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April 17, 2012

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Fake, inflated license plate papers sold

LOCAL scalpers and illegal agencies are cheating car buyers by inducing them to buy temporary car plate certificates at vastly inflated prices, at a time Shanghai's average permanent car plate has soared to more than 60,000 yuan (US$9,521).

The scalpers also cheat car buyers in two other ways: Often they claim that the certificates can be used permanently, and they also often provide fake temporary certificates. The scalpers charge hundreds of yuan for the temporary certificates that cost only 5 yuan officially.

Media reports said the scalpers, who usually base at car dealerships and second-hand car markets, falsely tell new buyers that the temporary certificates are hard to get, and that they can obtain them quickly. The buyers, put off by the current high permanent plate prices, hand about 200 yuan to the scalpers on average.

Traffic police note that a car owner can easily get a temporary plate certificate three times, and that each one lasts 15 days in Shanghai.

Some car dealerships also have been taking advantage of new buyers who are unfamiliar with the registration process and are charging 50 yuan to provide a temporary plate on the buyers' behalf.

"I do not know how long my temporary plate can be used," said a buyer, surnamed Yang, who bought a car late last year but has not yet gotten a permanent plate.

Yang got the temporary plate via a dealership and renewed it twice. Yang said he once planned to wait for the permanent plate prices to drop but instead the prices have continued to rise. Car plate prices in Shanghai set a record at auction over the weekend, exceeding 60,000 yuan for the first time.

Prices have been above 50,000 yuan since July.

Traffic police warned that car owners with fake plates will be fined up to 1,000 yuan and their license demerit points will all be deducted, meaning their driver's license is suspended.


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