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PRICE DIFFERENCE 'IMPOSSIBLE'

The New Paper spoke to three parallel car importers.

Mr Patrick Lim, 44, one of the partners of Apex Car, said his customers had told him of Volks Auto, but he found it "shady".

He said a difference of $1,000 to $2,000 in the price of the car from the market average is possible, but a difference of $10,000 is impossible.

He said: "It's ridiculous, if they sell at that price, they will surely make a loss. They just started their business, so there's no way they can be cheaper than the more established dealers, because we indent in bulk.

"Even if they want to do it to get a customer base, they would be making so much of a loss that the business would surely fold."

A salesman from VinCar said a customer had told them that Volks Auto was charging $35,000 less for a car.

The salesman, who wanted to be known only as Dave, said: "They were suspicious. One customer said he did a background check and found there were three cases pending against them."

Mr Larry Loh, 27, a salesman from Car Times Automobile, said: "We did checks on them and found an investment of only $200,000.

"Based on my experience, if they actually sold at the prices (that) they did, they would have been making a huge loss."

Lawyers TNP spoke to said police reports should be made by the customers, but they can also pursue the matter in civil court.

Lawyer Luke Lee from Luke Lee & Co said customers can sue for breach of contract and damages if they can prove it. "They can sue for cheating if the man never intended to deliver. They can also sue for criminal breach of trust," he added.

Commercial crimes lawyer Terence Seah from Shook Lin & Bok LLP said: "He can be sued under the tort of deceit, or breach of contract."

Both lawyers agreed that it would be difficult if the man has absconded, but believed customers could still get their money back if his assets can be located.

Car dealer Mr Lim, however, feels that buyers should just be more careful in future.

He said: "It takes two hands to clap. If it's too good to be true, then you really shouldn't be so trusting, especially with so much money involved."