Vehicle sale and transfer will soon be done online to eradicate car scams
LTA's fast and secure online process from July is expected to cut down to car scams
Car buyers will soon have to go online to complete the sales transaction and vehicle transfer - a move that is expected to eradicate car scams.
They can do so as early as July, by logging into the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) vehicle-related digital platforms using their SingPass or CorpPass accounts.
In a two-step authentication process, the buyer can ensure the vehicle is transferred to his name by electronically accepting the transfer.
The new method will be faster and save manpower cost, the LTA told The Straits Times.
But more importantly, it will eradicate scams that have hit motorists periodically.
In these scams, the seller does not transfer the car to the buyer after receiving payment, or even after the buyer has collected the car. The usual reason is that the seller has not paid the financier, who has legal right to the car.
As a result, the buyer faces the rude shock of having the car repossessed.
The new secure and seamless access also offers vehicle owners "the flexibility to perform a range of vehicle-related transactions online, any time and anywhere", an LTA spokesman added.
Currently, car dealers send people to LTA's Sin Ming office to wait in line for various transactions, including vehicle transfers, to be processed by counter staff. This can take hours as there are usually long queues, dealers said.
The LTA move has been welcomed by the motor industry. Said Mr Michael Lim, president of the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association: "It's better than sending dispatch down to LTA. Definitely more convenient. And it is safer as well, and will protect the consumer."
Last December, Manhattan Motor shut down without notice, leaving more than 20 buyers without the vehicles they had paid for. Other motor firms that acted similarly include Royal Automotive, Exodus Global and TLC Cars.
Mr Jeremy Soh, director of authorised Toyota reseller Otopac, said that while it is uncertain whether the new method would be foolproof, it "will definitely help" in addressing problems arising from non-transfers.
Though less tech-savvy buyers may find it daunting, Mr Soh is confident that over time, people will get used to the new method.
Mr Stanley Tan, sales manager of VM AutoFinance, which provides credit to car dealers, said up to 70 per cent of dealers tend to take a few days to settle the loan after selling a car.
He foresees dealers facing tight cashflow being put in a bind by the new transfer system and customers demanding immediate transfers.
Lawyer Vijai Parwani of Parwani Law LLC, who handles many car-related cases, said that with the new move, dealers will have no choice but to transfer the vehicle to the buyer there and then.
He said this should help reduce spurious deals.
But he added: "Customers must be aware they should not make full payment until a transfer is made."