Nearly 80 people join chat group set up by car buyers demanding refunds from dealer

More than 20 people gathered outside Volks Auto, a car dealership in MacPherson Road, on Monday, Dec 15, 2014. Car buyers demanding refunds turned up for the second day in a row on Tuesday, as a WhatsApp chat group of car buyers claiming they ha
More than 20 people gathered outside Volks Auto, a car dealership in MacPherson Road, on Monday, Dec 15, 2014. Car buyers demanding refunds turned up for the second day in a row on Tuesday, as a WhatsApp chat group of car buyers claiming they had been cheated grew to nearly 80 participants. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

SINGAPORE - Car buyers demanding refunds turned up at a car dealership at MacPherson Road for the second day in a row, as a WhatsApp chat group of car buyers claiming they had been cheated grew to nearly 80 participants.

Customers had paid deposits of $20,000 to $30,000 to buy cars from parallel importer Volks Auto but had yet to get their vehicles. The car dealership has been closed since last Saturday and attempts to contact its owner had been unsuccessful.

Mr K.K. Lo, an IT system integrator, the de facto organiser of the WhatsApp group, said 51 buyers have given him their details so far and that 45 of them had made police reports. The total sum paid by the 51 amounts to more than $1.3 million, he said.

Businessman Richard Lee, 61, who was at Volks Auto on Monday, returned on Tuesday morning to help connect alleged victims with others on the WhatsApp group.

"There were a lot of people today. About 20 over," he said in Mandarin. "I added them to the WhatsApp group."

At about 11.30am, the chat room went into a frenzy when Mr Lee told the group that there was a man trying to take away the last car in the showroom, a Bentley.

Members were worried that the only visible Volks Auto asset might be taken away and they would lose all possibilities of compensation.

Police were then called in to assist.

When the Straits Times arrived, police were seen talking to the victims - Mr Lee and a handful who showed up following news reports.

The man who was purportedly there to take the car away was identified by a namecard sent in the chat group as Mr Gavin Neo, sales director at DTZ Property Network.

Mr Neo told the Straits Times he was there to check if the car was still there as it belonged to his friend but declined to give more details.