Case Studies For February 2018

Case Study #1

In June 2017, Ms Ho* visited a hair salon to cut her hair. During the treatment, the hairstylist, constantly promoted a hair treatment package. Ms Ho eventually agreed to the package reluctantly and paid $600. Some days later, she started receiving marketing messages for hair packages from an unknown number through her handphone. Upon much probing, it turned out to be sent from the hairstylist at the hair salon. Ms Ho did not provide consent for her personal information to be used for such marketing messages. She lost confidence in the hair salon and requested for termination of the package and a refund. However, the salon claimed that she had already signed the contract and was required to complete the stated sessions.

CASE highlighted to the business that it is an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) to pressure a consumer in enter into a transaction. After some discussion, both parties eventually agreed to a $300 refund to Ms Ho as the final settlement.

Case Study #2

In September 2017, Mr Tan* purchased a stainless-steel commode and paid in $300. Two weeks after the purchase, he observed that rust had started forming around the wheel joints. He contacted the company and was told that the company could replace the rust parts for free. However, he would be charged $50 per part next time. However, Mr Tan had lost confidence in the product which was supposed to be made from stainless-steel. He requested for a refund of his payment.

CASE highlighted to the business that it is an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) to make false claims in relation to a consumer transaction. The business agreed to collect the commode and provide a full refund to Mr Tan.

Case Study #3

In September 2017, Ms Lim* sent five clothing items for dry-cleaning, including a two-piece dress with a detachable outer piece. When she collected the washed clothing, she realized that her detachable dress was missing the outer piece. Ms Lim tried contacting the laundry company for the missing item but the company claimed that the missing item was not with them. Hence, Ms Lim requested for reimbursement for the dress.

Upon CASE’s intervention, the company did a thorough search and eventually found the outer piece of Ms Lim’s dress and returned it in good condition.

Case Study #4

In January 2017, Ms Wong* signed up for a 12 months fitness club membership at a roadshow and paid $110 as a deposit for the first month of membership. The terms and conditions of the agreement stated “membership begins when centre opens”. It was communicated to the consumer that membership would only commence when the club opened in the first quarter of 2017 but an exact date was not given. However, there was no update on the opening of the club by mid-year. Ms Wong subsequently received a letter of demand for late payment by a law firm engaged by the fitness club. She requested to cancel the membership with no further liability due to the delaying in the opening of the club, but was denied as she had not fulfilled the minimum commitment written in the terms and conditions – i.e. member cannot terminate the agreement until the 12 months is up and full payment has been made.

CASE communicated to the club that it is an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) to make false claims involving a consumer transaction. The fitness club eventually agreed to waive the membership agreement with no further liability to Ms Wong.

*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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