Motorist in the dark over tinting specifications

Lau Wai Mee

All Lau Wai Mee wanted to do was to get the windows of her vehicle tinted.

However, she has since learnt that what was sold to her may not reflect specifications as she ponders if car owners are being taken for a ride by tinting service providers.

Lau, better known as DJ MayZi during her days with a local Chinese-language radio station, went to a tinting service provider in Sungai Besi on April 27 to get her vehicle tinted.

“After being told of what I wanted, I was offered a particular model that cost RM2,300 for all the windows, including the front and rear screens,” said Lau.

“However, after driving my car for close to a month, I felt it was still hot and informed the sales person at the shop of my predicament. The person in charge told me to return the following month and we got the tint checked with a gadget.”

Lau, a content curator and voiceover talent, said a representative from the shop used an LS110A transmission meter and the infrared rejection (IRR) showed 77 per cent.

Transmission IRR
The IRR reading shows 77 per cent.

“But before purchasing the tint, I was informed that the IRR is 94 per cent. This was also reflected in a card and sample film that were given to me.

“The salesperson said I could upgrade the film if I still felt hot and I would be given a discount. Why should I upgrade the film when I had already paid for what I thought was good enough?”

Lau got a second opinion and found out that the infrared (IR) transmission (1,400nm) of the sample film given to her was 87.7 per cent but the IR transmission reading of the film installed on her car was 19.4 per cent.

Sample film tint
Sample film tint, when tested on another device, shows an IR transmission reading of 87.7 per cent.
sample film tint
The film on the vehicle, when tested on another device, shows an IR transmission reading of 19.4 per cent.

“Is there a difference once a film is placed on the glass of a vehicle? Would this mean the reading of the film will differ based on the vehicle’s make and origin? If that’s the case, then this should be clearly stated by the manufacturers so that vehicle owners are able to make the best decision and know what they are paying for.”

Lau also pointed out that based on the specifications card she received, the film on her vehicle was not “Road Transport Department (RTD) compliant”. She was in for another shocker.

“I was informed that there was a RTD ‘saman warranty’ package which cost RM4,900 but I was offered a discounted price of RM3,675. The film is obviously not RTD compliant but I was told the installers will hand over a letter so I do not get any summons.”

Lau has approached experts in the industry and lawyers to see how best to deal with the situation.

“It’s not about me. It’s about the many vehicle owners who just drive into a shop to get their vehicles tinted, not knowing what they are actually paying for.

“We don’t have the right gadgets or tools to check such matters on the spot,” she added.

According to a 2014 Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand, Malaysia has the third highest car ownership in the world, at 93 per cent. Most car owners generally install or upgrade the tints upon purchasing their new vehicles while most car manufacturers these days throw in packages that include tinting services.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) legal and policy matters adviser Shabana Naseer Ahmad acknowledged the association has received complaints regarding tint films.

“The common complaints were the tints are too dark despite assurances by the installers that they follow RTD regulations; and substandard workmanship that sees bubbles appearing weeks after installation,” said Shabana.

“There is a standard test for vehicle tint films. The mechanism is designed to resolve discrepancies in identifying tint films that do not comply with regulations and that the film installation complies with the Malaysian Standard (MS) 2669:2017.”

She urged motorists to check their tinted windows and windscreens at Puspakom’s computerised vehicle inspection centres.

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