We thank Mr Kong Peng Sun for his feedback (Unfair renovation contracts hurt home owners; May 11).
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) frowns on the practice of renovation contractors asking consumers to pay a substantial advance deposit before the work begins.
From 2014 to 2016, Case received at least 713 complaints in which renovation works were delayed or stopped halfway.
Most of the consumers who were affected by such delays were those who had paid at least 80 per cent of the contractual value. This is clearly unacceptable.
Consumers are advised to ask renovation contractors to commit in writing to the payment schedule as well as the key project milestones and deliverables, with completion dates clearly documented, and pay accordingly.
Consumers should also not pay a large deposit upfront.
In this way, they can limit their losses should the contractor delay or stop work. It will also be helpful should there be a subsequent dispute.
We also encourage consumers to use our model agreement on home renovation, which can be downloaded from our website (https://www.case.org.sg/pdf/model_renovation.pdf).
It provides fair guidelines for consumers to negotiate terms with contractors.
Samples of a payment schedule with key project milestones and deliverables can also be found in the model agreement.
When choosing a renovation contractor, consumers should consider a contractor under the CaseTrust accreditation scheme for better protection and faster resolution of issues, if any.
Lim Biow Chuan
Consumers Association of Singapore (Case)