Don’t cough up your cash to the copycats

COPYCAT websites are duping people into paying for free services, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service has warned.

They often mimic the format and style of official Government websites and perform an identical online service – but add on a hefty administration fee.

Although this is not illegal in itself, complaints indicate that more and more consumers have been tricked into paying over the odds when booking driving theory tests, ordering European Health Insurance Cards and requesting a council tax band review.

Chief officer Graham Hebblethwaite said: “There are many instances of services free at source which others seek to charge for.

“I would urge consumers to select websites with care.

“Make sure you know who you are dealing with and don’t assume the first match on a web search is the site you are really looking for.”

Anyone who believes they have been misled by a copycat website is urged to report it to Consumer Direct by calling 0845 04 05 06.