Former CarTimes employee allegedly scammed customer of $67,000 and trade-in vehicle, police investigating

Former CarTimes employee allegedly scammed customer of $67,000 and trade-in vehicle, police investigating

A Singaporean private hire driver recently looking to purchase a new vehicle has inadvertently become the victim of a scam, allegedly losing S$67,000 in cash and the ownership of her existing car, which had a trade-in value quoted at $105,000.

The victim, Polin Ng took to the Facebook group Complaint Singapore to recount her harrowing experience with a salesperson from CarTimes Group, who allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities.

Ng made multiple payments to the salesperson, but when she went to collect her new car, she discovered that the payments hadn’t been received, and her vehicle’s ownership was also not transferred to CarTimes.

In a Facebook post on 11 June, Ms. Ng shared that she met a representative from CarTimes Automobile named Chan Chee Ken (also known as Kent Chan or Ken) while she was searching for a new car.

Although Ms. Ng didn’t see the car she initially wanted when she visited the company’s outlet, Kent later contacted her via WhatsApp and offered her another car model, a Toyota Noah, for viewing.

“I agreed to it because it was non-obligational too. I was reluctant at first because it was not the car I wanted initially but eventually agreed to it.”

Ms. Ng then made a deposit of $10,000 by scanning a QR code provided by Kent through his phone.

On 28 April, Ms. Ng informed Kent that she had changed her mind and now wanted a Toyota Yaris Cross. She was even willing to pay in full cash due to concerns about taking up a loan.

Ms. Ng said Kent then voided her previous agreement, issued a new one, and after some discussions, she transferred another $50,000 to a UOB bank account number provided by Kent.

“1-2 days later, he told me that car will be ready for collection before 22nd May 2023, and that I could drive down my vehicle to do a swap on the day itself. “Happily to hear the news, she agreed to wait.

The salesperson allegedly helped Ms. Ng with online car ownership transfer

On 18th May, Kent met Ms. Ng again and quoted her a price of $105,000 for trading in her Honda Shuttle. She signed the agreement.

“I made the balance payment of $7,000 via the QR code again. He also assisted me to do the transfer of ownership of my trade-in vehicle to CarTimes which I was very grateful for as I am not IT savvy, but ended up regretting later on.”

Ms. Ng shared these screenshots of the WhatsApp exchange between her and Kent in the Facebook post.

Delaying the collection date for Ms. Ng’s new car

However, on 22 May, the day Ms. Ng was supposed to collect her new car, Kent informed her that the car wasn’t ready for collection due to port delays and that it was still pending inspection by LTA.

“I was upset, but he gave me his word that by the 25th, the car will be ready for collection with the PHV decal that he agreed to get done for me. ”

Ms. Ng added that as she had a tour trip out of Singapore from the 24th to the 29th, she then requested to exchange vehicles on 30 May in the morning at the company’s Ubi branch.

Ms. Ng shockingly learned that the company still waiting for her payment

While on her trip, Ms. Ng attempted to contact Kent for updates but was unable to reach him. “Even called his office hotline but was told by a lady that he has been on MC for about a week and has not been in the office.”

Feeling uneasy, Ms. Ng went straight to Kent’s office as soon as she returned from her trip.

To her shock, the sales manager informed her that the vehicle was ready for collection and they were just waiting for her payment.

“I was baffled. All payments that needed to be made have been paid so what could he possibly mean?” Ms. Ng then presented the company with the proof of her payments as requested.

Later that day, the manager delivered distressing news: the company had not received ANY of the payments Ms. Ng had made thus far, and the ownership of her vehicle had not been transferred to the company either.

According to Ms. Ng, the company was allegedly unaware of the trade-in as Kent had altered the agreement before submitting it to them, potentially selling the vehicle elsewhere.

Although the company assured Ms. Ng that they would handle the matter appropriately, she felt disheartened and lost, contemplating filing a police report.

Filled with uncertainty, Ms. Ng asked, “What will become of the money I paid? Where was the ownership transferred? Will I be able to recover everything?”

Ms. Ng expressed her disappointment with CarTimes

On 1 June, a meeting was arranged with the Managing Director, Eddie Loo, in which Ms. Ng said she hoped of receiving updates or sincere apologies to alleviate her heavy heart. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort was provided.

The MD allegedly told Ms. Ng to refer to a clause in the sales agreement, stating that “All Payment Above $3,000 must be in cheque/CO made payable to CarTimes Automobile Pte Ltd” as if the instructions given to her were not given by their own salesman.

“To make matters worse, he also added on saying that they are victims themselves and the whole thing ended with me being told to just wait for police investigations to be done for both my money.”

Dissatisfied with the company’s response, Ms. Ng decided to file a separate police report regarding her trade-in vehicle.

Ms. Ng expressed her disappointment with CarTimes, as she felt that the company failed to take responsibility for the action of their staff, and insinuated that the situation was her fault, despite the possibility of other customers falling victim to the same scam.

Given their reputation, she never expected such an incident to occur.

CarTimes Group said their former employee was involved in alleged fraudulent activities

On Sunday (11 June), CarTimes Group addressed the matter, stating that Chan “allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities that violated our company’s principles (and possibly a criminal offence).”

“We are deeply troubled by this situation and want to make it clear that CarTimes did not authorise or condone any of his alleged actions,” the statement said.

CarTimes alleged that Chan approached customers, offering unauthorized trade-in services, and then requested them to transfer payments into personal accounts, misappropriating those funds.

He also misrepresented his actions as being on behalf of the company.

“Upon discovering these actions, we promptly lodged a police report and initiated an internal investigation. We are fully cooperating with the authorities to facilitate the investigation process. ”

CarTimes claimed that they are also actively providing temporary resolution to two identified affected customers during the ongoing investigation.

They also remind customers not to make PayNow transfers to personal mobile numbers or transfer trade-in vehicles to any other company or individuals, even if instructed to do so by their sales employees.

The police confirmed that investigations into this incident are ongoing.

 

Subscribe
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments