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Performance Carz, a used car dealer found to have misrepresented the mileage of a vehicle it sold, still had not paid compensation to the buyer.

27 Sep 2019 | Local News : Singapore

A used car dealer found to have misrepresented the mileage of a vehicle it sold last year had been ordered by the court to buy it back and compensate the buyer. But three months after the judgment, Performance Carz , which operates at Ubi Road 1, has not done so.

Odometer tampering cases seem to be on the rise, according to lawyer Vijai Parwani
Now the buyer, Mr. Y.C. Kua, a Company Director, is obtaining a writ to seize Performance Carz's assets. He said, "It has been the most frustrating 18 months... Even now that the court has ruled that Performance Carz has indeed misrepresented and has made the award in my favour, the errant dealer is refusing to pay up. It makes you wonder if there ever will be a deterrent to stop unscrupulous secondhand car dealers from tampering with the odometer."

The case dates back to early last year, when Mr. Kua, 43, bought a 2012 Volkswagen Touareg which was advertised as having a mileage of 65,000km - about half the average distance clocked by cars its age. Mr. Kua, who paid $97,500 for the car, did not think much of it, until he sent the car to Volkswagen Centre Singapore for glitches which surfaced a few days after he drove it home. It was there that he found out the car was last serviced at about 154,000km.

This is the second such case Performance Carz has been embroiled in since 2017
He then discovered that when his dealer previously purchased the vehicle from another dealer, it was recorded as having an odometer reading of 165,000km - 2.5 times its advertised mileage. When he confronted Performance Carz, 'they told me there was nothing much I could do'. "They were cocky, saying that no action would be taken against them," he said, adding that they offered to buy the car back 'at a lower price'.

Mr. Kua refused, and took the matter to court. The case went before district judge Lee Li Choon on 15 April. On 27 June, the judge ruled that Performance Carz had misrepresented the mileage of the car, and ordered it to buy the vehicle back at its purchase price. Plus costs and expenses, the company has to pay $122,840.32 by 18 September.

Odometer-tampering is already an offence under the Penal Code
Searches reveal that this is the second such case Performance Carz has been embroiled in since 2017. According to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, Performance Carz was registered in 2013 with a paid-up capital of $300,000, and is owned by a Eugene Ong. The company was not reachable for comment. According to lawyer Vijai Parwani, who represented Mr. Kua, odometer tampering cases seem to be on the rise. He said he has handled more than two dozen cases since 2017. 

In May last year, Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport Chairman Sitoh Yih Pin asked in Parliament if there were plans to legislate against odometer-tampering. Such legislations are in place in jurisdictions such as Australia and the United States. In a reply, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the practice 'is already an offence under the Penal Code'. "Furthermore, if a motor dealer is aware that an odometer has been tampered with, but fails to disclose this to the buyer, he can be investigated for unfair practices under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act," he noted.

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