Cloned Number Plate Issues
Vehicle-related crime in South Africa is on the rise though the list of offences goes beyond hijackings and car theft.
While it may not be as common as those crimes, vehicle number-plate cloning affects many SA motorists, reports Law for All.
How prolific is plate cloning in SA?
Law For All said: "Much like identity theft, this means that a criminal can pass of your information and details as their own, and it has widespread consequences.
"While exact statistics aren’t available for the nationwide prevalence of number plate cloning, it’s been reported that around 1 in 5 vehicles in Gauteng have had their plates copied. These duplicates are used by other motorists to avoid paying traffic fines and e-toll fees, and it’s frightfully easy to obtain a fake number plate."
Law For All said: "Various investigations from local news outlets have uncovered that fraudulent number plates can be obtained relatively easily.
"Apparently, it is as easy as walking into an SABS-approved shop and ordering one – without having to produce an ID or license disc. Of course, there are a number of 'backstreet' outlets that sell fake plate as well."
According to Law For All managing director, advocate Jackie Nagtegaal, any traffic fine (whether parking, speeding or e-toll penalty) that is incurred by the criminal using a fake number plate will fall to the legitimate owner of the vehicle to pay.
"The onus is on the legal owner of the vehicle to prove his or her innocence. This also means that motorists could face potential criminal charges if the fines go unpaid for a long period of time. In short, motorists can ‘commit crimes’ without their knowledge," warns Nagtegaal.
Additionally, unresolved fines could result in motorists not being able to renew their vehicle’s licence disc.
The four city RTOs at Tardeo, Andheri, Borivli and Wadala sold 6,652 VIP registration numbers in the past eight months and garnered Rs 6.08 crore. Across Maharashtra, one lakh citizens have purchased special numbers from RTOs for Rs 77 crore.
On average, the city RTOs earn close to Rs 12-14 crore annual revenue from the sale of special numbers. The number ‘1’ can fetch a maximum of Rs 12 lakh if it is not available in the current running series and is purchased from a future series. A two-wheeler owner can buy the special number for Rs 1.5 lakh. At the Andheri RTO, large TV screens display information on VIP numbers.
The latest statistics show that Pune tops all RTOs when it comes to selling the special registration numbers, while Mumbai comes fifth.
While Pune RTO has sold 30,366 numbers and fetched a revenue of Rs 23.45 crore, this was followed by Nashik RTO where 27,545 VIP numbers were sold to citizens at a cost of Rs 19.59 crore. At Thane, as many as 10,744 special numbers were sold to fetch a revenue of Rs 9.98 crore while Kolhapur sold 10,611numbers for Rs 7.3 crore.
The craze for getting a VIP number began in the northern states,” said an official. For example, in Punjab, there have been cases of farmers buying VIP numbers for lakhs of rupees in auction. In 2012, a Chandigarh businessman purchased registration number CH-01-AN-0001 for Rs 17 lakh. The number AK-47 is also popular in Punjab and sold for Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh almost every year.
A UNIQUE number plate that is being sold at a private auction for an estimated £1 million
has caused outrage among some members of the Hindu community who want it available
for purchase to the general public.
The 2018 pre-released plate, which reads SR1 8APS, is being sold privately for the first
time in the UK with no minimum reserve.
BAPS, an abbreviation for Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha, is a leading charitable organisation. It is the name behind the Swaminarayan temples in India, the UK
and US, among other countries – the Hindu temple in Neasden, north London, is a BAPS
The auction for SR1 8APS (which reads SRI BAPS) is likely to break the current record of
the biggest sale for a number plate of £518,000.
A flyer, advertising the sale of the plate and only circulated among an exclusive group of
individuals and organisations, states that the auction is by “invite to offer only” and not yet
open to the general public.
Only if the number plate fails to sell at the private event will it be auctioned to the general
public at a later date next year.
One member from the Hindu community said: “A number of followers of the Shri BAPS
said it was unfair, as there are many who can afford it but are unable to put in an offer.
“I myself have been trying for the last week to submit an offer, but have been refused. This
is not fair, it’s discrimination. I have the money, so why can’t I buy it? Who has been invited to offer? Why do they have this privilege and we don’t?”
The vehicle registration number is the only one that can ever be formed using the combinations of letters and numbers by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
In 2015, an Indian businesswoman broke the previously-held record after buying a number plate reading KR15 HNA after the Hindu deity Krishna, for £233,000 although the bid was open to the public.
A DVLA spokesperson said: “The personalised number plate was sold by the DVLA some time ago so we’re no longer involved – it is now a private sale. It is up to (the seller) how
they resell that number plate, whether they choose to have a private sale or an auction – it
is up to them once they own that registration.”
Remember that, despite valuations and estimates, a private number plate is only worth as much as someone will pay for it. You may have loved your personalised number plate because it contains your initials, for example, but if there aren’t many other people with your initials, the plate’s value may be minimal. On the other hand, if you have a plate whose letters contain common or popular names, you may well find that it is in high demand on the market.
Some criteria to consider when valuing a personalised car number plate
Take into account the following criteria when trying to come up with a valuation for your private number plate. You need to look at them all together if you want a realistic price, so you can’t just pick and choose the factors that favour your number plate!
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