How To Lodge A Complaint If You Get Cheated Or Have A Bad Experience In Singapore?
As in the usual efficient manner of all things in Singapore, if you do come across an errant shop who have overcharged/conned or any other tourism related matters, you may complain to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) by calling the Hotline at 1800-7362000 (toll-free in Singapore or dial +65 67362000 from overseas). If you wish to receive some form of redress within 24 hours (depending on the complexity of the claim), you can also lodge your complaint directly with the Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) at: No 1 Havelock Square, 1st level Subordinate Courts S(059724). In the case of tourists who have left Singapore, STB can lodge a case on their behalf with the Small Claims Tribunal.
By and large most of the shop owners in Singapore are honest people, however over the years there have been several reports of dishonest shops that cheated on tourists notably in Sim Lim Square and Lucky Plaza (NEW: People Park Complex). Also, beware of touts and overcharging in Newton Food Centre. STB do publish a blacklist (updated: 15JAn14, the link is DEAD, try this!) monthly on its website, www.visitsingapore.com, but be warned that the list is not effective and often empty as mentioned in this forum. Information on errant retailers can also be obtained at the Singapore Visitors Centres and through the tollfree Hotline at 1800-736 2000. The best advices we can give are:
- compare the prices from a few shops;
- beware of the hard sell and the pressure tactics and
- if the price is too low compared to other shops, alarm bell should ring
If you take a taxi in Singapore, remember to ask for a receipt as it contains the taxi number, taxi company’s name, date/time and the info hotline. This will prove especially handy if you have left your personal belongings behind or unhappy with the service rendered by the taxi driver. Make it a habit to ask for a taxi receipt. To lodge a complaint, you need to furnish details such as the licence plate number, date, time and a brief account of the incident. Read here on the various surcharges on the Taxi before you think that you are being ripped off.
To report a complaint against the service of a taxi driver or provide feedback, you may contact the customer service hotlines of the respective companies.
|Taxi Company||Customer Service Hotline|
|CityCab Pte Ltd||6552 1111|
|Yellow Top Taxi||6293 5545|
|Trans-Cab Services Pte Ltd||6555 3333|
|SMRT Taxis Pte Ltd||6555 8888|
|Prime Car Rental & Taxi Services Pte Ltd||6898 2000|
|Smart Automobile Pte Ltd||6485 7777|
|Comfort Transportation Pte Ltd||6552 1111|
|Premier Taxis Pte Ltd||6363 6888|
Alternatively you may wish to contact the Land Transport Authority (LTA) at 1800-CALL-LTA (1800-2255-582). Depending on the nature of the complaint or feedback, LTA will follow up with an investigation or refer it to the taxi company.
For disputes related to financial products, you may lodge a written complaint to the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (FIDReC) through www.fidrec.com.sg or can reach their hotlinr at 63278878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the police hotline in Singapore, dial 999. Toll free if dial from the public telephones.
Online purchase/scam – What to do?
A few readers have written to ask me what are their recourse for bad services/scam for online purchases, Askmelah thought it will be good to include here so that I do not have to reply for similar enquiries. When someone gets cheated online here in Singapore, they mostly report it to the Police (email@example.com) and when there are a few people also get scammed by the same merchant, police will then take actions. Understandably, it may be tough for the Police to take action just for one isolated case. The other alternative is people may seek help with CASE (http://www.case.org.sg/contact.html) though Askmelah can not recall if they have done any significant intervention for blog scam cases yet.
Best advice Askmelah can give is: make payment with Paypal or Credit Card, at least in these SCAM cases, Paypal can invoke the Buyer Protection scheme to refund you. Askmelah also have good experience with Citibank, who managed to return money for unauthorised deduction from rouge merchants based in USA.
Lodge a case with the police
You can lodge a police a case with police for cases with criminal content. However, visiting the police station is never a pleasant experience. Typically waiting and police constable taking your statement typically takes 2-3 hours. The best way to lodge a case is a little-known online portal: http://www.spf.gov.sg/epc/. Trust me it will save you lots of time and detail interrogation by the earnest police constables.
Stolen and Lost Property Index (SPEX) – Singapore Police Force – contains records of selected property with serial numbers (e.g. mobile phones, laptop etc) which have been reported to the Police as stolen or lost. Useful for checking whether second-hand/used goods are stolen or not.
Consumer feedback website
The followings are locally based websites that champion consumer rights:
- www.redress.me – complaints and compliments about products or service
- http://alldealsleak.com/ – point consumers to credible online discount site
- http://terribleservices.blogspot.sg – air your grievance on bad services and products
- http://scams-singapore.blogspot.sg – Up-to-date scam alerts in Singapore
- http://www.consumercomplaints.sg/ – A new consumer feedback forum just launch in 2014
[Updated Jul 2016] ‘Refund guru’ helps clients get money back by shaming errant businesses on the Internet. It charges 10 per cent of the amount the customers want to claim, much cheaper than engaging a lawyer. More.
- CASE and STB to jointly handle tourist complaints – Todayonline.com
- ‘Lemon law’ to be introduced to protect consumers
- Is S’pore serious about its tourist image? – The Straits Times
- Price Hacking, Singapore – VitualTourist.com
- Don’t believe what Sim Lim shopkeeper said – Singaporebikes.com
- Singapore: Electronics – beware the Tourist Traps – www.tripadvisor.com
- Tourist cheated thrice in one day at Sim Lim – AsiaOne.com
- Still buyer beware at 2 local spots – The Sunday Times
- Cellphone shopping turns ugly at Lucky Plaza – The Straits Times
- Expat alleges overcharging by Boat Quay seafood restaurant after S$1,000 lunch – Todayonline
- – Todayonline
- Sim Lim to set up complaint kiosk
- CASE consumer alert
- Gumtree Scan Alert!
- ‘Refund guru’ seeks redress for buyers
Last updated on Jul 2016