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Lawsuit accuses BMV of overcharging for driver’s licenses

March 7, 2013

A lawsuit filed in Marion County claims that the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has overcharged residents for their driver’s licenses by as much as $7 per license.

Cohen & Malad LLP filed the proposed class-action suit on behalf of Tammy Raab, who paid $21 for a license on Feb. 16, 2010. According to the suit, under Indiana law, since October 2008, the most a person under the age of 75 can be charged for a six-year license is $15; $13.50 for a five-year license; and $14 for a four-year license. The BMV charges $21, $19.50 and $18, respectively, for the licenses.

There is a base price for the three types of licenses outlined in Indiana Code and Public Law, and several fees are allowed to be imposed, including a Transaction Service Charge. But the lawsuit alleges the state agency has overcharged Hoosiers, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overpayments.

The suit claims some residents have been overpaying since 2007.

“This action seeks to remedy this longstanding practice by requiring the BMV to disgorge the millions of dollars in illegal fees to the Indiana residents who paid them, and to enjoin the BMV from charging a fee for the issuance of an Operator’s License to persons under the age of 75 that exceeds the amount allowed by the law,” according to the suit.

The proposed class is “all persons who are currently citizens of Indiana and who, since March 7, 2007, paid a fee to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to obtain or renew a motor vehicle Operator’s License while less than 75 years of age.”

“Hoosiers’ ability to drive their cars cannot be held hostage to arbitrary fees imposed by the BMV. The BMV does not have the authority to charge fees at its discretion,” said attorney Irwin Levin of Cohen & Malad. “In some instances, Indiana drivers were overcharged as much as $7 for their license. The BMV needs to be held accountable and Indiana residents deserve restitution.”

The suit seeks class certification, damages or restitution for Raab and the proposed class against the BMV in the amount of the overcharges, an order preventing the BMV from charging a fee for the issues of the licenses to people under 75 that exceeds the amount allowed by law, and attorney fees, costs and interest.

The case is Tammy Raab, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. R. Scott Waddell, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 49D06-1303-PL-8769.

 

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