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DMV cracks down on groups that hoard, try to sell driver license appointments

KIFI

By LARRY SEWARD

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    MIAMI, Florida (WFOR) — The state of Florida’s agency in charge of confirming appointments to get driver licenses said it cancels approximately 1,000 a day. It is part of a crackdown on groups that hoard and try to sell appointments.

Those canceled are all “fictitious appointments,” according to a Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles spokesperson.

The state requires customers seeking a driver’s license to make appointments. However, the DMV does not charge booking fees and urges people to be wary of any group accepting money in exchange for an appointment.

Ashley Riesgo, 16, is running out of time, though. In three weeks, her only ride to school and work leaves for college and the odds of the student driver scoring her own license to drive before then seemed longer than lines wrapped around any DMV office.

“I was staying up to like 12 o’clock, three o’clock in the morning just refreshing (my internet browser on the FLHSMV website), hoping I would see an appointment,” Riesgo said. “But I never saw any availability. I did that for like three weeks and I was like this is way too much.”

In Miami Gardens, people lined up said they too experienced long waits to secure appointments Monday.

FLHSMV authorities know about appointment delays and a third-party hustle they said “takes advantage” of the situation and makes it worse.

“I could not get any appointment at the DMV and it was just like the last option,” Riesgo said.

Friends told her about driving schools that book appointments to students for an extra $100 or more. One of them promised Riesgo a spot Tuesday afternoon.

“He said here’s a time,” she said. “It’s like a 10-minute test and then after that they give you a certificate and you head to the DMV and get a renewal license appointment.”

A spokesperson responded with an emailed statement.

“FLHSMV is aware that a number of third-party appointment brokers reserve the free driver license appointments and then attempt to resell them to potential customers,” Molly Best, Director of Communications for the agency said.

“FLHSMV will never charge a customer a fee for booking an appointment.”

“We are discouraged that these third parties are taking advantage of the situation and are in turn making the situation worse. Since these brokers were first detected, FLHSMV has committed significant resources to review appointment requests and, as a result, cancels approximately 1,000 fictitious appointments per day.”

“In addition, we’re working with the vendor of our appointment system to explore ways to prevent these fictitious appointments and using automated tools to pinpoint and cancel appointments created by third-party brokers. Additionally, FLHSMV is not responsible for appointments booked through third parties and cannot guarantee that those appointments will be honored.”

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