Polk tax collector says private companies overcharging for vehicle registrations online

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office says customers are being overcharged by private online companies for their vehicle registration renewals.

“I am very concerned about the latest attempt from private online actors to overcharge customers in Polk County for government services without making it clear there are cheaper options," Polk Tax Collector Joe Tedder said in a news release Monday morning. "I do not want to see customers being taken advantage of, and unfortunately, it is happening more and more online, especially with our elderly residents.”

The news release said that in one recent example, a customer paid $202.08 at Swifttags.com for a vehicle registration that would've cost $135.10 using the Tax Collector's Office website, polktaxes.com.

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The agency said several factors contribute to the confusion. For example, customers using search engines likeGoogle or Bing to search for the Tax Collector’s Office online might unknowingly click on one of the private online actors. Search engines often prioritize advertisements from these private companies first.

"These sites have no affiliation with the Tax Collector’s Office and overcharge for the same services that cost less with the Tax Collector’s Office," the news release said.

The agency recommends that customers who want to renew the registrations online do so by going to polktaxes.com directly, instead of using a search engine. The same address is printed on registration-renewal notices that come in the mail.

This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Private companies overcharge for tag renewals, Polk tax collector says