Dec 29 2010
I recently caught an episode of Crimewatch which dramatised a case of cheating by a man who posed as an off-duty Customs officer. He convinced his victims that government officers could sell confiscated items at very low prices, and that the money would be donated to charity.
Believing he was a government officer, many obliged and handed their cash over to him. He then asked his victims to wait while he returned to his office to fetch their merchandise. They waited; he never came back. Eventually, this man was caught and sentenced to five years’ jail on 12 counts of cheating.
I bought a True Spa package, persuaded by the True Spa sales representative that the chief executive officer, being the son of an ex-Chief Justice, was an honourable businessman and would fulfil the service contract accordingly. Convinced, I signed up for a package and paid my share.
Then my nightmare began. Reservations were not easy to make. Many customers I have since spoken to could only get their names on the waiting list, more often than not. Many waited in vain.
Suddenly, we customers were transferred to another operator, Subtle Senses, without our consent. We are now stranded like the victims in the Crimewatch cheating case – having paid our hard-earned money and waited in vain, despite having legal, binding contracts signed.
Even though the Order of Tribunal has been issued for True Spa to reimburse me, nothing has come my way, and that deadline is long past. The sense of helplessness on the part of us victims is further heightened when we realise there are almost no concrete consequences – such as frozen accounts or suspension of operations for True Spa – if it were to choose to ignore these court orders altogether.
There have also been no updates from the relevant authorities, despite petitions having been sent and police reports made.
Unlike the Crimewatch case, where the police stepped in to uphold justice for the cheated victims although they entered into no legal contracts, we are unable to seek justice against True Spa. The legal documents we hold seem as good as useless. Enforcement of the court order has to be taken up by claimants, at the cost of even more of our time and money.
Why should the onus be on consumers to curb unethical business behaviour?
I’m sure the more than 10,000 True Spa victims would be hard-pressed to see the difference between the cases: Goods promised and paid for but never delivered. We can only hope that justice might similarly be meted out, so that our nightmare may end.
Cassandra Poon believes that she has been victimized by True Spa and she seeks to end this nightmare of hers.