Case pushes for system to identify non-defective used cars on Carousell

Carousell currently includes a link to the generic Safe checklist for pre-owned cars in its app, which consumers can download for their reference.
Carousell currently includes a link to the generic Safe checklist for pre-owned cars in its app, which consumers can download for their reference.PHOTO: CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE
Carousell currently includes a link to the generic Safe checklist for pre-owned cars in its app, which consumers can download for their reference.
Carousell currently includes a link to the generic Safe checklist for pre-owned cars in its app, which consumers can download for their reference.PHOTO: CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Those planning to sell their used cars on Carousell will be encouraged to send the vehicles for an evaluation first, following a collaboration between the online marketplace and the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).

To make it convenient, sellers will soon be able to book appointments with authorised evaluators Vicom and the Automobile Association of Singapore using Carousell's app. The feature will be made available in about a month.

On average, there are 12,000 to 15,000 used car listings on Carousell's app.

Case said on Thursday (March 15) it is working together with Carousell in order to protect consumers shopping for second-hand cars in the online marketplace.

It comes on the back of rising complaints about the car industry which topped the consumer watchdog's complaints list for the sixth year in a row. Last year, Case received 2,335 car-related grouses, with 60 per cent involving a pre-owned car.

Case said it is also working with Carousell on a system which will identify pre-owned cars that have gone through a professional evaluation.

When launched, those found to be in a satisfactory condition will be identified in Carousell's listing with a Standard and Functional Evaluation (Safe) checklist mark. Case launched the Safe checklist in March 2017 to help consumers understand the quality and condition of a pre-owned car before buying it.

Carousell currently includes a link to the generic Safe checklist for pre-owned cars in its app, which consumers can download for their reference.

Even without the Safe mark, consumers are guaranteed remedies against defective goods (known colloquially as "lemons") under Singapore's lemon law.

Consumers can request for repairs, a replacement, or a refund from sellers.

It has often been difficult for buyers to establish the condition of a pre-owned car at the point of purchase.

By pushing for a way to identify pre-owned cars that have been checked, Case hopes sellers will be encouraged to send their cars for an evaluation first, at a cost of between $100 and $200.

Consumers can also request sellers to do so.

Case said consumer complaints about defective cars have risen for three years in a row.

Last year, slightly more than half of all complaints about the industry relate to defective cars, pre-owned and brand new. In 2013, it was 40 per cent.

Most complaints about the industry were for car defects, a failure to honour contractual obligations, and misrepresentation of the cars sold, a Case spokesman said.

Said its education committee chairman Linus Ng: "Currently, it's not very instinctive for consumers to ask for an evaluation. We want to empower the consumers and encourage them to make a better-informed decision."

Case and Carousell are also looking at other measures to encourage sellers to send their cars for evaluation.

For example, sellers will be able to upload a copy of the evaluation report on the online marketplace when they put their cars up for sale.

Case president Lim Biow Chuan reaffirmed the organisation's commitment to consumer protection and fair trading practices.

"We will work together with our existing and new strategic partners to improve industry standards so that consumers are able to have peace of mind when shopping," he said.

Case will have a booth at the ST Classifieds bi-annual car event on April 7 - 8 to explain its initiatives.