Thursday, July 10, 2008

The JCI Scam Begins Again

JCI, or Japanese Compulsory Insurance, is a term that often instills fear in the hearts of many a servicemember here in the Land of the Rising Sun. The insurance itself isn't a big deal; it's a simple fee to be paid every two years. Unfortunately, the government of Japan also conducts a vehicle inspection and collects a "weight tax" at the same time. This is a sort of shell game that has the "customer" running all around to various locations in a feeble attempt to complete the scavenger hunt before the registration offices close at 3pm.

Here's the odd part: If you pay your inpsection fees and weight tax, it's only good for that day. If your vehicle fails to pass the inspection, and the repairs cannot be made prior to 3pm, you'll have to start the process from scratch (and pay the fees and tax again) the next business day (yep; you can only eperience this rectal raping during working hours). Nobody seems to have an intelligent answer as to why there is a "weight tax," in addition to the "road tax," or why the weight tax certificate is only good for one day.

The inspection itself is a sham that the perpetrators barely make an effort to disguise as legitimate. They always find something wrong, whatever they find wrong always involves a defective part that needs to be changed, and the garage right down the road from the inspection station always has that part in stock. The garage will not, however, be able to complete the repair prior to 3pm (ever), and customers will get to experience the JCI joy again the next day...guaranteed.

All of the local garages, including those on base, will complete this obstacle course for you...for a huge fee. Most people pay this outrageous fee, just to avoid the hassle of being screwed in person. They have no idea how obviously shady this whole process is, because they simply don't get to see it up close. I've gone through this procedure with two previous vehicles, and I get to do it again next week. Doing it myself, instead of getting indirectly screwed (with the help of a local garage), will save me a couple of hundred bucks. Wish me luck.

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