Drone pilots have to pay just $5 to get their aircrafts registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, if you get your drone registered via one of these websites, it could cost you almost 40 times as much.
Websites such as FederalDroneRegistration.com and FAADroneZones.com claim to be official FAA drone registration online portals but they are charging drone pilots a hefty sum of $200.
Here is a screenshot from FederalDroneRegistration.com that shows a DJI Inspire’s registration being charged at $24.99. The website offers that the pilots can get FAA labels and ID card for $49.99.
The same website offers yet another bundle and access to an online training facility for a whopping $199.
Similarly, FAADroneZones.com charges drone pilots $59.99 for the registration of a single drone and a handsome $99.99 for the registration of five drones through them.
Majority of the websites, however, furnish legal registration number. But with that, the drone pilots are obliged to pay them $200 along with their personal information. The website owners pay the $5 fee to FAA from this amount to get the registration card that could also have been acquired by the pilot himself with the payment of just $5 and without handing over his personal information to anonymous scammers.
There are numerous websites posing as FAA that charge one fee for the registration of a single drone and a higher fee for the registration of multiple drones. It should be kept in mind that the official $5 fee payable to FAA covers all the drones owned by a pilot.
Most of the scam sites do have fine print delineating that they are not associated to the FAA.
The more shrewd readers may be able to detect the scam but there are people who are lured into the scam and end up spending way more than they actually should have.
Websites such as FederalDroneRegistration.com vindicate their handsome fees by claiming that they have been developed to help simplify the drone registration process and assist drone owners in getting through the complicated scheme of things with minimum possible fuss.
The point that we want to drive home here is that it is absurdly easy to get your drone registration with FAA. You simply have to log into the FAA’s official website, provide your basic information such as name and address, deposit $5 and get your personal identification number and certificate to print out. It almost takes roughly between two and three minutes till you enter your credit card number.
The FAA has issued alerts regarding the fake websites as a statement by the agency said that there were some websites that attempted to imitate the FAA’s website with similar graphic design and FAA logo or somehow suggest that they have been authenticated by the agency. The statement further warns that the users could be wasting their money by getting their drones registered through them.
There is a point of obfuscation though pertaining to the fact that whether you need to get your drone registered or not.
The rules in the US have been chopped and changed regarding drone registration in recent times.
Presently, all drones weighing more than 0.55lbs need to be registered with the FAA. Previously, drones were required to be registered under the Small Drone Registration Rule effective December 21, 2015. A ruling by a court overturned the regulation in May, 2017 but the rule was again put in place in December, 2017 vide National Defense Authorization Act.
So, all pilots at present need to get their drones registered but they have to be careful that they do not spend more than $5.
FAA strongly advises pilots to get their machines registered at the FAA Drone Zone as it is the only way to legitimately get the aircrafts registered without getting stripped of money.
According to statistics disseminated by FAA, more than one million drones have been registered in the US.