Case Studies For March 2014

Case Study #1

Mr Lau* made an order worth $257.99 from a bookstore for several textbooks and stationery. The delivery was supposed to be 15 days from the order date. On that day, he was told to visit their outlet to collect the items. However the items were unavailable during his visit. Mr Lau tried to contact the bookstore but the company failed to reply to his email or calls. Mr Lau decided to cancel the order after several delays and false promises of availability.

CASE contacted the company and they were advised that they may have infringed upon the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) - making false claims that goods or services are available or available in particular quantities or prices After negotiation, the company finally agreed to refund Mr Lau a sum of $257.99.

Case Study #2

In May 2013, a staff from a direct selling company visited Mr Goh’s* residence to do a cleaning demonstration for his existing kitchenware. Subsequently, the staff promoted her company’s products to him. Eventually, Mr Goh agreed to purchase a 28 cm low saucepan. The cost was $950 after a trade-in of $900 for one of Mr Goh’s pots. Mr Goh paid a deposit of $475. At the point of purchase, he was not informed of his rights to cancel the agreement within the cooling-off period of five days. Mr Goh is now aware of this provision and would like to cancel the agreement and request for a refund of $475.

The case was reported and the company was informed that they may have infringed – CPFTA (Cancellation of Contracts Regulations 2009) - failure to inform or honour 5-day cooling off period (for timeshare, timeshare-related and direct sales contracts made on or after 15 April 2009). The issue was resolved and the consumer agreed to use the deposit paid to exchange for a new saucepan.

Case Study #3

In April 2013, Mrs Ng* booked tickets from an airline company for eight people to Bangkok and paid $2,242. The departure date was 20 June and return date was 23 June 2013. Her son travelled as an infant but would return as a child due to his birthday. She tried to book a separate purchase for the child but the system could not register the change in age. She was advised to declare a false birth date to facilitate travel which she refused due to security concerns. Mrs Ng requested to cancel the trip for four people and get back a refund of $870.

CASE emphasised to company that they may infringed on -(CPFTA) 4(b) – False Claims, (CPFTA) Making False Claims that a transaction involving good or services has or does not have rights, remedies or obligations. The company offered a $870 travel voucher which was accepted by Mrs Ng.

Case Study #4

Mr Sim* purchased a pair of shoes worth $200 from a shoe company. He was convinced to purchase a pair of bigger sized shoes as he was informed that he could wear the shoes with a pair of socks. Unfortunately, the shoes were still too big for him. Mr Sim reported his problem to the company immediately. The company informed Mr Sim that they would provide an exchange with another pair of smaller sized shoes once they have stock. However, Mr Sim was not able to exchange the shoes even after waiting for more than one year.

He reported the matter to CASE and the company were informed that they may have infringed upon - CPFTA Section 4(b) - false claims - Sale of Goods Act. The company proceeded to exchange to another pair of smaller sized shoes worth $200.

Case Study #5

In March 2013, Ms Lee* signed a three year agreement for a membership with a dating agency for $1749. The nine date arrangements promised were not provided to date. Ms Lee was only given the contact details of one male candidate that proved incompatible and did not match her written preferences. More importantly, the company failed to contact her or make further arrangements until Ms Lee contacted them in June. A consultant from the agency apologised and claimed that they forgot about her due to a client system upgrade.

CASE negotiated with the match making agency on the consumer’s behalf and Ms Lee managed to get a refund of $1649.

*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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