Misleading congestion charge ads removed from Google

Around 1,000 people a day have been charged more than the regular amount - by paying through unofficial websites.

Radical reduction in customers changed 'exorbitant fee'

We have taken further action with Google which means the removal of misleading advertisements for congestion charge payments from Google.

This has radically reduced the number of customers who have fallen victim to exorbitant fees for so-called additional services that either don't exist or are already provided by TfL for free.

We will keep the situation under continuous review and are also urgently examining other ways in which we can protect our customers from unofficial sites.

Our advice remains that customers should only ever use our official website to pay the Congestion Charge.

– Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport

Misleading congestion charge ads removed from Google

Transport for London says misleading adverts for congestion charge sites have been removed from the search pages of Google. ITV News London first highlighted how 1,000 people a day were charged more than the regular amount by paying through unofficial websites.

. Credit: Press Association

The websites claimed they were providing "additional services", but TFL said those services were "non-existent".

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Your views: 'Read the small print' on unofficial congestion charge websites

Join the debate about unofficial websites that charge extra when customers pay for services such as the congestion charge. Tweet us @itvlondon or go to our Facebook page.

Robbie Dee A friend works on one of these websites. And people do not read the small print on anything. People are to quick to click. If you were to read up first you would not pay more. They are providing are service.

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Transport for London 'taking steps' to ensure unofficial websites are not misleading

We welcome the ruling by the ASA and are using this opportunity to again raise awareness of these unofficial Congestion Charge payment sites. Customers should take care when paying the Congestion Charge online and only use the official site www.tfl.gov.uk/cc which is a quick and easy way to pay, and avoids any unnecessary charges.

We are doing as much as we can to minimise the risk of unofficial websites or adverts misleading customers into paying more than they need to, including talking to Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading and calling on search engine providers like Google to do their bit to put a stop to this.

TfL will be taking steps to seek to ensure that unofficial websites and search engines who allow them to advertise are not misleading the public.

We will continue to pursue these avenues but in the meantime we urge motorists to take care and only use TfL's website.

– Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport

The changes ordered by the advertising watchdog over congestion charge websites

The ASA investigated and upheld three complaints relating to the site misrepresenting a link with TfL and not making clear the fees it levied

  • The advertising watchdog investigated and upheld three complaints relating to the site misrepresenting a link with TfL, and not making clear the fees it charged
  • The ASA has told the site that its adverts - including the sponsored search ads on Google - must not appear again in their current form
  • Website operators must also make clear their sitse have no affiliation with TfL and the companies must make their fees clear at the point at which the customer enters the site

Watchdog orders changes to unofficial congestion charge website

by Simon Harris: Political Correspondent

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld three complaints against the website paylondoncongestion.co.uk and ordered the website to make changes. Transport for London claims 1,000 people a day are falling for unofficial websites which levy a £6 premium.

Some websites charge extra fees foe paying the congestion charge Credit: Press Association

TfL Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy is writing to Google demanding adverts are removed from dodgy sites.

In October last year, Boris Johnson called the unofficial sites a "a scam", adding, "surely it's illegal?". Read the story in full here.