Gordon hits motorcycle dealers for not releasing papers to installment buyers
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Richard Gordon lashed out on Monday at motorcycle dealers for allegedly refusing or delaying the release of original receipts (OR) and certificates of registration (CR) to buyers paying on installment.
During a Senate blue ribbon committee hearing, Gordon said his office had been receiving complaints from consumers, who said dealers refuse to release their OR and CR until they had made full payment.
The senator lamented the practice, which he said enables dealers to resell the motorcycles as demonstration units.
Further, he questioned why in some cases consumers were made to sign a promissory note, which he said would allow dealers to repossess the motorcycle.
“When [the buyer] can’t pay, the motorcycle could be pulled out while he’s taking a bath at home. The dealer would pull out the motorcycle,” Gordon said in Filipino.
“This is one technique — promissory note. They will just pull out [the motorcycle] without resistance [from the buyer],” he added.
Gordon called these motorcycle dealers “glorified fixers.”
He cited a complaint sent to his office: A buyer was informed by a motorcycle dealer that it would take two to three months for the certificate of registration to be released.
On paper, the registration process is supposed to take from 15 to 30 days, but an employee of a dealer said it would take two to three months for the papers to be released, Gordon said.
“It’s a person’s right: When you’ve already been paid, you give him the certificate of registration. Why tell him that it will take two to three months? Fixer!” he added.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, who heads the Land Transportation Office (LTO), noted during the hearing that dealers can offer, as part of their service, to take take care of the registration of the vehicle with the LTO.
“If they offer that service and register the vehicle, isn’t it true that they don’t give the CR — not even an authenticated copy? Don’t you see how dangerous that is?’” Gordon said.
But Galvante clarified that buyers were not prohibited from going directly to the LTO to register their vehicles on their own.
Dealers offer to register the vehicle for the buyer’s convenience, the LTO official noted.
Still, Gordon expressed exasperation over dealers trying to hold onto the OR-CRs of their customers for as long as they had not completed their payments.
“But the law says you should have an authenticated copy and that you should protect the buyer. And the law also protects the dealer – not in holding on to the certificate of registration” Gordon said.
“It’s the person who should hold that. It’s the LTO that puts an encumbrance in the certificate of registration. That’s how it should be. Otherwise, the buyer is really at a disadvantage,” he added.
During the hearing, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said his agency had so far received 3,060 consumer complaints related to motorcycle sales.
These complaints include the non-release of OR-CRs, defective units, and the refusal of motorcycle dealers to release certificates of full payment.
Lopez also noted the “practice of dealers offering sale on installment only even if the buyer is willing to pay the full value in cash.”
Gordon is eyeing another hearing that would focus on the LTO’s system of manufacturers, assemblers, importers, rebuilders, dealers, and other entities (MAIRDOEs).
Gordon’s blue ribbon committee hearing is investigating the implementation of the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.
While motorcycle dealers were invited during Monday’s hearing, the senator opted for them to air their side in the next hearing instead.
“I no longer want to question the dealers. [I’ll just do it] next time because so many of your names are coming out. Be prepared for the next time,“ Gordon said.
“I am not biased, I just don’t want people taking advantage of other people,” he added.