(UNDATED) - The Bureau of Motor Vehicles admitted to overcharging motorists for driver's licenses for at least the last six years, and the agency has immediately cut the price of a license as a result.
"There was a miscalculation, and once we discovered that miscalclulation, we immediately took steps to lower the driver's license fees by that $3.50 overcharge," said BMV spokesman Josh Gillespie. He adds that the BMV began checking for the mistake after a class-action lawsuit was filed in March, claiming that drivers had been overcharged by up to $40 million since 2007.
State law sets the maximum fee for driver's licenses, and while the BMV believes the law allows for a charge of up to $21 for a six-year license - the price charged before today's reduction, Gillespie says the Bureau's interpretation of the law led them to believe that drivers had been charged too much. "The way that the statutes were written and the way we reviewed them, we realized that we were charging $3.50 too much," Gillespie said.
Indianapolis attorney Irwin Levin filed the lawsuit, and says he and the BMV are currently in mediation. He had alleged that the Bureau intentionally overcharged drivers. "We wish they had reduced the fee more to comply with the law," he said in a statement released after the BMV's announcement. "(We) hope the BMV will agree to give back the tens of millions of dollars they have illegally charged through the court." Gillespie says the total amount of the overcharges has not yet been determined, and says the BMV will look at how to refund the money once the lawsuits are settled.
"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," a statement from the BMV said.
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