Online traffic schools have improved greatly over the past few years (especially in California and Texas), but there are still some scams out there. As if receiving a traffic ticket wasn’t bad enough, now you have to watch out for traffic schools that will downright scam you. Here are some of the online traffic school scams that exist.
Legit Online Traffic Schools That Are Not Approved In Your State
Here’s a really deceitful tactic. Many online traffic schools will be approved in only one or two states, but offer courses in every state. AND… if they aren’t approved in your state, they won’t tell you. End result? You pay for a course and spend hours of your life going through a traffic school that doesn’t even count towards your court or point reduction requirements. Can you imagine?!
How To Avoid This Scam: Always cross reference the course you’re about to sign up for with a list of all approved online traffic schools in your state. You can either obtain a list from your clerk of courts or check your states DMV (or related) website. I also maintain a running list of online traffic schools approved in each state. Choose your state here and find a course that is approved.
Third Party Resellers Of Online Traffic Schools That Overcharge
There are two ways to sign up for an online traffic school. First, you can go through a certified and state approved school directly. Second, you can go through a third party reseller. What is the advantage of going through a 3rd party reseller? Absolutely none. Generally, what a reseller will do is advertise for a course that doesn’t even exist. Once you fill out the sign up form, you are then redirected to a certified school. In the process, the 3rd party reseller will charge a higher price and take a cut of the profits. You lose.
How To Avoid This Scam: As with the advice listed above, make sure you always cross reference traffic schools with a list you either obtained from a court, on your states motor vehicles website, or by visiting my list of certified online traffic schools listed by state.
Avoid Paying Outrageous Shipping Charges
This is one that is really bothersome to me, because it falls into that “hidden charges” category. Most people wait until the last minute to complete their online traffic school. It’s not like anyone is ever anxious or excited to sign up. Chances are, you’re being forced to take traffic school or else you face even worse consequences like a messed up driving record, higher insurance premiums, etc. Well, here’s the thing… These online traffic schools know that. So, they set up their “shipping and processing” times to be as long as 7 to 14 days. If you need your certificate of completion sooner, you better cough up an extra $15 or $20+ for expedited shipping and handling fees. Yeah, $15 or $20 to send a little piece of paper to you. Unbelievable.
How To Avoid This Scam: There are two ways you can avoid these ridiculous inflated shipping fees. For some of you, the certificate is electronically sent and filed with the court automatically. If that’s the case in your state, no worries. But in other states, you have to actually be mailed the certificate and hand deliver it to the court. If you fall in that category, you either have to complete the course soon enough, or ask the court for an extension. Many people don’t realize asking for an extension is a relatively common thing and courts are pretty liberal about granting them. Just explain your situation and that you will have the certificate in 2 weeks (or whenever). Chances are, they’ll have no problem giving you the extra time you need. That way, you save yourself big shipping charges and giving those crooks that money. Unfortunately, it’s not just scammy online traffic schools that do this. It is common practice, even among the good ones.
Beware Of “Course Timers”
Not all states require a course timer to be used. For those who aren’t familiar, a course timer is used to make sure you spend the required time on your course. So, if your online traffic school is supposed to take 6 hours to complete, a course timer will make sure you actually spend that much time on the course. However, not all states require a course timer to be used anymore, yet there are some schools that still use those timers. Many online traffic schools were established years ago and they can’t even seem to keep up with the latest rules and regulations related to online traffic schools.
How To Avoid This Scam: Unfortunately, most of you will still have to use a course timer. But for others, like those of you in California, course timers are not required. Once again, check out my online traffic schools by state page and go with one of my recommended schools. I’ve basically already done all the homework for you relating to course timers.
Avoid Inexpensive Upfront Charges
Imagine this scenario for me.
You go online and you type into your search box “cheapest online traffic school.” There pops up an ad for a program offering to teach you “everything you need to know about safe driving” for only “$3.99.” You feel happy — of course — because you think that you’ve saved yourself a couple of bucks.
But that happiness won’t last too long.
You’ve probably heard this time and again but it bears repeating that, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Dozens of online traffic schools will do this. They advertise to you a discounted price, promise you “freebies” and other benefits, all to lure you into enrolling in their course.
Once you’re hooked, they slap you with all of these extra charges and “important” add-on programs. You end up spending more than what you were promised which — honestly — who wants that?!
How to Avoid This Scam: While it’s true that you shouldn’t spend a fortune on traffic school, you shouldn’t go for the cheapest online program you can find either! No respectable institution will low-ball themselves for students. However, there may be some who are willing to offer a small discount for first-time enrollees.
This brings us to our next and final example.
Don’t Pay Full Price!
While it’s true that there are some schools that scam students with discounts, there are still a few reliable institutions that offer legit promo codes, coupons, rebates, and special links that can save you a few bucks.
Never pay full price for an online traffic school. Either perform a search for discounts on the course you want to sign up for or check out my online traffic school discount codes. I try to keep that page as updated as possible.
Every day, scammers just get better and better with their con game. The only way to prevent any of them from taking advantage of us is to be careful with the transactions we perform online.
I hope this article helps you decide on signing up for a legit online traffic school and also helps you to understand the scams that exist out there. Overall, online traffic school is way better than taking a traffic school in a classroom. You just need to get signed up for the right course and you’ll be good to go.