Case Studies For May 2018

Case Study #1

In June 2017, Ms Teng* purchased a handbag for $420. She verified with the salesperson that the handbag is made of 100% genuine leather. However, after several months of use, she noticed several cracks in the leather of the handbag. The leather was also peeling off from the handles of the handbag, despite proper care given. Ms Teng went back to the store in November 2017 but was told to approach the brand’s headquarters located overseas which would inconvenience her significantly.

Under the Lemon Law, businesses are obliged to repair, replace, reduce the price or provide a refund for a defective product. CASE highlighted the Lemon Law to the shop which agreed to provide a full refund to Ms Teng.

Case Study #2

In October 2017, Mr Loh* signed up for 80 sessions of chiropractic treatment for $6,400. He agreed to sign up for the package after being promised that the treatment would alleviate his back pain. After a few sessions, his back pain worsened but he was assured by the chiropractor that it would improve with time. Since then, Mr Loh had undergone a total of 28 sessions and there was no improvement in his back pain. He requested to cancel the package and get back a $4,200 refund for his unutilised sessions. However, the chiropractor claimed that $6,400 for 80 sessions was a package price, and the actual price of each session was much higher.

Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA), it is an unfair practice to make false claims in lieu of a consumer transaction. CASE negotiated with the chiropractor and was able to get back a refund of $3,500 for Mr Loh.

Case Study #3

In January 2018, Mdm Chan* engaged a maid agency to employ a maid who could speak English and is able to cook. The employment agent recommended a maid to Mdm Chan and claimed that she was able to fulfil both criteria. Hence, she paid $1,600 for the service and $3,200 for the placement fee. When the maid arrived, Mdm Chan found out that she could not speak English or cook. She approached the agency which charged her an additional $700 for a replacement maid. Mdm Chan requested to cancel the contract and a reasonable refund of the service fees.

Under the CPFTA, it is an unfair practice to make false claims in lieu of a consumer transaction. CASE negotiated with the maid agency, which eventually agreed to refund $800 to Mdm Chan as the final settlement.

Case Study #4

In February 2018, Mr Syed* engaged a contractor to replace a window strip on his kitchen window. The contractor recommended a package for replacement of the window strip and a stopper for $200. Mr Syed agreed. When the contractor visited his home a few days later, only Mr Syed’s elderly father was at home. The contractor convinced his father to retrofit all windows in the flat and charged an additional $80 for it.

Under the CPFTA, it is an unfair practice to take advantage of a consumer who is not in a position to protect his own interests (e.g. the elderly). CASE negotiated with the contractor who agreed to refund $80 to Mr Syed.

*Please note that surnames have been changed to ensure the privacy of the consumers.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, please do not hesitate to seek assistance from CASE. For general enquiries, you can call our hotline at 6100 0315 between 9am and 5pm from Mondays to Fridays and between 9am and 12pm on Saturdays. For an in-depth consultation with our officers, please visit us at 170 Ghim Moh Road, #05-01 Ulu Pandan Community Building, between 9am and 4pm from Mondays to Saturdays. You can also file a complaint online here.

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