Consumer Advisory – Wowmall: Consumers cautioned about misleading advertisements online
Between May to June 2018, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) received seven complaints* from consumers against Wowmall, an online business (operating overseas), regarding the purchase of a watch that was drastically different from what was advertised online. Separately, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) received four feedback on the same matter.
The business had advertised the sale of a “Luminor 1950 Series PAM00441 Men’s Automatic Mechanical Watch”. However, consumers reported that the watch delivered was of a different brand and was a quartz watch. Furthermore, some consumers provided feedback that the watch was defective.
In Singapore, ASAS regulates the advertising industry through the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice, which states that all advertisements should be legal, decent, honest and truthful. It is also an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act to make false or misleading claims in relation to a consumer transaction.
However, consumers should note the challenges in obtaining recourse against an entity operating outside of Singapore. For instance, they are unable to lodge such a claim at the Small Claims Tribunal.
In this case, affected consumers may consider contacting their logistics service provider for assistance in their refund request. They should provide relevant information such as the parcel’s tracking number, delivery date and address to the service provider. Consumers who are unable to resolve their dispute on their own can contact CASE at www.case.org.sg or 6100 0315 for further assistance.
Alternatively, consumers who had paid for the watch by credit card can approach their card issuing bank to lodge a chargeback if the watch received was not as described or defective. The request must be filed within 120 days from the date of transaction. Please refer to our Chargeback Guide for more information.
Meanwhile, consumers are advised to do their homework when viewing advertisements and buying goods or services from unknown online vendors. They can look up past reviews given by other consumers on independent websites or forums to verify the reliability of the online vendor in terms of product quality and service standards. Consumers should also ascertain the validity of the vendor’s contact information.
We encourage consumers who come across questionable advertisements or advertising practices to submit their feedback to ASAS at email@example.com or 6461 1888.