How to Resolve Disputes with Car Dealers

Last updated on December 17, 2018

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-SVAT accreditation. The CASE-SVAT 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 $10,000, unless there is the consent of both parties, after which the claim amount can be increased to $20,000.

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.

Before making a purchase
  1. Consumer Rights in Singapore
  2. Requisite elements in the formation of a contract
  3. Buying a Car in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide
  4. “Certified Organic” Food in Singapore: What Does It Mean?
When making a purchase
  1. Can silence amount to acceptance of a contract?
  2. What are Warranties, Conditions and Innominate Terms?
  3. The Sale of Food in Singapore
When there are problems after purchase
  1. What If a Shop Vendor Sells Me a Grossly Overpriced Piece of Merchandise?
  2. When Can I Void a Contract For Misrepresentation?
  3. Repossession for Failure to Pay Instalments in Singapore
  4. Buying on Carousell: What to Do if the Seller Disappears after Getting Paid
  5. What Can You Do if You Were Sold a Defective Product in Singapore?
  6. How to Get Back Your Money from a Company That’s Closing Down in Singapore
How and where to seek redress
  1. How to Resolve Disputes with Car Dealers
  2. How Does the Hire-Purchase Act Protect Consumers in Singapore?
  3. The Lemon Law in Singapore: Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act
  4. Unfair Contract Terms Act: UCTA in Singapore
  5. Unfair Sale Practices, Cooling Periods, and the Right to Cancel Contracts: Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act
  6. Online Purchase Scams: What to Do If Your Orders Do Not Arrive
Specific consumer matters
  1. Do I have to pay the 10% service charge in restaurants?
  2. Is it illegal to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad, Android, or to modify your Playstation, Wii or Xbox in Singapore?
  3. I pawned a piece of jewellery to a pawnshop. What are my rights as a pawner?
  4. Is Ticket Scalping Legal in Singapore? Risks Faced by Buyers/Sellers
  5. Can I refuse to pay restaurants for lousy food or service?
  6. Counterfeit Goods: Is it Illegal to Sell or Buy Them in Singapore?
  7. Am I liable for the charges if my credit card is stolen? What is the law on lost card liability?