Scooter use has skyrocketed these last few years due to the ever-present concerns over fuel mileage and vehicle emissions. Chinese manufacturers have stepped in to provide many of the machines that are currently available for purchase and are often offered at very low prices. Those low prices make them attractive to people who have never owned a scooter before and are not aware of the diverse brands already on the market. One fact which is often overlooked is that Chinese manufacturing companies come and go with some regularity, and the same scooter could be badged with a different manufacturer logo every day of the week.
The ever-changing Chinese scooter business causes problems when it comes time to register the scooter, as this story very clearly bears out. Randy Bearup purchased a Chinese scooter branded as a Ricardo, and was able to register the scooter for a short period before he was contacted by the DMV, at which time his license plate and registration were requested back. It seems that the scooter, although labeled as California approved, was not in reality ever tested by authorities. Since this particular model of scooter had never been tested, nobody could be sure whether or not it met California's emissions requirements, or any other standards for that matter.
It's important to realize that not all Chinese-made machines are of low quality, and not all are horrible polluters either. But it is difficult to know which brands and machines are properly certified and which ones claim to be one thing but are in fact another To quote the often-used phrase "buyer beware," make sure that the model you are looking to purchase comes from a reputable dealership which carries reputable brands. A little searching on the internet can go a long way towards saving yourself from a major headache later.