A Punta Banco reader said that his vehicle failed inspection in January because the license plate lights were dirty.
“They worked fine, but the dusty road I had to take to get to the station did me in. I took the lenses off and washed them on the inside which took five minutes — then had to wait an additional two hours to get my sticker.”
A woman reader in the Central Valley called the inspection firm, Riteve SyC, gangsters because they snagged her vehicle for a grave infraction because she could not release the hand brake:
“A 300-pound wrestler cranked it so tight, I couldn’t release it. I replaced the @#$!!! cable and have to go back again for another 10K inspection. Total extra cost is $60.”
Another reader said she had to pay 10 times that amount because her front license plate was faded:
“The man at the station told me of a man who would paint them. My attorney informed me that was illegal and my car would be impounded if I did that. Three days rental and new plates from San José cost me almost $600 USD all in all. Imagine!?
The transport minister, Francisco Jiménez Reyes, told lawmakers Monday that Riteve SyC would lose its monopoly in July 2012, and that other firms could participate in providing vehicle inspections. But he also said that officials would demand elaborate inspection facilities similar to the centers that the Spanish firm now operates. Each would be in the $800,000 neighborhood with significant operating costs.
The creation of the vehicle inspection monopoly has provided jobs for many young men and women who graduated with engineering or automotive degrees. And some take their job very, very seriously, hence the reader complaints. They responded because the editor in the overnight A.M. Costa Rica digest note said that he had been snagged for a minor penalty because his vehicle had a rusty tailpipe.
In fairness to the inspection employees, the editor said that the firm caught a serious but hidden steering problem with his vehicle this month.