April 11, 2022
The Consumers Association of Singapore (“CASE”) would like to alert consumers to complaints received against renovation contractors, Sense Construction Werkz Pte Ltd (“Sense Construction Werkz”), K & L Interior Pte Ltd (“K & L Interior”), and Sense Visual Pte Ltd (“Sense Visual”). The majority of complaints pertains to the renovation contractors failing to complete home renovation projects according to committed timelines despite consumers having paid substantial payments upfront.
Consumers who are engaging renovation contractors are advised to research on the credibility and track record of the company, and avoid making substantial payments upfront.
From 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022, CASE received the following number of complaints against the three businesses.
|Name of Business
||Number of Complaints
|Sense Construction Werkz
|K & L Interior
Sense Construction Werkz, K & L Interior and Sense Visual
In general, consumers complained that they had made full or partial payments for home renovation projects, but the renovation works were repeatedly delayed or left uncompleted. According to consumers, the contractor had cited manpower shortage and staff contracting COVID-19 as the reasons for the delays.
In addition, some consumers also reported that the companies increased the project cost without their consent, and made mistakes in the renovation, electrical and paint works. Consumers reported that the companies were unresponsive to requests to complete unfinished renovation work, and to rectify outstanding defects. The companies also requested for advance payment to continue the renovation work, despite not completing the outstanding renovation work according to schedule. According to consumers, the total contract value of the renovation works amounted to more than $730,000.
Based on records from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”), Sense Construction Werkz and K & L Interior have the same director and secretary. Sense Construction Werkz and K & L Interior also have the same registered office address at 10 Admiralty Street, #04-22, North Link Building, Singapore 757695. According to complaints received and contracts signed by consumers, Sense Visual has the same contact person and contact details as Sense Construction Werkz and K & L Interior.
Warning Letters Issued
In response to consumer complaints, CASE had issued warning letters to the three businesses and urged them to fulfil their contractual obligations towards consumers.
CASE is monitoring the renovation contractors closely, and will not hesitate to refer them to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (“CCCS”) for further investigation of possible unfair practices under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (“CPFTA”).
Consumers are advised to take note of the following when making prepayments for renovation projects:
- Do thorough research on the credibility and track record of the renovation contractor before signing the contract. Insist on a written contract to protect your interests.
- Consumers are encouraged to use CASE’s model agreement on home renovation. For renovation projects, negotiate for the deposit to be as low as possible and negotiate for a progressive payment according to the project milestones.
- Document outstanding renovation defects by taking photos. Ensure outstanding defects are fully rectified before making full payment. The photos can also be used as supporting evidence in case of disputes.
- Patronise CaseTrust accredited renovation contractors. CaseTrust accredited renovation contractors are required to protect a customer’s deposit via the purchase of a deposit performance bond. The bond safeguards deposits against business closure, winding up and/or liquidation before the renovation is completed.The list of CaseTrust accredited renovation contractors can be found here: (https://case.org.sg/listCat/contractors-renovation-and-interior-design/)
- Consumers with unresolved disputes can approach CASE for assistance (hotline: 6100 0315, website: www.case.org.sg).
- Consumers who suspect that the renovation company has committed fraud should file a police report.
Mr Melvin Yong, President, CASE, said: “Over the past year, CASE has seen a sharp increase in the number of complaints pertaining to home renovation. We are concerned about this trend, and would like to urge consumers to do their research and only engage renovation firms with good customer service and track records. To better protect consumers against prepayment losses, CASE would like to reiterate our call on the Government to consider mandating prepayment protection in industries which collect large sums of prepayment, such as the renovation, beauty and furniture industries. CASE will continue to work with the government and industry stakeholders to encourage fair trade practices and reduce the number of consumer complaints.”