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August 1, 2013

THEIR VIEW: BMV can save face by returning money

Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles says motorists the agency charged too much for driver’s licenses will receive credit for the amount they were overcharged.

BMV Commissioner R. Scott Waddell said in a statement that the agency will “immediately” credit motorists’ accounts with the department for the amount they were overcharged.

He said the BMV believes it’s “important to return the overcharge directly to those who have been impacted” in light of what he called the “recently discovered overcharge.”

Waddell added, “It is the right thing to do.”

We agree.

So, next time you go into the BMV on Burkart Boulevard in Seymour to do business, you’ll get a $3.50 credit for each operator’s license you have. The credit will be attached to your identity, so if you were overcharged, you should get that money back eventually.

In March, notice of a lawsuit was filed, contending that the bureau “systematically overcharged” millions of Hoosiers for their driver’s licenses for years with extra fees not allowed under state law. The lawsuit took issue with fees put in place in 2007 that charge drivers $4 to $7 when they renew their licenses.

The fees exceed charges authorized by the Indiana General Assembly, the lawsuit claims.

“I’m not in a position to guess as to why this happened,” said Irwin Levin, the attorney who filed the suit. “All I know is that the law is very, very specific as to what the component parts of the fee are, and they charged more than that.”

“These fee overcharges, in amounts as high as $7 per license, have affected millions of transactions and forced these applicants to pay tens of millions of dollars more than they are lawfully required to pay in order to obtain their Operator’s Licenses,” the lawsuit alleges.

Hoosiers may have been overcharged between $30 million and $40 million, according to the law firm’s calculations.

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