Used car's true state shocks buyer
A DAY after he bought a used manual car from dealer Auto 7, problems started to crop up. The dealer had told him it was in good condition when he agreed to buy it.
But he later found out that the sale documents had been forged and the car had been sent for servicing eight times.
It was only after he complained to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) that he was able to get some money back.
In June, the man, who wanted to be known only as Mr Ng, 30, bought a $46,000 Kia car from Auto 7 in Sin Ming Avenue.
The next day, Mr Ng had problems using the reverse gear while driving.
He said: "I felt there was no latch for me to properly engage the gear. I just knew something was wrong."
Mr Ng, who works in the finance industry, then took his car to Cycle & Carriage, the distributor for Kia models.
He was told the car needed to have repairs done, and that major repairs had been performed on his car.
But according to the Vicom evaluation report by the sales manager at Auto 7, which was handed to Mr Ng after he bought the car, it had only undergone paint touch-up jobs.
He called the Auto 7 sales manager who sold him the car and asked if he should expect more problems.
The sales manager denied that there was anything wrong with the car, but asked him to visit the Auto 7 showroom.
Mr Ng recalled: "He specifically told me to go and see him instead of going to anyone else."
Instead, Mr Ng went to Vicom to verify what exactly was wrong with his car.
He said: "The people at Vicom told me that the report they handed to Auto 7 indicated eight major repairs."
The major repairs on his car included the replacement of the front bonnet and the front right door.
It was also stated in the actual Vicom report that the gear lever was faulty and that the gear could not be engaged properly when stationary or driving.
When he showed Vicom the copy of his report, he realised that Auto 7 had forged the last page of the report. The original page showed the car had received eight major reports.
The report that Auto 7 gave him indicated that only some paint touch-ups had been carried out on the car.
Mr Ng said: "I was shocked and the salesman had seemed trustworthy enough."
After finding out about the forgery, he tried contacting the dealer, but received no reply. He then went to Case.
Case got in touch with Auto 7 and managed to get the owner of the dealer to agree to compensate Mr Ng $2,000.
He kept the car and used the compensation to carry out the necessary repairs.
Auto 7 has closed and the owner said the sales manager behind the forgery had disappeared.
No police report was made.
Lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said that even if the dealer sells a faulty car to a consumer, the dealer will probably not be liable for criminal prosecution.
"This is so, especially if a consumer had already signed the contract beforehand," said Mr Rajan.
But in this case, Auto 7 could have faced criminal prosecution because it had forged the Vicom report and misrepresented the car being sold.
THE NEW PAPER