Parallel importer Royal Automotive owe car buyers money: 6 other car firms in trouble

A parallel car importer in Woodlands Close, Royal Automotive, has closed down, leaving its customers high and dry. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

A parallel car importer in Woodlands Close, Royal Automotive, has closed down, affecting at least 13 buyers.

They are owed about $600,000 and have been unable to reach the company's director or staff in the past two months.

The firm made headlines in November 2016, when its former sales representative was charged with misappropriating $414,564.

Here are six other car firms that got into trouble:

1. SG Auto

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) received six complaints against the firm, in Ang Mo Kio Street 62, between September and December 2015, and 15 complaints between January and October 2016.

The firm made customers pay a deposit "for guaranteed COE bidding and delivery of a car", but when it failed to secure the COE, it would not provide a refund of the deposit.

While general manager Glenn Koh said it was all a "misunderstanding" and the problems have been "settled amicably", Case said some cases remained unresolved. Some consumers have also taken matters to the Small Claims Tribunal.

2. Volks Auto

More than 20 people had gathered outside Volks Auto in December 2014 in search of its owner, whom they said been uncontactable for a few days. ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Koh Chek Seng, 35, was jailed for 10 years in February for his involvement in what is probably the largest ever cheating case in the car industry, involving $6,163,772.

Between May and December 2014, 182 people were cheated by Koh and two others, who set up a company dealing with parallel import cars at a showroom in MacPherson Road.

Customers placed orders and made deposit payments, but no effort was made to fulfil these orders.

The trio planned to flee with the deposits and close the company to make it appear as a failed business.

3. Right Car

In December 2015, the second-hand dealer located in Turf City sold a 6 ½-year-old Nissan Presage to Madam H.M. Peh, 35, and her husband for $59,000.

Its odometer showed it had clocked 75,000km.

But the car developed mechanical problems within a month.

A check with authorised Nissan agent Tan Chong revealed the car had clocked almost 200,000km.

The dealer denied knowing the odomete had been tampered, and agreed to take back the car for $56,000, but did not pay up.

Madam Peh sued them and secured a compensation of $20,000.

4. Cars Today

The firm's de facto boss Poh Chee Tiong was jailed for seven years in 2016.

He cheated 71 buyers, 14 sellers and four finance companies out of a total of $3.16 million in money and cars.

From a Lexus GS300 and a Porsche Boxster to a Geely CK and a Chery QQ, a range of cars paid for by 50 buyers between January 2013 and February 2015 were repossessed by finance companies.

The second-hand cars had not been registered under the buyers' names, as part of Poh's plan to expand his business and fleet of cars, and also increase its cash flow.

5. Exodus Global

Parallel importer Exodus Global's showroom in Ubi Avenue 3 on Oct 3, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

Last October, The Straits Times reported that some customers of parallel importer Exodus Global made police reports after they did not receive their cars, despite paying for them.

At least seven customers paid $493,470 to the Ubi Avenue 3 firm since October 2015, with four of them paying the full downpayment.

Its director Andy Chin said that the firm was experiencing financial difficulties, according to three customers.

6. TLC Cars

TLC Cars Singapore's vacant unit in Turf Club Road on Nov 1, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

The firm located at Turf City, closed its doors in November last year, leaving customers in the lurch, still waiting for their vehicles after placing deposits.

At least 10 customers are affected, along with fellow motor company Auto Lease.

TLC, it said, bought a Honda Vezel from it for about $36,000 (before COE). TLC paid about $6,000, took delivery of the car, but has made no further payment.

Auto Lease had also secured several certificates of entitlement (COEs) on TLC's behalf.

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