Transport ministry orders 34 Bigmotor outlets to cease operations

Some had their licences to inspect revoked

Transport ministry orders 34 Bigmotor outlets to cease operations

Motor & Fleet

By Kenneth Araullo

Japan's transport ministry has ordered disgraced used car dealer Bigmotor to cease operations at 34 of its vehicle maintenance outlets following findings that it had overcharged for repair and inspection services.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism issued a directive affecting a quarter of Bigmotor outlets located across 24 prefectures, suspending their vehicle maintenance operations for various durations, ranging from 10 to 90 days. Of these, 12 had their licenses for conducting private vehicle inspections revoked, while 11 were instructed to discontinue car check services for periods ranging from 20 to 180 days.

A report from Kyodo News revealed that Bigmotor responded to the ministry's actions with a statement, expressing its commitment to addressing the issue seriously and taking measures to prevent its recurrence.

The ministry's decision to penalise the outlets was initially announced on Oct. 13. These penalties were finalised after Bigmotor officials failed to attend hearings with the ministry's regional bureaus on Friday.

These developments are part of the ongoing saga that stretches back to July, where a report surfaced revealing illicit dealings at the used car dealer. According to the report, the 34 outlets were involved in improper maintenance practices, with instances where employees deliberately caused damage to vehicles to inflate repair fees, using tools like screwdrivers and golf balls.

Considering these findings, the ministry is continuing its investigation into Bigmotor's remaining 101 vehicle maintenance outlets, with the probe expected to extend into the following year.

Bigmotor, alongside its most prominent insurance partner, Sompo Japan, are also under investigation by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan over said illicit dealings.

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