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The Consumer Council today named two shops for late or non delivery and shoddy workmanship.

  • 1999.07.16

The Consumer Council today named two shops for late or non delivery and shoddy workmanship.

Together the shops, a wedding card and souvenir company and a furniture company, collected a total of $90,858 for goods or services that were either never delivered as promised or arrived too late, or of an unsatisfactory workmanship.

They were identified as :

  1. Top Class Co.
    23 Lee Tung Street
    Hong Kong
  2. Prince Interiors
    G/F., 461-463
    Chatham Road North


Top Class Co. was the subject of 9 complaints involving $35,528 since September 1998. It prints wedding invitation cards and produces wedding souvenirs such as ceramic dolls and heart-shaped crystals.

According to the complainants, the shop failed to keep delivery as promised and then refused to refund customers. This caused great anxiety to the wedding couples as understandably they had to send out the invitation cards well in advance of the wedding. Some complainants subsequently took their orders to other companies due to the imminent approach of the wedding date.

Some of the complainants alleged that despite repeated reminders, Top Class Co. delayed in delivering the goods ordered.

In one case, for example, the complainant scheduled for a wedding ceremony on June 19 outside Hong Kong. The company allegedly agreed to deliver the wedding souvenirs sometime in April, later postponed to May 31. Yet 5 days before the wedding date (June 14), the company still made no delivery. Upon intervention of the Council, the company promised to send a refund cheque which has not been received to-date.

In another case, it was alleged that the company agreed to deliver the wedding souvenirs on September 26, one day before the wedding date. But the company raised the price on September 24. This was refused by the complainant who then sought assistance from the Council. The company made a promise to pay compensation which was not fulfilled.

Upon advice of the Council, the complainant pursued the case through the Small Claims Tribunal which ruled in his favour and ordered the award of refund with costs amounting to $3,220. Nevertheless the company refused to pay out and the complainant had to engage a Bailiff to enforce the judgement.

Some complainants were also dissatisfied with the quality of the goods and services – spelling errors of names on souvenirs some of which were also not up to specifications. There was, however, no time left for the shop to rectify the defects neither did the complainants have confidence in the shop any more. The complainants sought refund and again the shop used delaying tactics to avoid payment.

In the case of Prince Interiors which sells furniture items such as beds, wardrobes, tables and chairs, the Council received 8 complaints involving $55,330 since March this year.

The shop was alleged to use delaying tactics failing consistently to make good its promise for delivery of furniture ordered despite repeated reminders from complainants. Some delays, according to the complainants, were up to six months.

Further, the goods delivered were either of an unsatisfactory workmanship or of a size different from that specified in the sales order. When pressed for rectification or refund, the company again used delaying tactics to hold off such requests.

Both shops have declined the Council's offer for mediation to settle these complaints and did not show up for meeting with the Council to discuss the complaints.

The Council is exposing these two shops in an effort to deter other shops from engaging in similar malpractices and to alert the public to such malpractices.

While there are no foolproofed ways to safeguard against such malpractices, consumers will do well to heed the following advice and precaution :

  • Make enquiries beforehand with your friends and relatives to establish the reliability of the shop.
  • Negotiate and pay only the minimum deposit possible in placing the order. Be wary if the shop offers a very competitive price but demands a large deposit or the full sum of the purchase.
  • Ask the shop to write down, in the receipt, all the details, specifications and special requirements, including the date of delivery, of all items.
  • Do not accept partial delivery, insist on delivery of all the items you ordered. Every time the shop delays delivery, the new date of delivery agreeable to you should be specified in the receipt.
  • Such detailed information will strongly back your case in the event you need to bring action against the shop and complain to the Consumer Council. Where necessary, consumers should be prepared to pursue their case through the Small Claims Tribunal for a judicial ruling and remedy.

Consumer complaints on furniture have reached 356 cases in the first half (January-June) of this year. Of these, 175 concerned made-to-order furniture while 181 were of ready-made items. The figures indicate a rising trend in furniture complaints this year compared with 549 cases for the whole of last year.