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Third Party & Copycat Websites

This website provides consumers with independent advice and services making the passport application and renewal process as simple and stress free as possible for UK citizens. Whether its your first time British passport or you need or you need a replacement password within a week (Fast Track Service recommended) or you need it same day (Premium 1 Day Service recommended) we can assist you secure an Emergency Appointment that will allow you to make you annual holiday. We are an independent company who have no authority to issue British passports as we are not connected with the British government we provide a range of value added and “done for you” services to consumers in exchange for a service fee (which does not reduce the amount due to the Passport Office for the passport itself). Our services and charges are optional and can be avoided by visiting the Gov.uk resource.

Over the last two years there has been a growing amount of government interest into third party websites and consumers experience with them. This climaxed in report published by the Advertising Standards Authority in July 2014. Found here >>> whereby the majority of consumers surveyed showed their support to third party websites seeing that they provided value and a democratic choice for consumers. The majority of participants also saw no requirement for government to make the decision for them on which website they should or shouldn’t use when in need of government documents as the research made clear that the majority of the 1000 participants surveyed saw no need for third party websites to be regulated or banned.

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Consumer Feedback

The “Consumer Experience of Copycat Websites” study (found here >>) commissioned by the Advertising Standards Authority found that the majority of British consumers saw the value in third party providers. Whilst only 9% of the 1000+ participants (less than 1 in 10) who took part in the survey were unsure whether the third party passport website they were shown “quickly” by those running the survey was a government resource  or commercial website we were concerned that not all consumers could differentiate between official government resources and those operated by private companies. Fortunately those participating in the survey were asked to provide suggestions of how such websites should operate in best practice and advertise their value added services to consumers in a manner that maximized transparency that they were not the government resource and that they provide optional third party services. We are proud to state that since the publication of this report we have implemented all published suggestions made by consumers in this study (see the image to left for some of the suggestions).

Government Reaction

In spite of this independent research that the Advertising Standards Authority commissioned which showed consumer approval and support for independent third party companies that assist customers access government services many departments continue attack such websites in their news releases and submit comments to the media such as “we need so shut down these websites”, “tougher enforcement action is being taken” and “we are looking for a revision in the law to ban these websites” these comments made by public servants in spite of public opinion. Further evidence of the average consumer not seeing the need to regulate or outlaw third party websites can be found in two petitions hosted by the Direct.Gov.uk website. One petition that called for all third party websites to be banned received just 77 votes. Another petition that was less bold and asked for consumer support for the idea to “strengthen controls over copycat websites”. It received just 78 votes. Details here >>>

Support of Government Campaign

We support these government departments campaign against “copycat” websites which offer no value to consumers or those set up by fraudsters at an attempt to deceive customers into providing their personal or credit card details to be used in crime however do not agree with their belief that they have the right to choose which websites consumers can and cannot use, they they should pursue an agenda that is not in line with public opinion and that they continue to refer to our website as a “copycat” website which based on the Dictionary definition of  a “mimic” “clone” is an absurd comparison. Over 80% of our package items are not provided by the Gov.uk resource and so you cannot make a fair apples to apples comparison nor would any reasonable person say that “the services we provide are available free or cheaper elsewhere” (which is often used to define a “copycat” website). Under this definition one could argue that a recruitment agency or estate agent was a “copycat” website as they both offer services which are free or cheaper elsewhere.

Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” – Ronald Reagan

Summary

It is hoped that in time the agenda of government departments will be more aligned with what public opinion into how third party websites should operate and be overseen. We also welcome the day when third party websites can return to openly advertise their optional valued added services to British consumers in this democratic country on search engines without government interference. At this time Google, Yahoo! and MSN have been ordered by the British government not to allow providers who assist with securing government documents the chance to offer their service and have continue to insist on “working with the search engines” which presumably means efforts to dictate to the search engines which websites they can and cannot display to consumers who search for government services and most likely instructions to remove websites that do not conform with the current agenda. Once again against published public opinion.

It is our belief that there would be many consumers in the UK who would approve of the government telling them what they can and cannot find online. It would be chilling Orwellian future if search engines permitted those in power to decide what information, stories, products and services that you were aloud to access online. Such control would undermine what the Internet stands for, could be seen as an Internet firewall as operated in communist China and go against what consumers have made it clear they want. Choice.