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Car dealer says difficult customer is a 'tough nut'

LOOSE CHANGE: Exotic Motor owner Tang Siu Tong and the bags of coins that his customer had returned him. TNP PHOTO: MOHD ISHAK

He was a difficult customer, said Exotic Motor owner Tang Siu Tong, 44, of the man who paid $19,000 worth of coins to him.

He confirmed that Mr Ong Boon Lin had turned up at his showroom on Tuesday to pay the amount ordered by the court.

But when his staff called him to say that Mr Ong had left a mountain of coins at the main entrance, he said he was not taken aback.

He told The New Paper. "This guy is a tough nut. For the 1½ years that we've dealt with him, he's been a difficult customer."

REFUTED

Mr Tang also refuted Mr Ong's side of the story. He said Mr Ong had approached him in late 2010 without the intention to buy a new car.

"He only wanted to sell his vehicle. It was only after months of us being unable to sell his vehicle that he requested to do a trade-in," he said.

So they entered into a sales and purchase agreement in August 2011.

It was stated in the agreement that Exotic Motor would take over Mr Ong's Aston Martin V8 Vantage and that he would buy a new Bentley GT in return.

But Mr Tang said the loan that Mr Ong had taken to buy the new car had not been received.

"He was unable to get financing from a bank because he was facing another lawsuit then," he said.

He also refuted Mr Ong's claims that the Bentley GT did not arrive in Singapore, saying that Mr Ong did not pick up the car.

"He can say what he wants, at the end of the day, the court ruled in our favour. We won the case," Mr Tang said.

Mr Ong was ordered by the court to pay about $19,000 for Mr Tang's legal fees and the costs borne by Exotic Motor for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage's maintenance, insurance and road tax.

The showroom's staff showed TNP the close-circuit television footage of what happened that day.

In the video, Mr Ong was first seen entering the showroom before he was attended to by a woman. Both of them appeared to sign a document before Mr Ong left the showroom.

He returned a few minutes later with his worker following behind, wheeling a trolley with a styrofoam box.

As they were about to enter the showroom, the box broke and coins spilled out.

Mr Ong was then seen tipping the coins onto the floor before leaving.

The female employee ran after him in a bid to stop him and to get him to take back the coins.

MENACING

As for Mr Ong's behaviour that day, another employee said he was not aggressive, even though he had a menacing aura about him.

She added there had been no shouting or any confrontation.

"The only time I ran out to see what was happening was when he poured the coins onto the floor and the coins clanging was loud," she said.

Mr Tang said the coins were soaked in foul-smelling water, which stained his carpet after Mr Ong tipped the contents of the trolley onto it.

When TNP visited the showroom yesterday, there was a faint smell of a wet market.

Employees told TNP that it took a worker nearly an hour to scoop up all the coins and place them in bags. They also had to mask the smell with air freshener.

Meanwhile, the coins were placed in a car boot, still reeking of dead fish.

Mr Ong, however, denied doing anything to the coins.

Mr Tang's lawyer, Mr Ranjit Singh, said it was regretful that Mr Ong had to behave in such a manner. He added he and his client were contemplating what to do next.

Mr Tang said he has not counted the money and intends to reject the payment.

He said: "If you want to return someone money, at least put it on the table, not the floor. It just shows his integrity.

"In this world, the customer is not always right and not all car dealers are crooks."

If you want to return someone money, at least put it on the table, not the floor... In this world, the customer is not always right and not all car dealers are crooks.

- Exotic Motor owner Tang Siu Tong