Triple Lifestyle Marketing
The Consumers Association of Singapore (“CASE”) would like to alert to consumers to complaints received against Triple Lifestyle Marketing Pte Ltd (“Triple Lifestyle Marketing”), a direct seller of alkaline water systems.
From 1 January 2020 to 31 January 2021, CASE received 86 consumer complaints against Triple Lifestyle Marketing. In general, consumers complained about misleading claims made by Triple Lifestyle Marketing, that the company was either unresponsive to their service requests or did not show up for scheduled appointments, and/or that they did not provide satisfactory recourse for faulty products.
About Triple Lifestyle Marketing
Triple Lifestyle Marketing sells long-term maintenance service packages for alkaline water systems via door-to-door sales. In most cases, the packages cost approximately $3,000. Consumers can opt to pay the full package cost upfront or via monthly installments.
In return for signing up for the packages, consumers get a water dispenser, a water filtration system, and periodic water filter replacements free-of-charge. As part of the service agreement, Triple Lifestyle Marketing is also required to repair the water dispenser or water filtration system if defects occur.
Most complaints against Triple Lifestyle Marketing involved instances where consumers alleged that Triple Lifestyle Marketing was either unresponsive to their repeated attempts to contact the latter to arrange for service requests for replacement of water filters or repair of faulty products, or did not show up for appointments. In some cases, Triple Lifestyle Marketing did not provide replacements after they had collected the faulty products. This was despite representations by Triple Lifestyle Marketing during the sales process that they would repair the water dispensers or water filtration systems if defects occurred.
Consumers also reported that Triple Lifestyle Marketing made other misleading claims during the sales process. For instance, consumers alleged that Triple Lifestyle Marketing told them that they can pay for the packages via installments, but subsequently charged them the full amount upfront. A few consumers complained that they received used water dispensers or water filter replacements when this was not previously communicated to them.
Engagement with Triple Lifestyle Marketing
In response to consumer complaints, CASE had issued a warning letter to Triple Lifestyle Marketing in July 2020. CASE had informed the company on the number of complaints received by consumers, and their obligations under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (“CPFTA”). CASE had also urged the company to cease the unfair practices. Despite the warning letter, CASE continues to receive consumer complaints against Triple Lifestyle Marketing.
CASE had then asked Triple Lifestyle Marketing to enter into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) as provided for under the CPFTA to cease its unfair practices and to compensate affected consumers. Despite repeated engagements by CASE since September 2020, Triple Lifestyle Marketing has not signed the VCA. CASE will continue to monitor the complaints received against Triple Lifestyle Marketing and is evaluating further action to be taken against the company as provided for under the CPFTA to protect the interests of consumers.
Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act
Under the CPFTA, it is an unfair practice for a supplier to do or say anything, or omit to do or say anything, if as a result a consumer might reasonably be deceived or misled. In addition, it is an unfair practice for a supplier to represent that goods are new or unused if they are not, and to represent the availability of facilities for repair of goods or of spare parts for goods if that is not the case. Consumers who encounter such unfair practices have the right to seek recourse under the CPFTA, and may approach CASE for assistance.
Consumers are advised to take note of the following when transacting with direct selling companies (door-to-door sales):
- Before signing up for a long-term contract, negotiate for a trial period to assess the quality of the product and after sales service of the company.
- Ascertain details of the after sales service, such as notice period for service appointments and estimated time period for repair of faulty products. Put down these details in writing in case of disputes.
- Do not feel pressured to make a purchase on the spot. Do online research to verify the quality of the product and the track record of the company before making a purchase decision.
- If consumers do not wish to proceed with the purchase, they can cancel a direct sales contract within five days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays) after the contract is signed and they are informed of the right to cancel the contract in accordance with the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) (Cancellation of Contracts) Regulations 2019. They may cancel the contract by delivering a notice of cancellation personally to the business, or by sending the notice via email, post or fax. Suppliers are required to provide a refund to consumers within 60 days after the notice is given.
- Consumers with unresolved disputes can approach CASE for assistance (hotline: 6100 0315, website: www.case.org.sg).