More inspections needed under the hood at car dealers

Buying a car from a parallel importer may result in substantial savings, but the risk of losing is higher.

Getting a car from a dealer can be a harrowing experience, as I can testify to.

Everything seems hunky-dory at the purchase inquiry phase.

However, once the down payment is made, the painful journey begins.

Though one would imagine that the main profit source for the car dealer is the car, few would expect that a substantial part of his earnings comes from commissions paid by the insurance company and financial institution providing the loan.

Hence, dealers compel buyers to use their recommended insurer and financial institution. The buyer also has no prerogative to decide on the loan quantum and tenure.

Any attempt to negotiate will be met by arguments that it is all part of "the package", even though no package was offered before this.

All these requirements are revealed only after the down payment is made, by which time the buyer has no choice but to proceed with the deal.

The crux of the problem is a total lack of transparency and the employment of hard-sell tactics, which leaves the buyer, especially the uninitiated ones, helpless.

Ironically, some of these car dealers have CaseTrust accreditation, which is supposed to demonstrate their commitment to fair trading and transparency.

The car dealership business is in urgent need of more stringent regulation and legislation to ensure transparency and protection for car buyers.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan