Tuesday, March 19

Repossession of vehicles at stipulated hours only


Wan Ahmad Uzir Wan Sulaiman

SIBU: Repossessors resorting to strong-arm tactics or carrying out repossession outside permitted hours will have their permit revoked.

Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) yesterday said repossession could only be carried out from 8am to 9pm.

There are currently 489 approved repossessors in Sarawak.

“There are very clear guidelines which they need to strictly follow such as identifying themselves to the car owner by showing their permit.

“Repossessors carrying out their job together must each carry a permit. They are forbidden to enter the house compound if the vehicle owner has not given them permission unless there is a court order, unlike in the past.

“And they must not do repossession outside the stipulated hours as it is tantamount to flouting the Hire Purchase Act 1967 (Amendment 2010),” the ministry’s state director Wan Ahmad Uzir Wan Sulaiman told reporters prior to the closing of the ‘School Consumer Club (KPS) Interactive Challenge 2013’ for central zone level at 1Malaysia Cultural Village here.

Six schools participated in the challenge, namely SMK Methodist, SMK Sacred Heart, SMK Tung Hua, SMK Kwong Hua, SMK St Elizabeth and SMK Tiong Hin.

SMK St Elizabeth emerged champion, and will represent Sibu at the state-level competition at University Malaysia Sarawak in Kuching on April 9.

The amendment to the Hire Purchase Act 1967 makes it mandatory for repossessors to hold a permit before they could carry out their activity, Wan Uzir recalled, adding that the permit is subject to yearly renewal.

“They could be slapped with a hefty fine, including a jail sentence if they engaged in repossession without a permit,” he warned.

Wan Uzir also said repossessors could not at their whim and fancy stop the vehicle owner such as near a traffic junction to repossess the car. He further mentioned that the tow driver is not permitted to approach the vehicle owner unless he has a permit.

“Whoever wants to approach the vehicle owner must have a permit when doing repossession.”

Turning to vehicle owners, he advised them to be aware of their rights as consumers, insisting on identification when approached by repossessors.

“This is to prevent the possibility of conmen posing as repossessors and driving away their vehicles,” Wan Uzir said.

He informed that all applications for permit will be thoroughly screened by the police in Bukit Aman to ensure the applicants do not have any criminal record.

Asked on exorbitant fee imposed by some vehicle tow operators, he explained that it does not fall under their jurisdiction.

Hence, he advised vehicle owners to compare prices and engaged the service that offered more competitive fee.

“But if the vehicles were damaged during the process of towing, the owners can ask for compensation. Therefore, it is imperative they take photographs of their cars before being towed away.

“In that way, they will have evidence when the matter is pursued in the consumer claims tribunal later,” Wan Uzir said.