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TIP OF THE DAY: Don't get ripped off

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Jonesey

Jonesey Report 21 Mar 2011 08:12

For those that do not know only www.gro.gov.uk is the only online official British Government Registry Office site for English and Welsh Birth, Marriage and Death certificates. If you have the GRO certificate reference they will only charge you £9.25 per certificate (Including postage worldwide) for their standard service.

On the web however you can find many websites which look very official often with UK Passport and DVLA logos on their home page. Even their site name often implies that they are a UK government site. They offer to conduct a search for certificates on your behalf and to supply copy certificates.

The snag?

They can charge £10 for a 3 year span index search E.G if you ask them to look for a certificate issued between say 1943 and 1947 it will cost you £20 for them to look.

For the certificates themselves they charge (Depending upon service) anything between £20.00 and £55 each (including recorded delivery) per certificate.

In case you didn't know you can search for certificate reference numbers yourself free at www.freebmd.org.uk (Records currently up to about 1960) or by using the Ancestry site (Currently up to 2005) which available free in most public libraries.

I have nothing against people making an honest profit but I am against deceit and exploitation.

So do not get ripped off.

GlitterBaby

GlitterBaby Report 21 Mar 2011 08:39

Ancestry are currently charging £22.99 for delivery within 16 working days and £39.99 for their express service

mgnv

mgnv Report 21 Mar 2011 13:01

Jonesey

Re "For those that do not know only www.gro.gov.uk is the only online official British Government Registry Office site for English and Welsh Birth, Marriage and Death certificates"

This is not true, and in fact very recent BMD certs are not available thru the GRO. For BMDs, one can also buy them from the local registery office in which the event was registered. One can also buy an m.cert from the approved person (i.e., vicar etc) if it's in their current register. The cost from these sources is comparable to the GRO - there might be some minor variations, like extras for postage etc.

Your main point that it's very expensive if you hire someone to place the order for you remains unchallenged, though.

Jonesey

Jonesey Report 21 Mar 2011 15:45

mgnv,

Are the local registry offices and approved persons (Vicars ect) that you refer to available online?

Regarding your comment, "very recent BMD certificates are not available thru the GRO." If by very recent you mean certificates for births and deaths that occurred within the last 6 months or marriages that took place within the last 18 months then you are right but otherwise I am afraid that you are wrong.

Here is what the GRO website says:

"For recent events registered within the last 6 months (for marriages this period is extended to 18 months), applications for certificates should be made to the Register Office in the district where the birth, death or marriage took place."

Because of privacy and possible Identity theft prevention reasons there are certain date restrictions on the issuing of birth certificates unless the precise date of birth and parents details ect are known. This applies to births that occurred within the last 50 years. In the event that those details are not known you will be asked for full details as to your purpose for requiring the certificate and your relationship to the person born. If the GRO are satisfied by your answers then they may issue a copy of the certificate but it is entirely at their discretion. To the best of my knowledge and belief however, marriage and death certificates for events that occurred before the 6 and 18 month periods mentioned above are available from the GRO. Those same restrictions also apply to registry offices although I believe that not all the staff members always adhere to them.

I am afraid that I view your post as being both unnecessary as well as being inaccurate and misleading.

InspectorGreenPen

InspectorGreenPen Report 21 Mar 2011 16:14

I don't think the post from mgvn was unnecessary at all, it was a valid point.

With respect to the para "Because of privacy and possible Identity theft prevention reasons there are certain date restrictions on the issuing of birth certificates unless the precise date of birth is known. "

this is not absolutely correct either. The GRO or local Register Office are legally obliged to issue a cert provided the correct details can be determined from the information supplied.

If you don't know the exact date of birth you enter 01/01/yyyy without a GRO reference and the GRO will search for a year either side. Cost is still £9,25 and is refunded in full if the cert can not be found. You will still need to provide full details of the persons and parents names and place of birth.

Joy Kentish Maid

Joy Kentish Maid Report 21 Mar 2011 16:19

Greenwich register office staff do not undertake searches for registrations before 1900. They may change this in the future, I understand.

Local register offices do vary in their undertakings.

Jonesey

Jonesey Report 21 Mar 2011 16:21

IGP,

I suggest that you ring the GRO for clarification.

The telephone number is 0845 603 7788

Jonesey

Jonesey Report 21 Mar 2011 17:25

My sole purpose for posting this tip was to try to prevent people from spending more than they need to when ordering BMD certificates relating to events that occurred in England or Wales.

It stated that www,gro.gov.uk was the only ONLINE official British Government Registry Office site for English and Welsh Birth, Marriage and Death certificates. Which it is.

I mentioned the possibility that you might find other websites which because of their name and logos might give you the impression that they were an official UK Government website. Which they are not.

I pointed out that such websites might charge their users considerably more for the services they provide than the GRO does. Which invariably they do.

I provided information about websites where people could search for the GRO reference numbers of the certificates they required. Which they can.

My intention was certainly not to have the thread disintegrate into a petty argument about wherever else or whoever else can provide copy certificates at similar prices or the legal obligations of the GRO. Unfortunately it seems to have done.

My feelings at the moment are that if those who have chosen to add to this thread in what appears to be a negative vain had chosen instead to contribute in a more positive manner or even to have posted their own tips on the subject, then people, myself included, might have benefited the more.

mgnv

mgnv Report 21 Mar 2011 18:13

Jonesey,

Re "Regarding your comment, "very recent BMD certificates are not available thru the GRO." If by very recent you mean certificates for births and deaths that occurred within the last 6 months or marriages that took place within the last 18 months then you are right but otherwise I am afraid that you are wrong."

That's exactly what I meant by very recent. In fact, that's why I qualified recent as very recent.

Re "Are the local registry offices and approved persons (Vicars ect) that you refer to available online?"

In general, approved persons are not online.
However, several local registers are online, especially for the counties I'm most interested in (DUR, LAN, NBL).

There's more info abt who's online at:
http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/local_bmd


SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 21 Mar 2011 20:11

I have noticed that many people say that it is much better to order from local Registry Offices than it is to order from GRO.


It is NOT ............... if you live overseas


As Jonesy says, GRO is the only online site ................ orders from Registry Offices have to be done either by phone or mail

................ by the time I have added £1 to the cost of each certificate to cover p&h, bought special envelopes, and bought an International Money Order (with bank charge added) because I don't have a sterling bank account .... the cost has almost doubled to £16 or £17 each





It should also be noted that this site says you can order certificates through here ........................ but the cost is much more than £9.25





sylvia

InspectorGreenPen

InspectorGreenPen Report 21 Mar 2011 20:52

Why?

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 21 Mar 2011 21:36

what do you mean ........... why?

InspectorGreenPen

InspectorGreenPen Report 21 Mar 2011 21:48

ring 0845 603 7788

mgnv

mgnv Report 22 Mar 2011 03:31

Sylvia - historically, you're correct, but increasingly, local offices now accept credit cards, so the IMO thingy is less applicable than it used to be.

To give some specific #s, consider the 3 historic counties of the NW. In 1911, these comprised 42 RDs, but nowadays, there's just 29 (incl 4 now in Cheshire - Halton, Tameside, Trafford, Warrington). Of these 29, credit cards are now accepted by 18 local offices.

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 22 Mar 2011 03:55

................... and you think I'm going to pay a long distance phone call to a Registry Office to find out IF they will issue a certificate and IF they will take a credit card, when I know that I can go online to GRO where I know with certainty that they do issue certificates and take credit cards?


How much do you think that phone call would cost?


BTW ..................... I wouldn't be looking at the NW

InspectorGreenPen

InspectorGreenPen Report 22 Mar 2011 06:37

Most local Register Offices now have either their own website or a page on the local council / city website where they are located. This will tell you how to order certs and how to pay.

Here is an extract from our local RO page

"If you wish to obtain a copy certificate for a birth, marriage or death that was registered in xxxx you can apply to us here at xxxx Register Office by post, telephone or in person. Telephone applications require a card payment so please have these details to hand when telephoning the office."

They also go on to say there is a £1 administration charge for applications paid for by card.

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 22 Mar 2011 06:51

yes, but it all becomes that much more difficult when applying from overseas!

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 22 Mar 2011 06:51

not to mention the hours that those offices work vs the hours that I am awake and coherent!