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A car dealership "discovered" that a former employee allegedly committed fraud after a customer was scammed out of $172,000.
Stomper Polin, who was the customer, shared in a Facebook post in Complaint Singapore on Sunday (June 11) that after paying a CarTimes salesman named Ken via a QR code, he became uncontactable.
When the Stomper, who is a Grab driver, went to CarTimes, a sales manager told her that her vehicle was ready for collection pending her payment.
"I was baffled," she said. "All payments that were needed to be made have been paid. So what could he possibly mean?"
After she found out the company did not receive her payment, she made a police report.
"On June 1, the sales manager contacted me for a meet-up with the MD, Eddie Loo. I thought that this time, I could get some updates on the situation or maybe some sincere heartfelt apologies to ease my heavy heart, but nothing came close.
"He pointed to the clause stated on sales agreement indicating that 'All payment above $3,000 must be in cheque/CO made payable to CarTimes Automobile Pte Ltd' as if the instructions given to me were not given by their own salesman.
"To make matters worse, he also added 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. It was on that day that I made a separate police report regarding my trade-in vehicle.
"Which begs the question, what was the meet up even for? Just for CarTimes to tell me that they have zero part to play in this and to insinuate that it is my fault and due to my negligence, even though we both know that I am not the only one and there are other customers that have fallen victim to this?
"Is the man that scammed me not your staff? I trusted your company and merely followed the instructions given by your salesman, and yet you have the audacity to turn this back on me? It was your salesman, carrying your company’s brand, whom I trusted to do the transfer of the ownership of my car too...
"The man has since been apprehended and many would argue that it is true, that I would have to wait for the police to do their jobs. But was there not a better way for Car Times to deal with this?
"Just when I thought there was nothing anybody could do to make me feel worse too. I am enraged, upset, disappointed all at once. I feel betrayed by the company I have trusted enough to patronise. I thought I was careful, or perhaps prejudiced in a way, to go for well-renowned dealerships than smaller ones.
"Some people may even say that I should have been more cautious and checked on my part but this would be something you would never expect to happen to you. Especially when you’re dealing with company that has multiple big-shots, influencers, celebs and what-nots as their brand ambassadors."
In response to a Stomp query, the police confirmed that the reports were lodged and said investigations are ongoing.
About three hours after the Stomper's post, the CarTimes Group said on its own Facebook page: "It is with a heavy heart that we reach out to you today to address a fidelity issue our company is currently facing...
"Regrettably, in May 2023, we discovered that one of our former employees, Chan Chee Ken, also known as 'Ken Chan', allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities that violated our company’s principles (and possible 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 reported cases of fraud include the following actions perpetrated by Ken Chan without the company's approval or knowledge: (a) approaching our customers and offering unauthorised trade-in services; (b) requesting customers to transfer payments due to the company into personal accounts and subsequently misappropriating those funds; (c) misrepresenting his actions as being on behalf of the company."
The company added: "Please DO NOT make any PayNow transfers to personal mobile numbers or transfer your trade-in vehicle to any other company or individuals, even if instructed to do so by our sales employees."