Transport for London (TfL) has proposed refusing to accept congestion charge payments from unauthorised third parties in an attempt to clamp down on ‘bogus’ services which often look like its official payment site but can charge vehicle owners excessively in order to pay for the charge.

Unofficial websites can charge unsuspecting customers up to £8 a day on top of the actual £11.50 congestion charge fee for non-existent ‘additional services’, said TfL, and in some cases have not actually paid the charge on their behalf, resulting in penalty charge notices being issued. Some sites have also taken payments for days on which the charge does not apply, such as bank holidays, it has warned.

TfL, which advised operators not to use third party sites to pay for the congestion charge back in January after the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a number of complaints about one particular site,, has said it hopes to start refusing payments from unauthorised third parties in December.

It also plans to replace its underused text message payment option with a new smartphone application in November next year that would make it easier for more customers to pay the charge and carry out basic account checks by phone.

Both plans are subject to a consultation that runs until 12 September.

A spokesman for TfL told that work with a number of search engine providers to remove misleading advertising had already reduced the number of payments received via unofficial websites from around 1,000 to around 30 a day. In all, some 130,000 congestion charge payments are made daily.

If customers receive a penalty charge notice (PCN) for non-payment of the charge but can provide evidence of payment via an unofficial website, “we will look at that favourably when considering whether to waive the PCN,” he added.

Apart from parting customers with more cash than is necessary to pay the charge, ‘copycat’ websites may be in breach of the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations, as well as committing potential offences under the Fraud Act and potentially infringing on TfL’s intellectual property rights, stressed the spokesman.

TfL’s official congestion charge site can be found at