DEVON County Council is warning people to look out for websites that will charge them to apply for or renew their disabled parking entitlement.
Blue Badges are for free to apply for, or to renew online, by people with eligible disabilities but the council has heard from residents who paid £49 up front to renew their parking badges online, which were never received.
The Blue Badge scheme provides national parking concessions for those who have a permanent and substantial disability which causes an inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking. People with severe sight impairment may also be eligible.
The council is writing to Blue Badge holders whose badges are due for renewal, advising them not to use non-accredited websites.
Residents told the council they have been waiting for their badges after paying £49 online. Investigations found that their applications had not been passed to the national administrator for processing, and there was no central record of their online application.
That website has since been removed from the internet but the council is warning residents to be aware that applications and renewals online are free from the Government’s official website, gov.uk/apply-blue-badge Alternatively, the council can process Blue Badge applications and renewals, registering them with the national database. A fee of £10 is charged on successful application.
The advice for people who may already have made a payment online, for an application or to renew a Blue Badge, is to contact their card provider and bank to see if there is any way to refund the money paid, explaining that the product has not been provided.
Cllr Roger Croad, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Devon and Somerset Trading Standards, said: “We always urge consumers to avoid unofficial websites that could leave you out-of-pocket or at risk of identity theft. Only use the GOV.UK website to find government services.”
For more information about the Blue Badge scheme, or to apply for a badge, contact the council’s customer services on 0345-155 1007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org