Do consumers have any rights in Singapore???

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Bolty
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Do consumers have any rights in Singapore???

Post by Bolty » Fri, 08 May 2009 10:34 am

Can consumers get anywhere when they are stuffed around by service providers here??

I have been here for about 5 months now and starting to realise that as much as they would like to market this as an efficient society, there are hardly any options when things go wrong. No wonder service providers don't give a damn as unless you are prepared to spend a lot of time and effort it is a moot point.

Recently I had an issue with my landlords agent (reputed, well known company) who was extremely rude and borderline abusive when we called him a few times to get some information. When I recorded the call and complaint to his boss, things did get done - with an excuse that he was rude because being "chinese" educated he may have misunderstood me (was he serious - I should have forwarded this to SG MOE)

Recently a laundry service (on Telok Kurau Rd) stuffed me around cause his workers did not understand I wanted to get a stain removed from my shirt - they ended up dry cleaning it instead (with the stain still there). The boss was very rude about telling my wife what my instructions were - interesting, since he was not there when I dropped it off. He then calls my wife an "educated fool". Sad thing - I cant do nothing about it! I had to pay them the money and get my shirt back, as they would not even let me keep the original receipt that was given to me (which was good evidence of what my instructions were).

CASE seems like a joke as they still seem to be stuck in archaic, ineffective ways. If I really wanted to complain, I would have to go into the service centre, pay them money and lodge a complaint - not worth spending time and money over. No wonder the merchants here have an upper hand.

Maybe we have been spoilt with proper, professional and generally courteous service back home, but is this really acceptable?
I have read through many posts on this website about shonky operators - maybe its time a list is maintained with good and bad service provider names - something I'm sure all members will benefit.

I completely agree with this users comment:
"Singapore should stick to chili crabs and chicken rice and not bother marketing itself as a service-oriented country. This No U Turn Syndrome spells it all" http://www.singaporeexpats.com/forum/ftopic48196.html

It'd be interesting to hear about other's experiences as well (or is it just me feeling this way??)

cheers! :)

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jpatokal
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Re: Do consumers have any rights in Singapore???

Post by jpatokal » Fri, 08 May 2009 10:43 am

Bolty wrote:Can consumers get anywhere when they are stuffed around by service providers here??
Nope.
CASE seems like a joke as they still seem to be stuck in archaic, ineffective ways.
Yup.

If you get stiffed by a company in Singapore, the only thing you can really do is take it to the Small Courts Tribunal -- but it's hardly worth the trouble for a stained shirt. Unless your pants are worth $67 million, that is :cool:
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playhere
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Post by playhere » Fri, 08 May 2009 4:54 pm

I am singaporean myself but find many aspects of our service industry bad..

Example:

1. service charges in restaurants are compulsory.. even if the service is bad, you are made to pay

2. overcharging tourists or even locals at hotspots ( food, electronic products)

3. home repair and maintenance standards are not good..

I personally feel that expats' complaints are taken more seriously.. I encourage you and others to speak up..

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sierra2469alpha
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Re: Do consumers have any rights in Singapore???

Post by sierra2469alpha » Fri, 08 May 2009 6:23 pm

jpatokal wrote:...If you get stiffed by a company in Singapore, the only thing you can really do is take it to the Small Courts Tribunal -- but it's hardly worth the trouble for a stained shirt. Unless your pants are worth $67 million, that is :cool:...
Umm, Small Claims Tribunal, whose real link is http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/sct/index.aspx

The Wiki link you posted is in the United States which hardly helps anyone. Fact rather than your personal self aggrandisement and navel gazing would be refreshing. You're a mod, do your job.

Bolty and playhere: Remember that there is the power of the internet, and the luscious complaint letter. Don't go overboard, but a subtle "I was not satisifed and will not recommend you to anyone" does go a long way - regardless of culture. Be pleasant, polite, and even with a smile while you write. Remember also that there are sites that review restaurants, hotels, motels, forums, and you can always add your vote to them. IMHO, it's just about educating people that there is a lot of power through what we all know is word of mouth, but we just power it up, via letters and the Internet.

So, I do understand about your issues...Here's a recent one and how I dealt with it: I have had a heap of problems with the aircon recently (and I used jp's posting to try their people). I thought they were OK, but now we're $1100 down the tube for what are 16 month old Mitsubishi aircons. "Must replace this, must replace that". Sure, I'm Ang Mo, more woe me. A simple explanation that I was not happy and that I would only pay them once I had another organisation look at it changed the "tune" very quickly.

Remember also that business is not the same here as many are used to - it's a matter of giving everyone "face" while standing your ground (retaining "face" yourself). Not easy, I agree! It's about mutual respect and I have not found a time when it hasn't been found mutually - it just needs a bit more patience if you haven't done it before.

Oh, not to mention, you can always walk with the wallet!

HTH, Mr. P

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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Do consumers have any rights in Singapore???

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 08 May 2009 10:58 pm

sierra2469alpha wrote:
jpatokal wrote:...If you get stiffed by a company in Singapore, the only thing you can really do is take it to the Small Courts Tribunal -- but it's hardly worth the trouble for a stained shirt. Unless your pants are worth $67 million, that is :cool:...
Umm, Small Claims Tribunal, whose real link is http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/sct/index.aspx

The Wiki link you posted is in the United States which hardly helps anyone. Fact rather than your personal self aggrandisement and navel gazing would be refreshing. You're a mod, do your job.

HTH, Mr. P
Hey Pete, Did you miss out on JP's Image comment on The Pearson vrs Chung case? It was a dandy in Washington DC (my old stomping grounds) and this guy was a judge already! It even made the papers here if I remember correctly. He was only playing on the fact the laundry would hardly be worth the effort. As far as the SCT is concerned, I'm sure it was just a typo. I do it enough times as well, especially when I'm dashing out messages in between the BS of working for a living as well. I think you will find the JP is usually spot on even if he does come across as holier than thou sometimes. We all make the occasional blunder...... :wink:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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jpatokal
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Re: Do consumers have any rights in Singapore???

Post by jpatokal » Sat, 09 May 2009 7:21 pm

sierra2469alpha wrote:The Wiki link you posted is in the United States which hardly helps anyone. Fact rather than your personal self aggrandisement and navel gazing would be refreshing. You're a mod, do your job.
WTF? It's a joke, son. My "job" is cleaning up the sewers of spam here, what I post on my own has nothing to do with my magic moderator buttons.

But I stand by what I said: if you've been screwed over and want to get redress from an uncooperative company, you're pretty much SOL unless you take it to court. There's no consumer law in Singapore, no BBB, CASE is totally ineffectual, and the police won't get involved either.
Bolty and playhere: Remember that there is the power of the internet, and the luscious complaint letter.
This is a possibility when you're dealing with Singapore Airlines, SingTel, or some other large company with reputation to maintain, but dodgy rental agent Mr Tan and corner dry cleaning store Lim & Foo are not going to give a rat's ass. Post too much negative stuff on the Internet, and they just might sue you for libel though...
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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