SINGAPORE: The number of complaints about cars with defects rose for the third straight year in 2017, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) said on Wednesday (Feb 7).
The consumer watchdog received 2,335 complaints about the motorcars industry last year – 52 per cent of which were about cars with defects.
“We observed an increasing trend in the percentage of defective car complaints over the years,” CASE said, adding that the figure has risen from 2013, where 42 per cent of complaints about the motorcars industry were about defects in cars.
For example, a consumer who bought a secondhand car complained that the engine stalled several times and emitted smoke a month later. The car was sent to a workshop and the customer was told a replacement engine would cost S$4,800. After CASE intervened, the car dealer agreed to replace the engine for free.
Among the complaints lodged with CASE about cars, 60 per cent involved a secondhand car, 30 per cent about a new car and 10 per cent about a rental car.
The motorcars industry was again the sector that received the most complaints, making up 15 per cent of all complaints, CASE said. This was followed by the beauty industry with 9 per cent, the home renovation industry with 8 per cent and the electrical and electronics industry with 8 per cent.
CUSTOMERS STILL BEING PRESSURED ON BEAUTY PACKAGES
The top complaint about the beauty industry was about sales tactics, with customers complaining about being pressured to sign up for packages.
A total of 1,401 complaints were received about the beauty industry last year. Of these, 21 per cent were about sales tactics, down from 24 per cent in 2016.
Consumers made 1,335 complaints against renovation contractors, with 25 per cent of the complaints about contractors who did not honour agreements, such as promising to complete renovation works by a certain deadline but failing to do so.
Of the 1,300 complaints filed about the electrical and electronics industry last year, 52 per cent of them were about defective goods, up from the 49 per cent in 2016. Common goods complained about include household items such as television sets, washing machines and vacuum cleaners, said CASE.
MORE THAN S$2 MILLION RECOVERED
CASE received a total of 15,744 complaints last year, down from 19,102 complaints in 2016. It helped to resolve 77.2 per cent of filed cases – where CASE negotiates directly with the business for a resolution – an increase of 0.6 per cent from the previous year.
The watchdog also helped consumers to recover S$2.13 million – in cash and in kind – last year, up from S$1.95 million the year before.
CASE said that it plans to reach out to and educate more consumers in the four industries, such as promoting the adoption of the Standard and Functional Evaluation checklist for used car buyers, organising more educational talks and exhibitions for consumers on engaging a renovation contractor, and what to look out for when buying electrical and electronic products.
Consumers with unresolved disputes against businesses can contact CASE at 6100 0315 or via their website www.case.org.sg.