Vulnerable drivers are being urged to remain vigilant to the threat of websites that promise to ease the blue badge application process but leave their clients high and dry, and out of pocket.
The warning comes in the wake of news that one such site has been closed down after conning disabled motorists into believing that it offered a bespoke service to help clients apply online for a blue badge.
Authorities became aware of the unofficial site – http://bluebadgeonline.org – following a number of complaints from disgruntled motorists who had handed over £49 and not received the service they had expected.
The site is one of a number that have been identified in recent years, and eventually closed down. In each case, they have failed to provide the service that customers paid for, did not capture sufficient data to submit a proper application, did not pass on the customers’ information, and left the customers out of pocket.
The council’s travel services team, which oversees the blue badge scheme in Croydon, advises that only the official website – www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge – should be used, where applications are subject to a £10 administration charge only if approved.
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“It’s important that people realise that this site, and other similar unofficial sites, should not be patronised.
“While they appear to be able to smooth the application process, in reality they’re doing no such thing, and they’re charging an extortionate price for what is often an unsuccessful application.
“Applications for a disabled parking permit should be made only via the official site – it’s the simpler, and far less expensive, option.”
Anybody becoming aware of an unofficial website offering paid-for assistance with an application is asked to email details of the site to firstname.lastname@example.org