BUFFALO, N.Y. — "It's not a new issue," Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns said.

The problem is with defective New York State license plates.

2 On Your Side has been covering this issue for years. Much of our coverage dealt with the flaking and peeling of state plates with white backgrounds. Now the identical issues have surfaced with yellow (or gold) plates.

And Kearns says this has been a known problem for almost five years.

"They need to do something because it’s unfair to the customers who are depending upon a good product from the state. They’re paying for that. They deserve better,” Kearns said.     

Drivers with shabby plates can get them replaced for free if both plates and the registration are submitted at an auto bureau.

But if a driver wants to keep their plate number or has a vanity plate, they'll have to pay $28.75. The replacement plates will arrive by mail in two to three weeks.

License plates are made by inmates at the state prison in Auburn.

A spokesman for the New York State Department of Corrections tells 2 On Your Side they are aware of what's described as "a limited number" of plates affected. The department is working with vendors to correct the issue of the peeling plates. 

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