Court orders car importer to stop unfair trade practices

The Consumers Association of Singapore asked SG Vehicles to sign a voluntary compliance agreement in July 2017, but it refused. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore filed an injunction later that year.
The Consumers Association of Singapore asked SG Vehicles to sign a voluntary compliance agreement in July 2017, but it refused. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore filed an injunction later that year.ST FILE PHOTO

This follows application for injunction by competition watchdog that was filed in 2017

Car importer SG Vehicles and its director have been ordered by the court to stop engaging in unfair trade practices, after Singapore's competition watchdog filed an injunction application against them in December 2017.

The importer - which is one of the biggest players in the industry - has already earned two black marks from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).

Case received 92 complaints against SG Vehicles from January 2015 to November 2017, with the figure rising despite Case's initial efforts to resolve the complaints through negotiation and mediation.

Consumers claimed SG Vehicles had misrepresented the terms and conditions of sale agreements - mainly the delivery dates of motor vehicles and the bidding for certificates of entitlement (COEs).

Several consumers said they were required to make additional payments due to a change of circumstances beyond their control.

Case had asked SG Vehicles to sign a voluntary compliance agreement in July 2017, but it refused to do so.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore said yesterday that under the court order, which took effect on Thursday, SG Vehicles and its director Juliet Tan Whye Peck are prohibited from the following:

 

 • Engaging in unfair practices under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act;

 • Doing or saying anything that would dupe a consumer into believing that the purchase price or COE is fixed or guaranteed;

 • Making any false claim to a consumer on the guaranteed delivery date of a motor vehicle;

 • And taking advantage of a consumer if they know that the consumer is not reasonably able to understand the character, nature, language or effect of the transaction.

  • 92

    Number of complaints Case received against SG Vehicles from January 2015 to November 2017.

  • 2,335 

    Number of consumer complaints made to Case from the motoring industry in 2017.

  • 1,829 

    Number of complaints against firms in the beauty industry last year, a 31 per cent increase from 2017

The court order also requires SG Vehicles to install a prominent sign outside its shopfront, stating the full text of the order for six months from Thursday.

It should also notify the commission of any changes related to its businesses or Ms Tan's employment, directorship and partnerships statuses.

SG Vehicles will not, however, be required to cease its business operations, and all its existing sales agreements made with customers must be honoured.

In 2017, the highest number of consumer complaints - 2,335 - made to Case came from the motoring industry.

This figure dropped by 20 per cent to 1,802 last year, with the beauty industry overtaking motoring. There were 1,829 complaints against firms in the beauty industry last year, a 31 per cent increase from 2017.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2019, with the headline 'Court orders car importer to stop unfair trade practices'. Print Edition | Subscribe