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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Numbers game with LTA: My hope is to make it see the light

The Land Authority of Singapore (LTA) has replied to my query on the rationale for charging me $1,300 for the retention of my almost five-year-old Camry car number so that I could use it on another used but newer car which I bought.

Its reply has not pacified me. Instead it has infuriated me even further.

I had paid $1,000 for that special number in Year 2000 when I bought a new car and had it transferred to another new car five years later, paying only $100. This time, because I had bought a used car, it charged me $1,200 more.

I asked LTA the reason for the huge discrepancy in fees for something that is really simple and routine.

LTA's reply yesterday (July 16) said:

"WE WISH to inform you that the fee to retain the registration number of an existing vehicle, which will be used on a new vehicle to be registered immediately under the same owner's name, is $100.

"However, the fee to retain a registration number, which will be used to replace the number of an existing vehicle that is registered under the same owner's name is $1,300.

"A higher fee is imposed for the latter as it involves replacing a registration number that has already been assigned to the vehicle. You may wish to note that the fee of $1,300 is also comparable to the fee payable to replace an existing number with a number of one's choice (i.e. to bid for a registration number), where the minimum bid amount is $1,000 and the replacement fee is $300 (before GST).

"We hope the above clarifies...

Yours sincerely
LYE WING WAI
EXECUTIVE SERVICE OFFICER"

MY REPLY TO LTA...

"Dear Mr Lye,

"Thank you for responding. However, your explanation does not clarify anything --- it only adds to infuriate me further. I have the following reasons to be upset:

"1) LTA's charge of $1,300 to retain a number plate for a USED car against only $100 for a NEW car is, to my mind, mere exploitation. You said the higher fee is imposed for the former as "it involves replacing a registration number that has already been assigned to the vehicle."

"My counter to that is, you do not have to assign any number to me in the first place because I had already given notice that I was going to retain my old number which I had already paid $1,000 for it almost 10 years. Your reason, sad to say, was a poor excuse.

"2) Even if I accept that I have to pay for your administrative work to replace a registration number that has already been assigned, I would like to understand how you could blatantly charge $1,200 more for a simple task like that.

"When I was at your office this morning (July 15) to settle the transfer, I asked the pleasant lady serving me why there was such a big discrepancy in the fees. She looked at me and smiled knowingly but did not utter a word. For me, that itself was an answer.

"3) Your last statement, "You may wish to note that the fee of $1,300 is also comparable to the fee payable to replace an existing number with a number of one's choice (i.e. to bid for a registration number), where the minimum bid amount is $1,000 and the replacement fee is $300 (before GST)", conveniently forgot that I had already paid for the number that I would like to keep. Why does LTA need to continue charging a ridiculous amount when it knows it is so unjust, inconsistent and illogical?

"Which must lead me to speculate as to why LTA is adopting such a policy even though it knows that it is patently unfair.

"One, which I mentioned in my blog, http://boo-n-bouquet.blogspot.com, is that it wants, in a not-so-subtle way, to weed out those whom it thinks would not be able to afford to own a car in Singapore? I would hate to think that it needs to do this to generate more revenue.

"In a situation like this, what riles me as a Singapore citizen, is that I feel totally helpless when I am confronted with something that I know is totally unfair but cannot do anything to change it. I have very little hope that my reply will be read and considered.

"My only request to you is that you copy this to your Chief Executive. I would like to believe that I have tried my best to right a wrong and, hopefully, some good would come out of it."

LET'S WAIT FOR LTA'S REPLY..

COMMENTS:
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MAIA wrote: "Agree with the owner of this blogspot that the fee of $1,300 is an outrageous amount that LTA is charging just for a retention of an existing number. How does it add up? It's illogical, and not a small sum!
Can LTA please rethink its policies on this issue?

SHIONGE wrote: "You've made your point to them and let's see how they address this. I think many car owners have this same issue like yours so it would be good to highlight this point and see if they do correct this 'wrong' :) "

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