Couple left in a fix after paying $63,000 for renovation works

Mr Matthew Allan (left) showing examples of the unfinished work at his new Telok Kurau apartment, at a debt collection agency on July 10, 2016.
Mr Matthew Allan (left) showing examples of the unfinished work at his new Telok Kurau apartment, at a debt collection agency on July 10, 2016. ST PHOTO: YUEN SIN
Mr Matthew Allan and his wife said that work on their Telok Kurau flat has not been finished, even though they paid $63,000 in advance to renovation firm Sense Ideas Design.
Mr Matthew Allan and his wife said that work on their Telok Kurau flat has not been finished, even though they paid $63,000 in advance to renovation firm Sense Ideas Design.PHOTO: KX-UNIT
Mr Matthew Allan and his wife said that work on their Telok Kurau flat has not been finished, even though they paid $63,000 in advance to renovation firm Sense Ideas Design.
Mr Matthew Allan and his wife said that work on their Telok Kurau flat has not been finished, even though they paid $63,000 in advance to renovation firm Sense Ideas Design.PHOTO: KX-UNIT

SINGAPORE - Podiatrist Matthew Allan and his wife were looking forward to moving into their new three-bedroom apartment in Telok Kurau in mid-March after starting a family.

But renovation firm Sense Ideas Design, which they had paid $63,000 in advance to, did not finish work that it had promised to do, including installing kitchen and bathroom fittings. The firm also eventually became uncontactable when the couple asked for their money - 90 per cent of the total renovation costs - back.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday (July 10), Mr Allan, an Australian who is a permanent resident here, said he and his Singaporean wife had five quotations from renovation companies before engaging the firm last December.

"They could communicate with us and could understand what we wanted from the apartment that we had bought. They were doing work, such as electrical cabling and some hacking, so we thought that the renovation was underway," said Mr Allan, 32.

Around early March, they realised that works had stalled and contacted the firm, which merely said that works had been delayed.

"The company had installed a loft in one of the rooms as well as retractable awnings on the patio. But the carpentry and electrical work were half-completed and their apartment was in a mess, filled with trash and other equipment.

In May, Sense Ideas Design told Mr Allan that it was unable to continue the project as it was facing financial difficulties. The couple lodged a police report and also made a complaint with the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), even turning to debt collectors to try to get their money back.

Mr Allan and his wife have now engaged another firm to complete the works that they had initially planned. "We wanted to build a place where our baby girl could thrive and develop, but we can't really afford to spend that amount of money now on the new place."

Sense Ideas did not respond to press queries.

A check showed that the firm is not on a list of renovation firms accredited by Case under the CaseTrust scheme.