Monday, April 27, 2009

Accredited Dealers
49 used car traders and parallel importers are pioneer members of CaseTrust-SVTA, a new accreditation scheme set up by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association (SVTA). I felt that this is a healthy move to "regulate" the parallel importers since they have to adhere to the dispute resolution process to protect consumers.

Car is a big ticket item and I would be very cautious about buying from the Parallel Importers since they do not have any contractual obligation with the manufacturers and can switch to buying from an alternate source when relationship goes sour. I am also quite shocked to read many threads in the local forums about the complication of the deals resulting from the freak result of the $2 Category A COE quota premium last November. Many buyers apparently did not even get proper sales documentation from the dealers.

Some dealers started small and grow into a reputable size over time, it is indeed difficult for a new firm to fork out additional capital to join the scheme at its inception. However, I think it is going to be a mandatory operating cost to establish trustworthiness to the consumers. Will the scheme assure the elimination of conflict? No, but the consumers is guaranteed protection when buying from accredited dealers.

I had bought my current ride from the authorized distributor. Will I consider buying my next ride from an accredited PI? Very likely once the scheme is able to demonstrate its effectiveness and I am able to save a bundle. I hope the authorized distributors will modify their pricing strategy since the consumers will then have another "safe" option.

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