The story appears on

Page A4

December 13, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Public Services

Old taxis sold as family cars

MOTORISTS have paid out about 40,000 yuan (US$ 6,000) for a second-hand car, only to discover that they've been landed with a clapped-out taxi.

Some underground sellers are duping buyers into buying retired taxi cabs with worn-out engines by hiding the vehicle's real identity, a Shanghai Daily investigation has discovered.

Police and the government-authorized used-car market authorities say they are working to stop the conmen, after an increase in reports.

"Together with the police, we have added warning signs in the market, telling people to avoid dealing with dubious sellers, and we carry out random checks to uncover unlicensed dealers," said Cheng Qianping, manager with the Xinzhuang Second-Hand Automobile Market, a major used-car center in the southern suburb.

"But they are still difficult to catch and stop."

Cheng added: "Retired taxis are allowed for second-hand trade. But these sell for 20,000 yuan, or less. However, a used private car averages at 40,000 to 50,000 yuan."

Some dealers have disguised taxis as private cars and offer them at the 40,000 yuan market baseline to attract business, according to some victims.

A local court last week held a first hearing of a case filed by a car buyer who claims to have been cheated on a deal completed earlier this year.

The plaintiff, surnamed Xie, has demanded a full refund. "I paid 40,000 yuan for the car and thought it was a good bargain," she said.

The seller allegedly made excuses not to give her the car documents after Xie paid a deposit. When she cleared the full payment, she received the car certificates which clearly stated "retired taxi."

In other cases, victims were shown bogus car documents hiding the car's real history.

"Each car has an engine number. People can always use the serial number to trace its history and identity in the official registration database," said Li Weikang, a licensed dealer at the Xinzhuang market.

"Fake car identity documents cost only 100 to 200 yuan in underground circles, and, for the inexperienced, they are difficult to spot," Lia added.

A taxi can clock up more than 100,000 kilometers each year, several times more than a private car.

According to Chinese law, taxis must be taken off the road eight years after they start running. Private cars can stay for at least 14 years.

Meanwhile, new regulations are being introduced to stop retired taxis being bought and used as "cloned cabs" - cars which still bear taxi markings but are unlicensed.

Under the new regulations, which takes effect next month, taxi companies' logos, color schemes and operation signs must all be removed once vehicles are withdrawn from service.

Otherwise, the taxi company will be fined up to 5,000 yuan, said the city's taxi industry watchdog.

Each month, more than 1,000 cabs are taken out of service, said Cai Jingyan, deputy chief of the city traffic law enforcement team.

"But many are sold without any cleanup," said Cai. "They can be easily changed into cloned cabs."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend