Beware of rod licence rip-off merchants
I like to think I’m reasonably easy going and even tempered but occasionally something comes along that really does piss me off big time. Last week I received complaints from anglers angered by the re-emergence of a website offering a rod licence renewals ‘service’ which charges an incredible £11 for ‘processing’ online applications. Eleven Bloody Quid to process a £27 rod licence that can be done for nothing over the phone or online or in person through the Post Office!
Apparently this shameless rip off is perfectly legal and the situation has been made worse by the idiotic government ban on marketing imposed on the guys at the EA and other public agencies. This has stopped the successful renewals campaigns that we have seen in previous years, led inevitably to a drop in sales and opened up an opportunity for ‘ online shysterism’ as rodlicencedotbloodynet now comes up top of any Google search for rod licence renewals.
I guess this is what David Cameron’s Big Society is all about? Rolling back the frontiers of the public sector and allowing the spivs to charge us for a free service and take much needed funds that should be going into fish and fisheries.
The Angling Trust is quite rightly warning anglers not to pay a penny more than they need and is encouraging everyone to use the completely free service provided by the Environment Agency and the Post Office.
The Environment Agency website has been amended to warn people that there is no need to pay any processing charges whatsoever.
Paul Lidgett, Senior Fisheries Officer with the Environment Agency said;
“We are aware that other websites offer to ‘process’ your rod licence application for you and may charge you a fee for this service. We have no connection with such websites and do not endorse the service they provide. Anglers who buy their licence direct from the Post Office website are not charged an additional fee. They also receive a licence confirmation number by email allowing them to go fishing immediately”
Details of this ridiculous rip off are buried away in the small print at www.rodlicence.net. These extra charges confer no additional benefits to anglers.
“Rodlicence.net offers you third party data processing services, for which we charge a service and administration fee of £5 for short-term licences and £11 for full licences.”
As far as I’m concerned it beggars belief when we are in the middle of a nasty recession which has hit hard the pockets of so many people that there are organisations out there seeking to charge anglers 40% extra on the cost of a coarse fishing licence for absolutely no benefit at all.
The Angling Trust has been lobbying MPs and government ministers to allow the EA to market rod licences and the correct process for renewals as they provide an irreplaceable source of income for both angling and fisheries. However, in the meantime we strongly advice all anglers to avoid these websites like the plague that they are and to apply either on line at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/fishing/31497.aspx or visit their local Post Office in person.
We know that Richard Benyon is embarrassed by the idiotic decision of his government colleagues and we are hopeful that the EA will get an exemption and be allowed to advertise and promote rod licence sales once again in the very near future. Why not drop him a line and tell him what you think ?