Case Study #1
In October 2016, Mdm Chan* was invited to enter a spa for a trial massage. During the massage, the staff pressured her to buy a 20 session massage package at a promotional price of $2,800 by insinuating that her back was crooked and it could lead to paralysis. When she declined, she was told to pay for the massage and was pushed to sign up for the massage package again in order to get the free massage. She eventually agreed. When she went back to the salon for the second session on the next day, the staff insisted that she top up another $800. Mdm Chan felt troubled with the sales tactics undertaken by the staff and requested to cancel her package for a refund of the unutilised sessions.
Under Section 4(c) of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA), it is an unfair practice to take advantage of a consumer who is not in a position to protect her own interests. CASE negotiated with the business and was able to get back a partial refund for Mdm Chan.
Case Study #2
In July 2016, Mr Thomas* purchased two wooden bedframes from a furniture company. He paid a deposit of $1,500. On the delivery day, there was a heavy rainstorm. Mr Thomas contacted the company to express his concerns with regard to the delivery of the wooden bedframes in the heavy rain. The company assured him that the bedframes would be well protected from the rain. However, upon delivery, the bedframes were not covered and the wood for the frames were soaked in the rain and damaged. Mr Thomas thus requested for a refund.
Under the Lemon Law, companies are obliged to repair, replace, reduce the price or provide a refund for a defective product. CASE contacted the company which agreed to repair the bedframes and provided four extra wooden stools as goodwill to Mr Thomas.
Case Study #3
In February 2017, Mr Lee* visited a traditional Chinese medicine clinic to seek treatment for his back pain. During the visit, the physician took his blood pressure and did some other checks. He was instructed to go to another room where the physician performed acupuncture on him. Mr Lee was then asked to pay $450 after the treatment and to book an appointment for a follow up treatment. He felt that he was not given a chance to refuse the treatment, nor was he informed of the treatment details and charges. Mr Lee felt uncomfortable with the tactics used by the clinic and requested for a refund.
CASE negotiated with the clinic on behalf of Mr Lee. Both parties eventually agreed to a 50% refund as the final settlement.
Case Study #4
In October 2016, Ms Toh* visited a hair salon and was quoted $5 for a haircut. After the haircut was completed, the hairdresser brought her into a room and did a scan claiming that she had a dry scalp. She was pressured to take up a hair treatment package several times. When Ms Toh rejected to take up the package, the hairdresser refused to allow her to make payment and leave the salon. Instead, the hairdresser shampooed and washed her hair. Ms Toh was eventually charged $99 for the entire process. She was dissatisfied with the sales tactics used by the salon and requested for a partial refund.
CASE highlighted to the hair salon that it was an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) to exert undue pressure on a consumer during a sales transaction. With CASE’s assistance, Ms Toh was able to get back a full refund of $99.