Consumer watchdog Case tells car dealership to honour obligations to customers who reported losses

The Consumers Association of Singapore said it will continue to engage Karz Automobile to resolve all outstanding consumer complaints. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - After receiving word that Karz Automobile is still operational, the Republic's consumer watchdog said it expects the dealership to honour its contractual obligations towards its customers.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said on Monday (Nov 25) that it will continue to engage Karz Automobile to resolve all outstanding consumer complaints.

This comes after Case said in a statement last Friday that it had received two complaints on Karz Automobile and three complaints on another dealership, Universe Motoring, between September and October this year.

The buyers said they had entered into contracts to buy pre-owned cars from the two dealers. However, the vehicle ownership records with the Land Transport Authority were never transferred to them.

This was despite the customers making payments and taking delivery of the cars.

Case said in its statement on Monday that it had sent staff to Karz Automobile's official registered address to verify if it was still operating on the premises. Case found that the unit had been vacated and that the dealership was no longer operating there.

"This is also the address stated in (its) invoices, on (its) website, and on (its) advertisements," Case said.

It added: "Case had also written to the company at (its) official e-mail address and called (its) office line. But there were no replies to our letters, e-mails or calls, and no notification from (the company) that (it) had moved."

In response to queries from The Straits Times last Saturday, Karz Automobile director Kenny Yeo said that the dealership had moved from its previous premises to a new one within the same venue.

Mr Yeo said that he was unaware of complaints by customers to Case and has been receiving calls from concerned buyers and financiers after Case announced the dealership closures.

Mr Yeo's lawyer, Mr Fan Kin Ning of DOP Law Corporation, told ST that he has contacted Case for clarification on the incident. Mr Fan said his client will decide on the next course of action after receiving a response from the consumer watchdog.

Case confirmed on Monday that Karz Automobile, through its lawyers, had reached out to the association and clarified that the dealership was operational at another location in the building.

It said that under the Companies Act, companies must have a registered office within Singapore to which all communications and notices may be addressed.

It added that it understands from consumers that their complaints remain unresolved.

"This is of concern to Case as the amount of potential losses to consumers is substantial," it said in Monday's statement.

An affected customer, who wanted to be known only as Mr Azli, told ST last Friday that he had paid Karz Automobile about $23,000 as a deposit and booking fee for a $69,500 second-hand seven-seater Mazda 5.

The 46-year-old technical operation supervisor intended to pay the balance with a loan.

On the advice of a lawyer, Mr Azli intends to file a police report. He hopes that there can be more protection for consumers like him.

"Cars are not cheap. It's a big amount of money, so there needs to be more protection for the buyer," he said.

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