Scam Case Series
Period Reported: 2rd Quarter 2015
Individual or Group: Individual Case
“I am SELLING off my car, I’m not even buying a car leh. How to kena scam?”
This was something I heard last Sunday at a coffee shop that I thought was both apt and interesting, since KX-Unit also wrote an article last week on car scams.
Last Tuesday, KX-Unit posted an article on Car Dealer Scam where the victim was the BUYER of the car. But the second part of that article is also related to Car Dealer Scams, but from the SELLER’S perspective.
Most of us know that most cars on the roads today are inching past the 7-year COE mark. And more buying and selling transactions have been going on. Once again, KX-Unit must say that most of the car dealers out there are honest and transparent. But still there are some black sheep out there using tactics that all of us should watch out for, and we hope this article can at least enlighten readers to them.
Due to some unexpected difficulty, our client needed to sell off his car, which is a mid-size continental sedan with about 6 years of COE left. He bought this car on hire purchase (Car Loan), and he needed to make sure the sales proceed was able to cover his remaining loan and take over the car from him. This was to ensure that he could do a full settlement with his bank.
It was a rather challenging phase for our client, and since he just couldn’t afford to take on this additional burden any longer. So he brought his car down to a dealership to have it quoted and checked: Everything was good, no major problem with the car, etc.
The only problem, however, was that he needed to top up another $10,000 to sell off his car. Because the amount he owed the bank for the car was MORE than the dealer’s quoted price to take in the car. But at that time, all he wanted was to quickly sell the car and at least alleviate some of his monthly financial burden. So he agreed to pay the upfront $10,000 (which he had borrowed) to sell the car and handed the car over to the dealership.
But things were not to be. One month later, he realized that the bank still did the Giro deduction amount on “his” car – which he has supposedly sold to the dealer one month ago! So he called the dealer to clarify, and was reassured time and again that it could be a “lag in the transfer process” and told him “not to worry” because people do encounter this “from time to time”.
Maybe the dealer was right, he thought. But things really became fishy when 2 month after the car was sold; he had roughly the remaining balance in his bank (which was meant to tide him over till he found his next job) deducted the second time for the car monthly installment!
He called the dealership to enquire about it, even went down to the dealership to clarify matters. But the car was no longer there. And a simple check revealed to him that for the past 2 months, the ownership of the car had not even been transferred to the dealer. So, he effectively still owned the car that he borrowed and paid $10,000 to sell, and more than that, paid an additional 2 months of installment (that wiped out his savings) for the car he didn’t even drive!
After that day he made a few trips down to the dealership to try to clarify matters. But every time he was met with a different person. He called the dealer direct but every of his calls went unanswered. The rogue dealer used evasive tactics to deflect constructive conversation with our client. The only thing he knew was that the car has been “sold” off to another buyer, even though he was still the legal owner of the car.
It was quite a desperate situation for our client. He needed to ease the financial difficulties that he was facing, but finding himself stuck in such a situation, all he had found was just another dilemma: finding someone trustworthy enough to sell his car to. But at the end of the day, regardless of his closure, the key message is that we can all be scammed even though we are not “buying” anything.
As with all KX-Articles, we post some advisory at the end to share with every one about the scams so all of us can be alert to them.
Advisory: There are a few ways KX-Unit has gathered from the industry that could perhaps better protect everyone. Always state clearly in the contract when the date of “Transfer of Ownership”/Handover is. This allows us to be contractually covered and protected. In fact, it would be ideal (although it might be cumbersome) if the seller can accompany the dealer/buyer to do the “Full settlement of the car” and the process of “Transfer of Ownership” before physically handing over the car.
With that, we hope that some of you have benefitted from this article. (If you have a personal case you want to share do PM us and we might write about it next week.) And if you have similar experiences and cases you need professional help and advice with, do feel free to call 8112 7790 or email KX-Unit at enquiries@KX-Unit.com, and we will be most willing to help.
transfer of ownership
buy and sell