How to Resolve Disputes with Car Dealers
Many people buy a vehicle at one point in their lives or another. But misrepresentation and fraud are not unusual when the car dealer is determined to make a sale. What then, are the avenues for redress in Singapore?
1. Seek Redress from the Motor Industries Disputes Resolution Centre (MIDReC)
First, you may try to seek redress from the Motor Industries Dispute Resolution Centre (MIDReC). Going through MIDReC is possibly the cheapest and most hassle-free way to resolve the dispute.
The catch is that the motor vehicle dealer you are dealing with has to have the CASE-SVTA accreditation. The CASE-SVTA accreditation scheme is jointly launched by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association (SVAT). The scheme ensures high business standards and contractually obliges the car dealer to accept the decision reached at MIDReC.
Stage 1: Mediation
The first stage at MIDReC is mediation, where parties are given an opportunity to reach a settlement on their own.
Stage 2: Adjudication
If no settlement can be reached, the second stage is adjudication. An adjudicator at MIDReC will rule on the matter. Because this is a relatively simple 2-stage dispute resolution process, it may be wise to make purchases from a CASE-SVAT-accredited car dealer.
1. Lodging a Claim at the Small Claims Tribunals
If the MIDReC is unable to handle your claim for some reason, the next option is to lodge a claim at the Small Claims Tribunals.
However, there are several limits as to what cases can be heard at the Small Claims Tribunals. One of them is that the claim amount cannot be more than $20,000, unless there is the consent of both parties, after which the claim amount can be increased to $30,000.
More information on lodging a claim at the Small Claims Tribunals can be found in our other article.
For both MIRDReC and the Small Claims Tribunals, the parties involved in the case are to represent themselves and may not hire lawyers to act on their behalf.
If both methods fail, it may then be time for you to consult a lawyer for legal advice.
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