Consumer Warning: Beware where you renew car tags online

Hillsborough County Tax Collector fielding complaints about extra fees levied by a private company

WILLEY
FILE - In this May 4, 2005 file photo, a Pontiac Vibe sits on the sales lot at Dale Willey GM in Lawrence, Kan. General Motors is adding more than 243,000 compact hatchbacks in the U.S. and Canada to the growing recall for air bags that can explode with too much force. The company says the expanded recall for passenger air bags covers the Pontiac Vibe from 2003 through 2007. The cars were designed by Toyota and made at jointly owned factory in California. They’re twins of the Toyota Matrix, which was recalled earlier. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Tampa, FL (WFLA)- The Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s Office is fielding complaints about extra fees levied by a private company – and warning consumers to be careful where they choose to renew their vehicles online. Renewing online at the tax collector’s official website – hillstax.org – carries a fee of $2.95 (or is free using an echeck). But some consumers are clicking on etagsdirect.com, private company’s website, and paying higher fees, said Nancy Millan, director of community relations for the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s Office.

“We did a little more digging and what we found out is when people are doing their searches online, there’s this top paid ad that’s up front and people automatically assume that’s the official website – and it’s not,” Millan said. The website etagsdirect.com does list fees on its website, including a service fee of $19.95, an agency filing fee of $3 for a one-year renewal and $3.95 shipping and handling. Still, some consumers are contacting the tax collector’s office with complaints.

“All we can do is raise awareness,” Millan said. Etagsdirect.com could not be reached for comment by News Channel 8 on Monday. A spokesman for the Florida attorney general said that office has received about a dozen complaints about the company and is reviewing them.

 

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