I found this article interesting since I have had to renew my driver’s license since 2007 and have also had an address change as well since then. I thought the price seemed high, but really didn’t give it a second thought. This is from the Indy Star and the article can be found here:
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles admitted overcharging Hoosiers for driver’s licenses and cut fees effective today, according to a statement from Commissioner R. Scott Waddell.
The announcement comes as the agency faces a class action lawsuit alleging the BMV charged more for licenses than allowed under Indiana law, a move that affected millions of Hoosier drivers.
“We became aware of the possibility that the BMV could be overcharging Indiana drivers for an operator’s license, and reviewed existing law to determine the exact breakdown of fees that make up the cost of an operator’s license,” Waddell said in a statement issued by the BMV.
“We discovered a miscalculation resulting in a $3.50 discrepancy for the six-, five- and four-year standard operator’s licenses.”
The statement added: “As a result, the charge for a standard six-year operator’s license should be $17.50 instead of $21.00, a standard five-year license should be $16.00 instead of $19.50 and a four-year license should be $14.50 instead of $18.00. Effective immediately, we are reducing the fees for all operator’s licenses accordingly.”
The lawsuit filed in March alleged the BMV “systematically overcharged” Hoosiers for driver’s licenses since 2007, collecting tens of millions of dollars more than allowed under state law. It is pending in Marion Superior Court.
The class-action complaint filed by Irwin B. Levin of the Indianapolis law firm Cohen & Malad seeks a return of the alleged overcharges to drivers statewide.
Josh Gillespie, executive director of communications at the BMV, said the agency “is reviewing possible ways to return money to Hoosier motorists, pending the current litigation.”
The lawsuit alleged that the BMV charged drivers under the age of 75 from $4 to $7 more than Indiana law allows when they obtained or renewed licenses.
“There is specific authority for how much they can charge and what they did instead was, apparently, just made up a number,” Levin said in March. “They just disregarded it.”
In a statement issued this afternoon, Levin said he was happy the lawsuit motivated the state to follow the law.
“We wish they had reduced the fee more to comply with the law,” he said. “We’re in mediation today and hope that the BMV will agree to give back the tens of millions of dollars they have illegally charged through the court and the watchful eye of Judge Welch.”
It is not clear how much Hoosiers were overcharged.
“The state is going to have to give us that,” Levin said when the suit was filed. “But based on our calculations, the number could be as high as $30 or $40 million.”
In 2012, the suit alleges, 2.2 million Indiana driver’s licenses expired and required renewal. If all those licenses were renewed and drivers were overcharged by the lowest amount alleged in the suit, the BMV would have collected $8.8 million more than allowed by law last year.
There are more than 4 million licensed drivers in the state, and many of them were charged “more than they are lawfully required to pay in order to obtain their operator’s license,” the suit contends.
The estimated amount Hoosiers have been overcharged is so high, Levin said, because a majority of drivers have renewed their license at least one time since 2007.