Case Studies For January 2017

Case Study #1

In November 2016, Mr Lum* applied for a credit card from a bank through their website as he would be entitled to a free limited edition watch worth $150 if he used the card within three days of the application. He was informed that the credit card would be delivered to him within 24 hours. However, Mr Lum failed to receive the card after 24 hours had passed. He called the bank to enquire on the status of the delivery. The bank informed him that the card had already been sent out. Two days later, the bank called Mr Lum again and clarified that the reason behind the delayed delivery was that they had forgotten to put his house unit number on the letter. Due to the delay in delivery, Mr Lum could not use the credit card and thus missed out on the limited edition watch promotion.

CASE contacted the bank on behalf of Mr Lum. After some negotiation, Mr Lum was able to receive the limited edition watch and $30 shopping mall vouchers from the bank.

Case Study #2

In September 2016, Ms Teng* visited a beauty salon for mole removal services. The beautician informed her that she would need to pay $10 to remove each mole. Subsequently, four moles were removed from her skin. After the mole removal was completed, the beautician applied some liquid solution on the consumer’s skin and informed her that the bill was $128 in total. Ms Teng disagreed as she was not informed that she would need to pay for the solution, which would supposedly aid the skin in healing without scarring. Furthermore, the bottle of solution had no brand, origin or ingredients stated on the bottle. Thus, Ms Teng asked for a refund of $88.

CASE highlighted to the beauty salon that it was an unfair practice under the CPFTA to omit to do or say anything, if as a result, the consumer might reasonably be deceived or misled. The salon eventually agreed to refund $88 to Ms Teng.

Case Study #3

In January 2016, Mr Chen* paid $1,040 for round trip air tickets for three people to China on 10 March. Three days later, he called the airline and requested to change the flight date to 11 March instead. He obtained verbal confirmation over the phone that all three tickets were settled and paid the necessary administrative fees for the change in the flight date. On 11 March, Mr Chen found out that only one air ticket was confirmed when he attempted to check-in for the flight. Thus, he had to pay $420 for two air tickets to China on the same flight. Mr Chen requested for a reimbursement of the additional charges incurred.

Under Section 4(b) of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, it is an unfair practice to make false claims in relation to a consumer transaction. CASE negotiated with the airline and the airline agreed to waive the $420 paid for the new flight arrangements.

Case Study #4

In October 2016, Mdm Lim* bought an air-conditioner unit at $3,300, which included transport and installation of the unit at her residence. Shortly after the installation, the air-conditioner broke down multiple times. The company sent a technician to repair the air-conditioning unit, but to no avail. Mdm Lim was then given a verbal promise by the company to return the defective air-conditioner for a full refund. However, three months passed and there was no further action taken by the company. Mdm Lim thus approached CASE and requested assistance to expeditiously resolve the matter.

CASE highlighted Section 12A Lemon Law – Defection Goods of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act to the company. Under the Lemon Law, businesses are obliged to repair or replace a defective good. If this is not possible, businesses can provide a refund or reduction in price of the defective good. The company eventually sent a technician to uninstall the air-conditioner and refunded Mdm Lim in full.

*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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