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Woman pays over S$3,000 deposit for air-conditioning units that never got installed

A consumer faced over S$3,000 losses and a delayed move-in after a technician repeatedly missed air-conditioning installation appointments, leading to legal action and highlighting consumer grievances.

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SINGAPORE: A woman, known as Ms Chen, found herself out of pocket by over S$3,000 for an air-conditioning system that was never installed in her new flat.

Her ordeal began when her interior designer suggested an air-con technician install an air-conditioner at her flat in Tampines on March of the previous year.

However, the technician allegedly failed to meet the scheduled installation appointments four times, consistently rescheduling and promising compensation only to repeat the same pattern.

As a result, the woman had to engage another individual to install the air-conditioning units and having to pursue legal action by filing a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal to seek recourse.

Technician no-show prompts legal action

In March 2022, Ms. Chen paid half of the deposit for the air-con system’s wiring.

A month later, she was asked to pay an additional 20% of the deposit to “reserve” the system, though the exact meaning of this reservation remains unclear.

Over the next three months, the technician scheduled four installation appointments with Chen but never followed through.

Each time he failed to show up, he promised compensation, as revealed by text messages seen by Shin Min Daily News.

However, it came to light that the technician hadn’t even placed an order for the system, a discovery made when Chen reached out to the air-conditioner supplier.

Frustrated, Ms. Chen sought legal action against the technician’s company, S Cool Aircon Pte Ltd, via the Small Claims Tribunal.

Move-in delayed by 4 months

Following the multiple delays, a different technician had to step in to correct the wiring in her flat, as the previous one did not do it properly, said Chen.

This entire ordeal resulted in Ms Chen and her elderly mother moving into their new home four months later than planned, a situation that she kept from her mother to avoid causing her distress.

“I didn’t dare let my mother know about this, out of fear that it would make her upset,” Chen said.

Having heard of other similar cases, she now recommends that others exercise caution when contracting such services.

Interior designer ends longtime partnership with technician after receiving complaints

Ms. Chen’s interior designer, who had previously worked with the technician for over three years, had terminated their collaboration after receiving negative feedback.

The technician’s explanation for the delay was that he was too busy to install the air-conditioner.

“He did a good job in the past… I don’t know why the situation suddenly became like this,” the interior designer explained.

“I asked him for an explanation and he only said he was very busy and had no time to install the air-conditioner.”

CASE: Eight complaints received against company

Adding to the concern, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) reported that it had received eight complaints against the air-conditioning company as of October 2023.

According to Case president Melvin Yong, customers cited delays in installation and difficulties obtaining refunds as their main grievances.

“We have already written to the company on behalf of three customers to seek solutions and refunds,” Mr Yong added.

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