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Buying a used car online? Don’t fall for this




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When buying a used car, first turn on the radio. Try all the pre-set stations. If they are all tuned to heavy rock, there's a good chance the car’s transmission is close to gone. Two things to note here:

  • That's a bit unfair to car drivers who listen to heavy rock
  • If you don’t know what a transmission is, you should definitely read this post

Why should I read this post?

Buying a new or used car should be a positive experience. In theory you should decide the car you want, shop around a bit, agree on a price, buy the car and be happy long into the future. The reality can be slightly less like a movie from Pixar and more of a thriller, but not is a good way.

Scam alert

Try googling ‘car scams Singapore.’ Today, the top headline was,

“Man jailed over $3.2m used-car scam” Amir Hussain, Straits Times, July 2016

How bad could it be you ask? Here’s a quick summary,

“From a Lexus GS300 and a Porsche Boxster to a Geely CK and a Chery QQ, a range of cars paid for by 50 buyers between January 2013 and February last year were repossessed by finance companies. Unbeknown to the buyers, the second-hand cars had not been registered under their names.” Straits Times, as above

Not great to watch your dream car being towed away…

Professional advice

People who work in car insurance get to hear all sorts of stories. Sometimes people aren’t always upfront, especially when it comes to cars. At Budget Direct Insurance, our job is to protect you, so here are expert tips to ensure you get a good deal.

  1. Online car advertisements – A used car’s price and accessories can often be changed at a moment’s notice. Take a screen shot or print the ad before you contact the car dealer. Take proof with you so you know what you should be paying, and the details of what you are paying for.

    Get professional help – Believe it or not, some people will buy a used car without getting a professional inspection. It is far better to invest in the cost of having the car assessed than it is to have to pay for something more expensive a few months down the road. Find an experienced mechanic or get an STA inspection before agreeing on the purchase.

  2. Deposit – Yes, it’s good to agree a deposit to show good faith and signal your intention to buy. But, as sgcarmart.com advises,

    “Have a sales agreement ready and confirm that the deposit is refundable should the car be in a worst condition than promised… Getting your deposit refunded is a standard operating procedure should the car fail the 'inspection'.

    Lastly, unless you're purchasing the car from a direct owner, check with the salesperson whether the dealership offers a warranty for the vehicle under the lemon law. Ensure that all these terms and conditions are properly recorded down on a sales agreement, and signed by all parties involved.”

    Lemon Law

    The Lemon Law, or less snappily titled Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, protects customers and traders in Singapore. More details here.

  3. The facts – You can find out all the information about the car’s registration, how many owners it’s had, the engine, vehicle and chassis numbers, open market value and so on by requesting a print out of the relevant Vehicle Log Card – available from onemotoring.com.sg.

  4. Test drive – You wouldn’t buy a house before you had made sure everything was in order. You would also want to know that it was safe and a good fit for your lifestyle. The same is true, especially when buying a used car.

    You won’t know how the engine responds, what the brakes are like, if the air con, radio and lights work until you take the car for a test drive. Don’t skip this step. Check the car’s service record and look for signs of re-painting or an accident that may have been covered up.

    If in doubt, refer back to step 2 – get professional help. You’d go to a doctor if you needed a health check. It makes sense to get advice from an expert when buying a used car in Singapore. It’s worth the investment to get it right.

For more tips on buying a new or used car in Singapore, look out for future posts in this series.

Budget Direct Insurance
No-Nonsense, money saving cover for your car