’t been paid within 24 hours of usage, the road user can be fined up to £105 – by late 2015 barriers at the crossing were removed, meaning all road users would need to complete the charges online rather than face delays at barriers at the crossing.
Many users typing in the website address might often not recognise the cheaper alternative is fulfilling the charge directly through the .gov website. However, the Dartford Crossing isn’t the only service to have a loop such as this: www.sornyourvehicle.co.uk charges £29.99 for an SORN, which can be completed for free through the .gov website, but appears in advertising on Google.
Paydartcharge.co.uk offers to take your information and process the transaction on the official .gov website, rather than the user going to the government website directly and completing the charges for a much lower cost.
A spokesman for Highways England gave a warning to users using this service and others like it:
“We urge all our customers to be wary of using unofficial sites to pay their Dart Charge. Unofficial websites may overcharge you and could even be a scam.”
"The best way to pay Dart Charge is to deal with us direct. Our website is www.gov.uk/dart-charge and is the quickest and cheapest way to pay."
The site does have an official disclaimer at the bottom of their webpage: "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the www.gov.uk/pay-dartford-crossing-charge site or any other official authority administering, regulating or overseeing the Dartford crossing charge.
"By proceeding to apply online, you have agreed to our terms and conditions. We charge a service fee for assisting you in the application and payment of the Dartford crossing charge. We comply with the Data Protection Act and assure that this data will only be used to process your application."
Easily mislead motorists must remain hopeful that Officials take further action to prevent a misunderstanding for customers who use services like the Dartford Crossing.
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