Buying your rubbers onlinePOSTED BY ON 17 October 2015
HERE’S a fact that will smack you: Generally, Malaysians are cheapskates.
Even if we aren’t, it’s only the painful truth that we’re always looking to get the best deals.
Overspending is without Doubt the root of all financial problems, and for most of us, this only means that every sen counts. And in saying so, getting errands done or buying all our necessities involves a lot of effort in making the most of our money.
Ask yourself this: When was the last time you sent your car for servicing without getting price quotes from several workshops? Or have you found yourself circling a whole town for the sake of getting the cheapest set of tyres because you know the tiered pricing model all too well?
Well, when Ridzuwan Ayeop set up Mytayar.com one and a half years ago, it was only because he learned a painful lesson after being cheated by a deceitful mechanic whilst replacing his dead car battery.
In addition to the fact that his frustration stemmed from seeing the extra double-digit charges on his bill, his certainty that there were many others who have gone through the same ordeal led him to make changes.
“I was charged RM330 for the new battery and later found out that it would have cost me just RM300. And it wasn’t even of a good brand! Furthermore, my friends and family often complained that it was difficult to find reasonably-priced tyres,” says Ridzuwan.
“There is a notion that workshop owners or mechanics normally cheat their customers. The trouble with the workshop industry is that owners don’t put the same price tag on the same range of products, which means it is entirely up to them how much something costs.”
The unsatisfactory customer experience, according to Ridzuwan, is further compounded when mechanics are biased towards their customers. For example, they may take advantage of customers who have limited car maintenance knowledge or are simply females.
“It’s the truth that mechanics don’t prey on smart or expert buyers. Consumers don’t know what they are getting into. When I set up Mytayar.com, my aim was to make pricing appear more ‘structured’ and more importantly, transparent,” he says.
First and foremost, Mytayar.com is B2B2C (business to business to consumer) business. In simpler terms, Ridzuwan combines forces with the growing network of over 60 workshops to sell their products on the portal.
Basically, what goes on behind the computer screen and servers is that he connects customers with workshops offering quality products at the best prices.
So, take this as a quick example: You need a new Bridgestone tyre and just don’t see the point of making your rounds to get the cheapest piece. What you can do is check out all the best options on the website.
The best part of the experience is that should you proceed to purchase your items online (item price plus 5 per cent deposit), you’ll be presented with complete information on the seller, including his workshop name and address. Otherwise, if you only rely on Mytayar.com for non-purchasing activities, then you’ll only get a price quotation with only the most general information on the seller’s location.
It is worth mentioning that Mytayar.com is the most useful tool for those living in the Klang Valley and Ipoh. The former is quite justifiable but why Ipoh? Well, Ridzuwan tells us: “That’s only because Ipoh is my hometown. So just in case my car breaks down while in Ipoh, I know where to go.”
At the moment, Mytayar.com provides information on products and services such as tyres (cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles), car batteries as well as engine oil. WhenCars Bikes & Trucks queried on the possibility of including roadside or towing assistance as well as body and paint workshop options, he says: “Not for now.”
“Customers need to pick their auto body and painting workshops very carefully. It all goes down to the kind of skills and craftsmanship the workmen possess. The last thing you want is to end up with a bad paint job. So if you ask me, this is not the kind of risk I’d take as a service recommender.”
However, Cars Bikes & Trucks notes that pretty soon, people will be able to discover deals for car spare parts on the site.
Ridzuwan, who served as a financial controller for various corporations including oil and gas companies as well as banks in a career spanning many years, eventually came to terms with the fact that being able to serve the community was above anything else. And by “community”, he meant the auto repair industry players, too.
“There is always an easier way to assist customers in making their buying decisions. With Mytayar.com, in many ways, I provide sellers and buyers alike an advantage because I present them with an online avenue or ‘marketplace’,” Ridzuwan quips.
“Think of it as a win-win situation. I earn my commission, customers don’t get bluffed as we only register legitimate businesses on our website, and workshop owners get more customers through their doors due to the exposure we give them online.”
In between talking business and taking bets on Ridzuwan getting a fine for illegally parking his car along a yellow line outside our office building, he gives his take on the GST conundrum and its impact on the industry.
“The situation now is quite bad, to be honest. Our panel of workshops noted a decline in the number of customers since April this year. One owner had to shut down his business as it failed to break even,” he admits.
“There is also an influx of used tyres from overseas and surprisingly, these are what consumers are willing to spend their money on instead of brand new ones. It just goes to show that safety has yet to be our top priority.”
In the long run, Mytayar.com is bound to gain greater traction as the community is now living in the Information Age. In the meantime though, Ridzuwan will have to decide if it is a bad move or not to delay his traffic fine payment.
• For more information on its products and services, visit www.mytayar.com or call 010-77 82927