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Importers who bring in cars in a state of “total loss” will be liable to a fine of ¢1.4 million colones (US$2.800 dollars).

The regulation, Article 5 of the Ley de Tránsito (Traffic Act) goes into force on Saturday, January 26, though it will be up to three months before the regulations will be in effect.

The traffic law will prohibit the registration of vehicles, if:

  • the vehicle has been declared a total loss
  • the vehicle presents unauthorized structural modifications
  • the vehicle has its VIN or chassis identification altered
  • the vehicle has removed from circulation in the country of origin
  • the vehicle does not comply with the general requirement of movement as per subsection d or article 32, concerning the location of the steering wheel (this is to limit the importing of right hand driver vehicles)

According to Silvia Bolaños, director of the Consejo Nacional de Seguridad Vial (Cosevi), the appropriate authorities, including Hacienda (Finance), Aduanas (Customs) and Registro Nacional (property registry) will be given guidelines as to when a vehicle cannot be imported.

The director de Aduanas, Gerardo Bolaños, warns consumers to be careful when buying a vehicle that has yet to clear customs and be registered.