Singapore November 16th, 2007

I do not understand why people have to resort to such underhand means sometimes. Is this what working in the real world is all about? Withholding information from their customers, cheating on their clients, squeezing the last drop from people who trusted them? It’s people like them that creates a bad name for everyone in the same line.

I think people who have fallen into such traps should voice out about it. No doubt they may have been victims, but there should be a way to prevent more people from falling into such traps!

I remembered once when I went for an MLM talk. There were people who were obviously not ready to commit money into the products, but the sales people just coerced them into doing so by volunteering to fork out their own money first and getting the buyers to pay them back later.

Thank goodness there’s supposedly the 7-day period that you can have to reverse your decision. I wonder if this is made known to the buyers.

Timesharing! I don’t want to talk about it. Just thinking about it makes my blood boil. However, I guess it’s 2-fold. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

A weekly look at what to watch out for in the world of consumers. Figures, case study and tips come from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).

The world of real estate

64 No. of cases filed (January to December 2006)

  • Top complaints

    1. Misrepresentation

    2. Failure to honour contract


    A consumer signed an agreement to buy a flat for $203,000 and paid a deposit of $3,000. The estate agent of the seller of the unit misled her into signing a commission agreement and did not inform her of the option-to-purchase (OTP) form. When the consumer decided not to go ahead with the purchase, the agent claimed she would suffer a big loss.

    The consumer was not told of the eight weeks of moving in (clause 12 of agreement). The agent also failed to give her the contract and relevant documents for the sale of her unit. The consumer was unwilling to pay any commission on the flat she bought since she was misled into signing the commission agreement. She was willing to pay only a commission of 0.5 per cent of the contract value for the sale of her own flat.


    After Case negotiated on her behalf, she paid only 1 per cent commission of the contract value for the sale of her own flat and 0.5 per cent commission of the contract value for the flat bought.


    1. The OTP is a legal contract and a prescribed form under the Housing and Development Act.

    2. Know your rights. Buyers of resale HDB flats have 14 days to think over their intended purchase and decide if they want to exercise the option. To enjoy this feature, buyers should sign only the option portion of the OTP. The option fee will be kept by the seller if the OTP is not exercised within the 14 days.

    3. Consumers should be given the full 10-page OTP and also read the ‘Important Notes’ attached to it.

    4. Learn to say ‘no’ and do not allow yourself to be subject to duress. Do not be pressured.

    5. Consumers with unresolved disputes can call Case on 6463-1811 for advice and assistance or file a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal.

    6. Be mindful about details such as the agent’s credentials, agreed commission amount, conditions concerning the property to be sold or bought, and parties involved in the transaction.

    7. According to the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, an agent who commits an unfair practice (like applying undue pressure on the consumer) is in breach of the Act and consumers have the right to seek redress.

    8. If you are a buyer who has responded to an advertisement from a housing agent who is selling a property on behalf of his client, Case’s stance is that you do not have to engage him as your agent if you agree to buy the flat. 

  • Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 16th November 2007

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