From 1 June 2016 to 26 April 2017, the Consumers Association of Singapore (“CASE”) received 33 complaints* against Carpentry Design Works Pte. Ltd. (“Carpentry Design Works”), a renovation contractor. These complaints relate to the failure of Carpentry Design Works to honour the terms of their contract with consumers. The breakdown of the complaints can be viewed in the table below.
|Jun - Dec 2016
|Jan - 26 Apr 2017
^Note: Out of the 27 complaints received in 2017, 21 complaints were received in the month of April.
Based on consumers’ complaints, there have been multiple delays in the completion of the renovation works. In some cases, consumers allege that full or close to full payment have been made to the contractor. Consumers also say the contractor is no longer contactable.
Carpentry Design Works was registered as a company in March 2016 and their registered office address is at 308 Telok Kurau Road #01-18 Vibes @ East Coast Singapore 423858. As of 26 April 2017, the company is still live on ACRA.
CASE wrote to Carpentry Design Works two weeks ago requesting for a meeting but there has been no reply from the contractor to date.
Consumers are encouraged to exercise prudence when dealing with new companies with no track record. They should carry out their due diligence to check for complaints and to ask around for references when engaging a renovation company. Any payment for services should be rendered progressively and at no time should they make full payment or close to full payment upfront.
When selecting a contractor, consumers are strongly encouraged to engage an accredited contractor by CaseTrust (www.casetrust.org.sg), as these contractors are required to protect the consumers’ first deposits against closure, winding up and/or liquidation of the business by way of a performance bond. This means that consumers are able to get back a refund of their deposit if the contractor closes down abruptly.
Consumers with unresolved disputes may contact CASE for further assistance via our hotline: 6100 0315 or walk in to our office at 170 Ghim Moh Road, Ulu Pandan Community Building, #05-01, Singapore 279621.
*Complaints include filed cases, assisted cases and counselled cases (including phone enquiries).
From November 2016 to March 2017, the Consumers Association of Singapore (“CASE”) received 19 complaints* against Danish company, Lux International Sales ApS, trading as LuxStyle.
Consumers reported that they had clicked on an online advertisement to find out more information on the product sold. On the information page, they had to fill in their personal details such as their name and home address to view the prices of the products. The consumers decided not to buy the product at this stage and did not agree to make any payment.
However, they received a package from the company shipped to their doorstep sometime later and an invoice asking for payment. When consumers wrote in to claim that they did not make the order, they were told to return the package at their own cost.
Consumers that did not make payment were sent multiple letters chasing for the payment for the products, inclusive of additional penalty fees for late payment. A consumer reported that she had tried to return the products by registered mail to Denmark but was denied the refund as the parcel was not delivered within 14 days as stated in their terms and conditions.
These practices by LuxStyle are highly unethical and is prohibited under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act. The CPFTA prohibits businesses from asserting a right to payment for goods that the consumer did not agree to buy, otherwise known as unsolicited goods.
Hence, unless the consumer has expressly acknowledged the intention to accept and pay for such goods (at the point of checkout), the consumer is not obliged to make payment as it is unlikely that there was a binding contract for payment of the unsolicited goods. Any cost required to return the goods should be also borne by the company.
CASE advises affected consumers to ignore the letters and not make any payment to the company. Consumers with additional concerns may approach CASE for further assistance via our hotline: 6100 0315 or walk in to our office at 170 Ghim Moh Road, Ulu Pandan Community Building, #05-01, Singapore 279621.
*Complaints include counselled cases (including phone enquiries) only.