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Topic # 87074 19-Jul-2011 11:18
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Not at all interested in buying one, but in a conversation with a colleague the other day, we noticed the cost of personalised plates seems to have increased astronomically in recent years.

A number of years back (maybe 5 at most) I (along with other family members) purchased a plate for my parents, and from memory, it was in the order of $400. At the time I thought it was steep, but parents can be hard to buy for at the best of times, and they loved

Looking at the plates website now, the starting price for a fully personalised plate is $839!!

For the cost of the metal, and the overhead of the software to come up with the plate design, and the actual processing the manufacture of the plate, this seems to be a bit of a monopolistic rort.

Especially when the cost of a plate remake is only $21 - $58 (seems a reasonable price to me)

I am assuming that the company behind Plates .co.nz have the monopoly on the selling and making of personalised plates?  Or am I wrong, and there are alternative cheaper ways of getting a non-'next-cab-off-the-rank' plate?



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  Reply # 495192 19-Jul-2011 11:26
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This is a combination of two simple things:

1) Plates have the monopoly
2) There's a sucker born every minute (and they love customised plates.)




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  Reply # 495195 19-Jul-2011 11:35
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I was wondering the same myself actually.

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  Reply # 495199 19-Jul-2011 11:50
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Wow, it is astronomical, I remember when I got mine back around '00, it was about $500.

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  Reply # 495201 19-Jul-2011 11:52
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I remember when they were $399



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  Reply # 495213 19-Jul-2011 12:15
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Telco's get reported to the Com Com all the time for being 'monopolistic', maybe these guys need to be referred to them as well?

Then again, you'd probably find:
a) a significant % goes in revenue to the govt anyway (so it really is just a "sucker tax" as per earlier comment by @Muppet)
b) someone in the government is a majority shareholder in the company


I know the law of supply and demand come into play, and if some sucker is prepared to pay, then good on them. I would have thought that given the remaining plates options are probably more obsure, the price may have been coming DOWN, but not the case here at all.

Must be a damn good money spinner for someone.  How to take a VERY cheap piece of raw material, and suddenly make it VERY valuable!

A quick search of the companies register shows the 'owner' lives at a RATHER nice pad in Auckland.

#Jealous :(

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  Reply # 495234 19-Jul-2011 12:45
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I just wish they'd spend less of it on their cheesy, cringe-making radio ads.




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  Reply # 495250 19-Jul-2011 13:01
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wallross: Looking at the plates website now, the starting price for a fully personalised plate is $839!!


If you add the text top and bottom it's an extra $120 per line (from memory), pushing the cost even higher.

I have two sets of personalised plates, first ones I bought many years ago were pretty cheap (~$400), the most recent ones were almost double.

A bit like buying a domain from a domain squatter - personalised plates have something you want, and you a premium to get it.  Sucks but that's life...

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  Reply # 495253 19-Jul-2011 13:03
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I think you fellas are way off the mark on this one.

All net proceeds from personalized plates go to the Road Safety Trust (not the Government!) which uses the money to fund road safety initiatives. They are a non-profit organization, so it is not a case of a company reaping huge financial rewards for no other reason but profit.

http://www.roadsafety.govt.nz/






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  Reply # 495254 19-Jul-2011 13:05
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@scuwp: I didn't realise that, thanks for pointing it out. Is it all proceeds though? The first sentence of that website states:

"The Road Safety Trust is a Crown established charitable trust that receives its funding from a share of the proceeds of personalised licence plate sales."




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  Reply # 495256 19-Jul-2011 13:09
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AFAIK the Personalized Plate runs as a company (as you would expect) so they have operating costs, wages etc to deal with. Any money left over after that goes to the trust.

Kinda like the Lotteries Commission I guess...all profits (after expenses) go back to the community.

Doesn't answer the large price hike question though. I would guess its a combination of increased operating costs through inflation, and perhaps increased demands on the trusts activities perhaps.





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  Reply # 495265 19-Jul-2011 13:35
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scuwp: AFAIK the Personalized Plate runs as a company (as you would expect) so they have operating costs, wages etc to deal with. Any money left over after that goes to the trust.

Kinda like the Lotteries Commission I guess...all profits (after expenses) go back to the community.



Fair enough to compare the Lotteries Commission to the Road Safety Trust.  Does that then make Personalised Plates Ltd. comparable to a Lotto outlet?  Of course I can choose which shop to buy my Lotto ticket at, albeit at a fixed price. 

Does the Road Safety Trust, or some related government agency, determine the price or does Personalised Plates Ltd?  If the former then it wouldn't make a difference whether there is one organisation or 20 organisations where one can buy their plates from.





Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. (T.S. Eliot)


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  Reply # 495267 19-Jul-2011 13:36
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floydbloke:
Fair enough to compare the Lotteries Commission to the Road Safety Trust.  Does that then make Personalised Plates Ltd. comparable to a Lotto outlet? 


Yup, you find dumb suckers in both places!

(Ok ok I'm leaving now.)

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  Reply # 495271 19-Jul-2011 13:41
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wallross: Not at all interested in buying one, but in a conversation with a colleague?the other day, we noticed the cost of personalised plates seems to have increased astronomically in recent years.

A number of years back (maybe 5 at most) I (along with other family members) purchased a plate for my parents, and from memory, it was in the order of $400. At the time I thought it was steep, but parents can be hard to buy for at the best of times, and they loved

Looking at the plates website now, the starting price for a fully personalised plate is $839!!

For the cost of the metal, and the overhead of the software to come up with the plate design, and the actual processing the manufacture of the plate, this seems to be a bit of a monopolistic rort.

Especially when the cost of a plate remake is only $21 - $58 (seems a reasonable price to me)

I am assuming that the company behind Plates .co.nz have the monopoly on the selling and making of personalised plates?? Or am I wrong, and there are alternative cheaper ways of getting a non-'next-cab-off-the-rank' plate?



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  Reply # 495273 19-Jul-2011 13:42
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scuwp: AFAIK the Personalized Plate runs as a company (as you would expect) so they have operating costs, wages etc to deal with. Any money left over after that goes to the trust.

Kinda like the Lotteries Commission I guess...all profits (after expenses) go back to the community.

Doesn't answer the large price hike question though. I would guess its a combination of increased operating costs through inflation, and perhaps increased demands on the trusts activities perhaps.




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  Reply # 495292 19-Jul-2011 14:30
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@scuwp: Thanks for pointing that out. 

Would be interesting to know how much of sale price goes to the Road Safety Trust (RST), and how much goes to funding the 'pool guy' of the company ower ;)

Looking at the RST website, in particular last years annual report:

Establishment and membership
The Trust was established in August 1989. It is empowered to receive and invest its portion of revenue from the sale of personalised motor vehicle licence plates, and to make grants from those funds to road safety projects from time to time.

And in the detailed income section, it seems that Plates are the main source of income for the Trust.

Details on the actual amount they get per sale is not clear:

The Trust is funded from the Crown Share of the initial sale of every personalised number plate.
Personalised Plates Ltd (PPL) is contracted to market personalised motor vehicle licence plates. Its main
activities are:
- routine sales of personalised plates
- auctions of high-demand plates.
PPL’s marketing and sales results provide the Trust with revenue. Since 1997, when the ownership of PPL changed, the Trust has been entitled to receive the entire Crown Share of PPL’s earnings. Revenue received from PPL totalled $1,065,267 for the year, down by $166,604 on last year.

And:

Financial Performance
The Trust is funded from a portion of the profits received from the first-time sale of personalised motor vehicle licence plates. Personalised Plates Limited (PPL), the company contracted to market the plates, continues to perform well. The current economic climate has impacted on plate sales and the Trust consequently received less revenue from this source over the past two financial years.

Hmmm - maybe the fact PPL put the costs up means you are selling less, and revenue is down as a result - I wonder with the increase sale price, does the Trust get an increase in share of the revenue, or if there is a fixed price model in place??

So I feel better that it seems that anyone with a spare $800+ to drop on a plate is actually funding a government led road safety programme in some part.  But it would be interesting to see if they dropped the price, whether more people would buy plates, and therefore actually increase the revenue stream into the trust.

I wonder whether under the official information act you could get details of the revenue share arrangement between PPL and the Trust, or if this would be deemed commercially secret??

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