Debt collectors called in after car deal turns sour

Representatives of debt collecting agency KX-Unit at the office of used car dealership Gold Automobiles in Midview City on Wednesday. The building management asked the debt collectors to leave about an hour later.
Representatives of debt collecting agency KX-Unit at the office of used car dealership Gold Automobiles in Midview City on Wednesday. The building management asked the debt collectors to leave about an hour later.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Buyer says he sent car for repair but has not got it back, ownership not transferred to him

Desperate to recoup his losses on a secondhand car for which he paid $23,500 in February, a bank officer went to the extent of hiring debt collectors to get his money back.

After informing media outlets of his intentions, Mr Jerry Yee showed up with three burly men clad in black at the Midview City office of used car dealership Gold Automobiles on Wednesday afternoon.

The two-hour confrontation ended with calls being made to the police by Gold owner Precilla Sim.

Mr Yee, 36, bought a Chevrolet Optra from Gold Automobiles in February, but it broke down a few weeks later after suffering problems such as faulty air-conditioning and a defective car key.

Mr Yee said he bought it so he could drive his 60-year-old mother between their Ang Mo Kio flat and his aunt's Jurong home, as his mother is caring for his newborn cousin.

He had the car towed back to Gold for repairs.

"I haven't seen it since," he said. "To my horror, I realised two months later that the car ownership had not been transferred to me."

Over the next seven months, Mr Yee repeatedly approached Ms Sim and her husband, manager Wilson Yong.

He accused them of fobbing him off each time and has since made three police reports. He has also approached the Land Transport Authority and consulted a lawyer but decided not to pursue the latter path due to the hefty legal fees.

Mr Yee hired debt collectors after watching a television documentary on the subject.

On Wednesday, he showed up at Gold's office with the media and a team from debt collecting agency KX-Unit in tow.

Ms Sim opened the door but declined to speak to anyone.

She then shut herself in the office for the next half an hour and called the police.

Building management eventually asked the debt collectors to leave about an hour later.

"This experience has been very overwhelming," said Mr Yee. "This all seems excessive to me, but I don't know what else to do."

Mr Yong told The Straits Times yesterday that the company does not owe Mr Yee anything.

"He spoiled my car. He kept driving it even after it overheated and I told him to stop. Later, he decided he didn't want it any more. As far as I'm concerned, he's voided the contract," Mr Yong said.

He added that KX-Unit employees have been hounding him and his wife daily at their office and home, pounding on the door for one to two hours each time.

"Why must he resort to having gangsters terrorise us?" said Mr Yong, adding that he plans to take out a restraining order against Mr Yee if the harassment persists.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said it handled two complaints against Gold last year and four this year. Mr Yee has not filed a complaint with the watchdog. Case executive director Seah Seng Choon advised consumers to patronise car dealers accredited by it.

•Additional reporting by Tiffany Fumiko Tay

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2015, with the headline 'Debt collectors called in after car deal turns sour'. Print Edition | Subscribe