Secretary Johnson warns about websites, people charging extra for SOS services

MAY 14, 2014Image: Our Customers are number 1

Don't confuse DMV-themed websites with official Michigan.gov site

LANSING, Mich. – Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today warned Michigan residents about paying for online Secretary of State services without first checking that the website they're using is the official Michigan.gov site.

Secretary of State staff are receiving more and more complaints from customers who believed they visited a Secretary of State website to complete a transaction and paid a fee, only to later find that the fee did not go to the state, and they did not get the services they needed.

Unfortunately, these customers used an online search engine that directed them to sites not affiliated with the state of Michigan when they were looking for driver's license and vehicle license plate renewal options or other Secretary of State services. These sites misleadingly charge for services or information that are normally available at no cost on the official department website.

"People should examine the site they're on closely before agreeing to pay," Johnson said. "Double-check the Web address to make sure it's an official state of Michigan site before you pay for services that might be free. Don't fall for misleading sites."

The unofficial sites often give the initial impression of being a Department of Motor Vehicle website but if you look closer, they may have a notification they are not affiliated with a government agency. Some sites sell "guides" to people about how to obtain a driver's license that may be nothing more than electronic versions of free literature that motorists can get online or at any Secretary of State office.

Official Secretary of State online services can be accessed by going to www.Michigan.gov/sos or www.ExpressSOS.com, which redirects users to the Michigan.gov site. State of Michigan Web pages all have Michigan.gov in the address or state.mi.us for some Web-based services.

Instances of third-parties charging customers for performing free Secretary of State services aren't limited to the online world. Michigan motorists also should be aware of people who advertise themselves as being able to process Secretary of State transactions. As an example, they charge people about $10 to change their address. These businesses and individuals do not have any connection to the Michigan Department of State and the transaction could be done at no cost online, through the mail or at any office.

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