Complaints of cars with defects continue to rise in 2016: CASE

Complaints of cars with defects continue to rise in 2016: CASE

About 60 per cent of the 1,477 defective goods complaints against the motorcar industry in 2016 involved used cars, the consumer watchdog says.

SINGAPORE: The number of defective goods complaints for the motorcar industry grew from 1,245 in 2015 to 1,477 last year, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) said in its look back at 2016.

Since the introduction of the Lemon Law in 2013, CASE has observed that defective goods complaints have risen, and motorcars have topped the list for the past three years. The industry received more than double such complaints last year compared to electrical and electronics, which had 672 complaints, its figures showed.

The large increase in the number of complaints of defects in motorcars is "an area of concern" for the consumer watchdog, and it added that approximately 60 per cent of the complaint cases - both filed and assisted - in the industry involved pre-owned motorcars.

Overall, CASE received 19,102 consumer complaints last year, and achieved a 76.6 per cent resolution rate for filed cases. These cases refer to those in which consumers authorise CASE to handle the complaint on their behalf and have it negotiate directly with the business for an amicable resolution.


Another trend CASE noticed last year was the rise in complaints on the use of pressure sales tactics to get consumers to buy beauty packages, it said in its press release.

While complaints involving the beauty industry decreased from 2015's 1,664 to 2016's 1,537 cases, the industry went up a place from third to second in CASE's top 10 complained-against industries, the findings showed.

In terms of pressure sales tactics, the number of cases have steadily increased from 2014's 215 cases to 367 cases last year.

Some examples of these sales tactics include promoting of beauty packages when the consumer is undergoing treatment in a vulnerable position and withholding the treatment if the consumer refuses to buy, as well as increasing numbers of staff who persistently promote the beauty packages while deterring the consumer from leaving the room, CASE said.

The consumer watchdog encouraged consumers to patronise CaseTrust-accredited spa and wellness businesses that are committed to a five-day cooling-off period and a "no selling" policy in the treatment room. There are 697 such accredited businesses as at Jan 31, 2017, it added.

The closure of California Fitness in July last year also made a mark, CASE said, with the number of complaints received for the clubs industry increasing from 623 in 2015 to 1,126 last year - with about 600 related to prepaid membership fees and gym sessions that were not used.

"CASE is concerned about the spate of businesses closing down abruptly after collecting large amounts of prepayment from consumers. We will continue to engage the relevant authorities and advocate for better prepayment protection in Singapore," it said.

Source: CNA/kk