Case issues second warning against alkaline water system vendor over misleading claims

Case received 86 consumer complaints against Triple Lifestyle Marketing between Jan 1, 2020 and Jan 31 last year. PHOTO: TRIPLE LIFESTYLE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has issued an alert against Triple Lifestyle Marketing, a vendor selling alkaline water systems, after several consumers lodged complaints saying it made misleading claims and was unresponsive.

This is the second warning issued to Triple Lifestyle Marketing in about a year.

Case received 139 consumer complaints against the company between Nov 1 last year and March 31 this year, the consumer watchdog said in a news release on Wednesday (April 6).

The first warning was issued on Feb 23 last year.

Case received 86 consumer complaints against the company between Jan 1, 2020, and Jan 31 last year.

Triple Lifestyle Marketing sells what it calls "long-term maintenance service packages" for alkaline water systems door to door.

Customers pay about $3,000 for a package in most cases, with the option to pay upfront or in monthly instalments.

In return for signing the packages, consumers are supposed to receive a water dispenser, a water filtration system and periodic water filter replacements free of charge, Case said. As part of the service agreement, the company is also required to repair the water dispenser or water filtration system if there are defects.

Accountant Penny Ng, 35, thought she got a good deal in 2020 when she bought an alkaline water dispenser for $2,700, which came with a warranty of free filter replacement for five years. 

But when she contacted the salesperson in December last year to replace the filter, she was met with radio silence for months. She was shocked to find that she could not get hold of anyone from the company to help her. 

Ms Ng was not the only one to run into problems with the company.

Most of the complaints Case has received since January 2020 involved instances where consumers alleged that Triple Lifestyle Marketing was either unresponsive to repeated attempts to contact it to arrange for water filter replacement or repair of faulty products, or its staff did not show up for appointments.

According to some consumers, the company did not provide replacements after it had collected the faulty products.

"This was despite representations by Triple Lifestyle Marketing during the sales process that they would repair the water dispensers or water filtration systems if defects occurred," Case said.

Customers also reported that the company made other misleading claims during the sales process.

"For instance, consumers alleged that Triple Lifestyle Marketing told them that they can pay for the packages in instalments, but subsequently charged them the full amount upfront," Case said.

It added that a few customers also complained of receiving used water dispensers or water filter replacements.

Case has referred the company to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) for investigation under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.

Under the Act, it is an unfair practice for a supplier to do or say anything, or omit to do so, to deceive or mislead a consumer.

CCCS can obtain injunctions to restrain errant businesses from engaging in unfair practices.

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