—(1) The terms charges in relation to a hire-purchase agreement shall not, when calculated as a rate per cent per annum in accordance with the formula set out in the Sixth Schedule, exceed a rate per annum as may be prescribed by any regulations made under this Act in respect of any goods or class of goods.
(2) Where a hire-purchase agreement is entered into in contravention of this section, the hirer may, by notice in writing to the owner signed by the hirer or the hirer’s agent, elect either to treat the agreement as void or to have his liability reduced by the amount included in the agreement for terms charges.
(3) Where the hirer elects to treat the hire-purchase agreement as void, the agreement shall be void, and the amount paid or provided, whether by cash or other consideration, by or on behalf of the hirer under the agreement shall be recoverable by action as a debt due to him by the owner.
(4) Where the hirer elects to have his liability reduced by the amount included in the agreement for terms charges, his liability shall be reduced by that amount and that amount may be set-off by the hirer against the amount that would otherwise be due under the agreement and, to the extent to which it is not so set-off, may be recovered by action by the hirer as a debt due to him by the owner.
—(1) Where the minimum amount of the deposit in respect of any goods or class of goods is not prescribed, an owner who enters into a hire-purchase agreement without having first obtained from the proposed hirer thereunder a deposit in cash or in goods, or partly in cash and partly in goods, to a value not less than 10% of the cash price of the goods comprised in the agreement, the agreement shall be void.
(2) In this section and in section 31, “hire-purchase agreement” does not include any agreement or arrangement that is entered into solely for the purpose of giving effect to an assignment or transfer of the rights and liabilities under an existing hire-purchase agreement from the hirer to another person.
—(1) No deposit —
to the extent that it is in cash and that it is made out of moneys borrowed directly or indirectly —
from or through the owner (if the owner is not a banker);
from or through an agent or servant of the owner;
from or through a dealer; or
from or through any person whose business or part of whose business it is, by agreement with the owner or any person acting on behalf of the owner, to advance money to enable deposits to be paid in respect of hire-purchase agreements with the owner;
to the extent that, where the deposit is in goods or partly in goods and the amount allowed in respect of the goods is substantially greater than the value of the goods, that amount exceeds that value;
to the extent that it is made out of an amount allowed or credited in respect of, or by reference to, amounts paid by the hirer as rent or hire under a bailment of the goods before the making of a hire-purchase agreement in respect of the goods; or
to the extent that it is provided by goods that were, to the knowledge of the owner or dealer, acquired by the hirer for the purpose of being used by the hirer to provide the deposit under the agreement,
shall be taken into account for the purpose of determining whether section 30 has been complied with.
(2) The provisions of this Part shall be deemed to have been complied with by the owner if a deposit in accordance with those provisions has been obtained by the dealer or an agent or servant of the owner.
(3) Any person who knowingly enters into, or procures, arranges, or otherwise assists or participates in, a transaction contravening this section shall be guilty of an offence.
—(1) In any proceedings under this Act or arising out of a hire-purchase agreement, or instituted under subsection (4), where it appears to the court that the transaction is harsh and unconscionable or is otherwise such that it will be just to give relief the court may reopen the transaction.
(2) The court reopening any transaction under this section may, notwithstanding any statement or settlement of accounts or any agreement purporting to close previous dealings and create a new obligation —
reopen any account already taken between the parties;
relieve the hirer and any guarantor from payment of any sum in excess of such sum in respect of the cash price, terms charges, and other charges as the court adjudges to be fairly and reasonably payable;
set aside either wholly or in part or revise or alter any agreement made or security given in connection with the transaction;
give judgment for any party for such amount as having regard to the relief (if any) that the court thinks fit to grant, is justly due to that party under the agreement; and
if it thinks fit give judgment against any party for delivery of the goods if they are in his possession.
(3) Where it appears to the court that any person other than the owner has shared in the profits of or has any beneficial interest prospectively or otherwise in the transaction that the court holds to be harsh and unconscionable, the court may —
add that person as a party to the case; and
give judgment against that person for such amount as it thinks fit or for the delivery of the goods if they are in his possession; and
may make such other order in respect of that person as it thinks fit.
(4) Subject to subsection (5), proceedings may be instituted in the court by the hirer or any guarantor under a hire-purchase agreement for the purpose of obtaining relief under this section.
(5) A hirer or guarantor under a hire-purchase agreement shall not be entitled to institute proceedings under this section —
in a case where the owner has taken possession of the goods comprised in the agreement after the expiration of a period of 4 months after the date on which the owner serves on the hirer the notice required by section 15(3) to be served on him; or
in any other case, after the expiration of a period of 4 months from the time when the transaction is closed.
33. Any provision in any hire-purchase agreement whereby —
any right conferred on the hirer by this Act to determine a hire-purchase agreement is excluded or restricted;
the hirer is subject to any greater liability on the determination, in any manner, of the hire-purchase agreement or of the bailment thereunder, than the liability to which he would be subject if the hire-purchase agreement were determined in accordance with this Act;
the hirer is required to pay interest on any overdue instalment at a rate per annum exceeding that prescribed by the Minister by notification in the Gazette;
the owner is relieved from liability for the acts or defaults of any person acting in connection with or in the course of the negotiations leading to the entering into the hire-purchase agreement;
the owner or any person acting on his behalf is authorised to enter upon any premises for the purpose of taking possession of goods comprised in a hire-purchase agreement otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of this Act or is relieved from liability for any such entry;
the operation of the hire-purchase agreement is determined or modified or any person is authorised to repossess any goods comprised in a hire-purchase agreement if the hirer becomes bankrupt or executes a deed of assignment or a deed of arrangement (whether all or any of those events are named); or
except as expressly provided by this Act, the operation of any provision of this Act is excluded, modified or restricted,
shall be void and of no effect.
34. Where —
a bill of exchange or promissory note has been given by a hirer or guarantor under a hire-purchase agreement to the owner in respect of an amount payable under the agreement; and
the payment in due course of the bill of exchange or promissory note would, by virtue of the operation of any provision of this Act or otherwise, result in payment of an amount in excess of the liability of the hirer under the agreement,
the owner shall be liable to indemnify the hirer or guarantor, as the case may be, in respect of the amount of the excess.
35. Where —
a dealer or a person on behalf of a dealer, an agent or a person on behalf of an owner prepares or causes to be prepared a hire-purchase agreement or offer in writing that, if accepted, will constitute a hire-purchase agreement with the intention of bringing about a contractual relationship between an owner and a hirer; and
the agreement or offer contains to the knowledge of the dealer or a person on behalf of the dealer, agent or person acting on behalf of the owner, as the case may be, a false statement or representation that is false in any material particular,
the dealer or a person on behalf of the dealer, agent or person acting on behalf of the owner shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
—(1) The owner of any goods comprised in a hire-purchase agreement may —
at any time by notice in writing served on the hirer thereof, require him to state in writing where the goods are; or
if the goods are not in the possession of the hirer, to whom he delivered the goods or the circumstances under which he lost possession of them.
(2) Any hirer who —
does not, within 14 days after the receipt of such a notice, give to the owner such a statement; or
gives a statement containing any information that is to the knowledge of the hirer false,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
37. Every person who —
by the disposal or sale of any goods comprised in a hire-purchase agreement;
by the removal of the goods; or
by any other means,
defrauds or attempts to defraud the owner shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.
38. Where a hire-purchase agreement is signed by or on behalf of the hirer, any alteration of, or matter added to, the written document that contains the terms and conditions of the agreement after the document was signed —
if the additional matter is a matter required to be so specified, contained, or set out or affects any matter required to be so specified, contained, or set out,
has no force or effect unless the hirer or his agent has consented to the alteration or the additional matter by signing or initialling the agreement in the margin thereof opposite the alteration or additional matter.
—(1) Where goods comprised in a hire-purchase agreement are, at the time when the agreement is entered into, secondhand goods then unless —
the goods are described in the agreement as secondhand goods; or
in any proceedings taken by the owner to enforce the agreement, the court is satisfied that —
the hirer was aware at the time when he or his agent signed the agreement that the goods comprised or to be comprised therein were secondhand goods; or
the owner was not aware at the time when the agreement was entered into the goods comprised therein were secondhand goods,
the liability of the hirer thereunder shall be reduced by the amount included in the agreement for terms charges.
(2) The amount may be set-off by the hirer against the amount that would otherwise be due or become due to the owner under the agreement and, to the extent to which it is not so set-off may be recovered by the hirer from the owner as a civil debt.
—(1) Subject to subsection (2) where a worker does work upon goods comprised in a hire-purchase agreement in such circumstances that, if the goods were the property of the hirer, the worker would be entitled to a lien on the goods for the value of his work, he shall be entitled to a lien notwithstanding that the goods are not the property of the hirer.
(2) The lien is not enforceable against the owner if the hire-purchase agreement contains a provision prohibiting the creating of a lien by the hirer and the worker had notice of that provision before doing the work upon the goods.
—(1) Where the goods comprised in a hire-purchase agreement were not fixtures to land at the time when the agreement was entered into, the goods shall not, so long as the owner retains any rights in those goods under the agreement, be treated as fixtures to land.
(2) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1), the owner shall not be entitled to repossess goods which have been affixed to a dwelling-house or residence, if after the goods have become so affixed any person other than the hirer has bona fide acquired through valuable consideration an interest in the land without notice of the rights of the owner of the goods.
(3) Where any damage is caused to land or any building thereon by the removal and repossession of any goods affixed thereto by the owner of the goods, he shall compensate the owner of the land or the building, as the case may be, in respect of the damage.
42. The Bills of Sale Act (Cap. 24) and any subsequent or other written law for the time being in force relating to bills of sale shall not apply to any provision in a hire-purchase agreement whereby the rights of the owner thereunder are extended to any replacement or renewal by the hirer of any part or parts thereof or any accessory added or addition made by the hirer to any goods comprised in any such agreement.
43. Any time prescribed by this Act for the service or giving of any notice or other document or for the commencement of proceedings may, on an application made to a court (either before or after the expiration of that time but after notice to the other party to the hire-purchase agreement), be extended by that court for such further period, and upon such conditions, as the court thinks fit.
—(1) Where —
an application is made to the court by an owner who is entitled to take possession of any goods comprised in a hire-purchase agreement; and
the application is supported by evidence on affidavit that the hirer or any person in possession of the goods has refused or failed to deliver up possession of the goods on the service of a notice of demand made by the owner or by an agent of the owner authorised in that behalf,
the court may summon that hirer or person to appear before the court.
(2) If it appears to the court that the goods are being detained without just cause, the court may order the goods to be delivered up to the owner at or before a time and at a place, to be specified in the order.
(3) Any person who neglects or refuses to comply with any order made under this section shall be guilty of an offence.
45. Any notice or document required or authorised to be served on or given or sent to an owner or hirer or any person under this Act shall be deemed to be duly served or given or sent if it has been —
delivered to him personally;
left at his place of residence or business with some other person apparently an inmate thereof or employed thereat and apparently of or over the age of 16 years; or
posted by registered post addressed to him at his last known place of residence or business.
46. The affidavit or oral evidence of an owner or his servant or agent as to the delivery, leaving or posting of any notice or document required or authorised to be served, given or sent by this Act shall be admissible as prima facie proof of service, giving or sending of the notice or document.
—(1) Any prescribed document or part thereof —
not being the signature or initials of any person, that is in handwriting that is not clear and legible; or
that is printed in type of a size smaller than the type known as ten-point Times,
shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed not to be in writing.
(2) In this section, “prescribed document” means —
any hire-purchase agreement;
any written statement under section 3(1);
any copy of an agreement, notice or statement required by section 4 to be served on a hirer;
any statement required by section 8(1) to be sent to a hirer; and
(3) Where, by virtue of this section, a prescribed document or part thereof is, for the purposes of this Act, deemed not to be in writing, then, except as is otherwise in this Act expressly provided, the validity or effect of the prescribed document shall not be affected.
(4) Nothing in this section shall affect the liability of any person to be convicted of an offence under this Act.
48. Any person who is guilty of an offence under this Act or any regulations made thereunder for which no other penalty is expressly provided by this Act or any regulations made thereunder shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
—(1) The Minister may make regulations for or in respect of every purpose which he considers necessary for carrying out the provisions of this Act and for the prescribing of any matter which is authorised or required under this Act to be so prescribed.
(2) In addition to the powers conferred by subsection (1), the Minister may make regulations providing —
for the minimum amounts of deposits and maximum maturity periods for different types or classes of loans or advances granted by owners;
for the submission by owners who enter into hire-purchase agreements of such annual and periodic accounts and returns as may be prescribed and in such form as may be prescribed; and
for the collection, at such intervals or on such occasion and in such form as may be prescribed, of statistical information on such matters relating to hire-purchase as may be prescribed.