BMV to lower operator's license fees


The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has announced it will immediately reducing the fees for all operator's licenses.

The move comes two months after 13 Investigates reported that a class action lawsuit was filed, alleging that the BMV had been illegally overcharging customers for licenses. Although the difference amounts to about $4 to $7 per transaction, the lawsuit claimed that added up to tens of millions of dollars from four million people that the state was not entitled to collect.

In light of Friday's development, the BMV is now in mediation with attorneys to determine if any refunds will be issued. Indianapolis attorney Irwin Levin sought class action status against the BMV on behalf of Tammy Raab of Marion County.

"We're always happy when our lawsuit motivates the state to follow the law.  We wish they had reduced the fee more to comply with the law.  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," Levin told Eyewitness News.

In May, the BMV responded to to the lawsuit alleging the agency collected $30 million in overcharges. At that time, the BMV said it did not have sufficient evidence to admit or deny there was a systemic problem in charging motorists more for their licenses than allowed by law.

According to the lawsuit, drivers paid $4 to $7 more for a license than they should have paid.  Specifically it alleges a six-year license should cost $15 instead of $21.

A five-year license should be $13.50 instead of $19.50 and the four-year license should cost $14, not $18.

On Friday,  BMV Commissioner R. Scott Waddell addressed the allegations.

"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. We discovered a miscalculation resulting in a $3.50 discrepancy for the six, five and four year standard operator's licenses," he said in a statement.

"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."