TV 6 Investigates: Online Drivers License "Renewal" Services - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

TV 6 Investigates: Online Drivers License "Renewal" Services

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The state of Iowa just began allowing drivers to renew their licenses online.

It's done through the state department of transportation website, but there are other websites out there trying to sell you free information.

If you want to renew your Iowa drivers license but can't remember the exact web address, you can type Iowa drivers license renewal into a search engine, and click the first one that pops up.

This website is completely legal and walks you through the how to process to get a drivers license.

It seems to make sense, but one woman says unless you're really paying attention, it's easy to get fleeced.

"You want to time it so no one else is there, but you never know," says Betted resident Shelia Sarginson.

It's a tradition every driver must follow, but few admit enjoying. Standing in line at the hot, crowded, drivers license bureau.

"They don't always smell good, everybody is in there like sardines," says Sarginson.

She jumped at the chance to avoid that tradition and renew her license online Monday. She also wanted the fringe benefit of keeping a photo most people hate.

"I have longer hair, and of course I was eight years younger, and I was eight years thinner, and I love my picture," says Sarginson.

When she went online though, she clicked the first web page that popped up in her search engine. A page that turned out to be the wrong one.

"This right here is where I thought, oh ok, all drivers services, renew your license it's all right there," says Sarginson.

It's a mistake other Iowans are making. The Iowa DOT has tried to get rid of the competition.

"There are sites out there that say renew your license on line but if they read it, it just tells you the process to do it, but they charge you money for that," says Driver Services Director Kim Snook.

She says it's perfectly legal.

"All they're doing is giving information and we've tried to find anything in there that they were," says Snook.

Leading the DOT to do what a lot of people do, complain to the Better Business Bureau. Iowa President Chris Coleman says they've been secret shopping these web sites. As it turns out, the companies are just selling a product you don't need to buy.

"It's not necessarily that they're going to be harmed other than that they're going to pay a private company what they can do for free," says Coleman.

Leaving people paying for directions about renewing their licenses, instead of actually doing so. The correct renewal page is on the DOT website. You will see state of Iowa logos, and a web address ending in dot.gov. Anything else is not correct.

"We see scam artists operating like this all the time," says Coleman.

Sarginson stopped short of paying 17 bucks for free information. Her close call, still causes her to pause.

"Having someone take them for information you can already get free at the drivers license bureau or online if they have a computer, its sad," says Sarginson.

We called and tried to talk to a manager for this particular company, but no one returned our call.