CAPTION: Premila Kumar.
Apart from checking and inspecting a vehicle physically, the Consumer Council is urging consumers to check for any encumbrance or third party interest over the vehicle prior to its purchase.
This comes after the Council recently received a complaint whereby the complainant was unable to obtain the vehicle ownership because the vehicle he purchased was under a bill of sale.
This vehicle was sold to two different consumers before it was sold to the complainant for $7700.00. The bill of sale amounted to $3000 which was still under the first owner. The complainant only came to know of this when he started experiencing a delay from the second owner to transfer the vehicle under the complainant’s name. It is significant to note that the vehicle was not registered under the second owner’s name at all.
What is shocking is that the second owner had prior knowledge that the vehicle is under a bill of sale but failed to disclose this to the complainant. Upon the Council’s intervention, the complainant was refunded $7700.00 by the second owner.
Similarly, another complaint was received by the Council last year where a vehicle had exchanged 5 owners before it was finally sold to the complainant through a private sale. The second hand car dealer had a bill of sale with the first owner which was only registered at the Titles Office and LTA had no records of the same. Unfortunately, the second hand car dealer failed to register its financial interest in that vehicle with LTA. The dealer deceitfully repossessed the vehicle from the complainant for non-payment of the loan by the first owner. The complainant was forced to pay a sum of $4000.00 to the car dealer which was actually owed by the first owner and not the complainant.
The Council understands that the application for the registration or renewal of motor vehicles is governed by Regulation 7 of the Land Transport (Vehicles Registrations and Construction) Regulation 2000, which states: “An application for the registration or renewal of the registration of a motor vehicle or trailer or the transfer of a motor vehicle from one license class to another or a permit to use an unregistered vehicle must (a) include the name of a party that has a financial interest in the vehicle”.
A breach of the above section is established in Section 113 (7) of the Land Transport Authority Act 1998 which stipulates: “A penalty prescribed for a breach of a regulation made under this section shall not (a) in the case of a fine, exceed $2000, (b) in the case of imprisonment, exceed 2 years, (c) in the case of demerit points, exceed 3, (d) in the case of disqualification from obtaining or holding a driving license exceed 6 months”.
The Council urges all consumers and car dealers to register all bill of sale with the Registrar of Titles and LTA for proper records. Because some consumers and car dealers fail to take responsibility to register the bill of sale with LTA, other consumers end up losing their hard earned money when the vehicles are repossessed.
The conduct by the car dealers and consumers clearly show that they fail to comply with the legislation/regulations that are in place.
The Council is alerting consumers to be vigilant and go the extra mile by checking with the Registrar of Titles Office for any possible registered bill of sale on the vehicles which they intend to purchase. This will avoid unnecessary frustrations and loss of money.
There is a need for more awareness, stringent requirements and proper procedures for consumers and motor vehicle dealers selling vehicles to disclose all the relevant information related to vehicles, including financial interest.
While consumers are urged to be responsible, it is time to put a stop to such devious practices as many end up losing thousands of dollars because of someone else’s lack of responsibility and non –compliance of LTA Act.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER