SINGAPORE: Eight consumer complaints have been filed against an air-conditioning company, centered on delays in installation and challenges in obtaining refunds for customers who paid deposits but never received their air-conditioning units.
This information was relayed by the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) following an incident in March 2022, where a woman, identified as Ms Chen, found herself at a loss of over S$3,000 for an air-conditioning system that was never installed in her Tampines flat.
Netizens have criticized CASE as a “toothless” agency, questioning its effectiveness, given that the company continues operations despite the multiple complaints.
Ms Chen’s troubles began when a technician, recommended by her interior designer, consistently failed to meet installation appointments.
Despite promises of compensation, the technician never delivered on his commitments.
It was also later revealed that he hadn’t even placed an order for the system.
The delays also forced Ms Chen and her elderly mother to move into their new home four months later than planned.
Given the circumstances, the interior designer chose to end their partnership with the technician due to the negative feedback, even though they had previously maintained a successful working relationship.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has received eight complaints against the air-conditioning company, citing installation delays and refund difficulties as the main grievances.
Despite Ms Chen pursuing legal action through the Small Claims Tribunal, CASE’s response has raised questions about their effectiveness in addressing consumer grievances.
Agency dubbed as a “paper tiger” or “toothless” agency
Some internet users, however, are frustrated with CASE’s inaction, labelling it as a “paper tiger” or a “toothless” agency for their reputation and handling of case concerning consumer’s complaints.
One user expressed their discontentment, pointing out that CASE appears ineffective in handling complaints, as it necessitates membership and a $27 fee for one year to engage in negotiations on behalf of consumers.
“Complaining to them, it’s as good as throwing pebbles into the sea,” the user said.
A visit to CASE’s website verifies this information, where it states that, “if consumers want CASE to follow up on their dispute, they will need to become a CASE member to establish a relationship between the consumer and CASE so that we are then able to represent them in talks with the retailer.”
Additionally, it was mentioned that a small fee would be levied to cover the administrative expenses associated with addressing their dispute
Another user sarcastically remarked on CASE’s apparent lack of action despite their “close monitoring” of the air-conditioning company.
In response, another user explained CASE’s position, indicating that they lack the authority to take legal action, which might explain their inaction.
However, he criticizes back by stating that there is “no point paying (for) the member fee because (CASE) is a paper tiger, no offense,” the user said.
As questions and demands regarding CASE’s role in assisting consumer complaints surface, some netizens advise reporting cases of cheating to the police rather than directing their complaints to the agency, as they believe that CASE “cannot help, only wayang.”
CASE faces criticism for response to UFC Gym closure
CASE had faced criticism from netizens over the years, and more recently in May, when they were scrutinized for their response to the abrupt closure of UFC Gym Singapore.
This incident resulted in a backlash against CASE, as reported by The Online Citizen, with many perceiving their actions as ineffective.
Back then, members were shocked to find that Anytime Fitness had taken over the gym’s space, despite being informed of a temporary closure for renovations.
As disgruntled gym-goers file reports with the police and CASE, netizens criticize CASE for not taking stronger action, labeling it as a “paper tiger.”
CASE has advised affected consumers to file claims at the Small Claims Tribunals, but many express frustration with the lack of regulation and protection in the fitness industry, as similar issues have arisen in the past.
Despite an increase in prepayment losses, CASE’s efforts to influence government regulations have fallen short, leading to mounting dissatisfaction among consumers.
This situation raises questions about CASE’s effectiveness in addressing consumer grievances and advocating for regulatory changes to protect consumers in the face of business closures.
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