Indiana motorists who overpaid for driver’s licenses over the past six years will get the money back in the form of a credit on their next transaction at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the agency announced Friday.
“We realized the best way to make Hoosiers whole and return the overcharge to them without any barriers was to issue them a credit,” said BMV spokesman Josh Gillespie. The credit is immediately available to all overcharged motorists, he said.
“All Hoosiers, in theory, should be made whole within one year,” Gillespie said, since drivers typically renew plates or conduct some other BMV business during a calendar year. “This impacts pretty much every motorist on the road.”
The BMV was sued this year in litigation certified as a class action, claiming the bureau had overcharged motorists for every license issued since March 2007.
Gillespie said the BMV launched its own investigation as a result of the suit and last month announced it concluded motorists had been overcharged. The bureau immediately reduced the cost of licenses by $3.50.
The action announced Friday aims to refund the overcharges the agency collected. The suit claims BMV overcharged motorists by a total of $30 million, but Gillespie declined to say how much the BMV determined had been over-collected during the six-plus years of overcharges.
BMV Commissioner R. Scott Waddell said in a statement, “We believe it is important to return the overcharge directly to those who have been impacted. It is the right thing to do.”
Gillespie said BMV is still working on how to issue the credit to people who have moved or will move out of state. The bureau will make an announcement when that procedure has been determined.
Attorneys for class counsel Cohen & Malad LLC of Indianapolis said Friday the BMV’s credits aren’t enough, and that a court should ensure funds are properly credited to people who overpaid.
“This is the ultimate example of the fox watching the henhouse, for the BMV to unilaterally announce that they've done the math, they’ve got it figured out and they can be trusted to handle the problem," said attorney Richard Shevitz of Cohen & Malad. “The resolution of this case requires court oversight.”