SINGAPORE - Singapore's consumer watchdog on Tuesday (Jan 8) issued a fresh warning against Danish online retailer LuxStyle, after consumers received letters from a debt collection firm last month asking them to pay for purchases they did not make.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said in a Facebook post it was aware that Collectius CMS had asked consumers to pay for debt allegedly owed to a company named Digital Sourcing, which was previously known as LuxStyle.
It reminded consumers that they are not obliged to make any payment to a business for goods or services that they did not explicitly agree to buy.
In May 2017, Case issued a consumer alert against LuxStyle following 19 complaints that the beauty products firm had sent out payment notices to consumers even though they did not agree to the purchases.
The Straits Times reported then that consumers had come across LuxStyle's advertisements on social media and wanted to take a look at the prices of the products on its website.
However, they were made to provide their personal information, including name, home address and e-mail address, before they could do so.
Although they did not proceed with their purchases after viewing them, they were still charged an amount.
For instance, IT professional Gaurav Kumar received several notices, via e-mail and post, warning him to pay $50 for a pack of liquid facial masks, which LuxStyle insisted he had bought in January 2017.
Mr Kumar had come across the LuxStyle-sponsored post on Facebook.
The firm also billed him a $10 late penalty fee for each month that he did not pay up.
Mr Kumar set up a Facebook page, LuxStyle International Scam Singapore, to warn others, and lodged a police report in April 2017.
The police confirmed that a report was made.
A spokesman for Digital Sourcing said in an e-mail statement to The Straits Times on Wednesday said that there was nothing wrong with its order process.
Mr Jonas Hedegaard added that a purchase is made only when a customer clicks on the “order now” button. This step comes after the customer fills in a delivery address and an e-mail address, and views the prices of the products.
A document detailing the order flow process, which was shared with ST by Mr Hedegaard, states that even if the customer closes the Web browser and does not select a payment method after looking at the prices, an invoice will be sent to the delivery address that the customer gave in the first step.
“It is technically impossible to order just by clicking on an ad or banner and filling in contact details,” Mr Hedegaard said.
He added that under a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, all customers are able to return their product and get a full refund up to 90 days after the purchase, even if they have used the product.
Case said that since May 2017, it has received another 18 complaints against the business.
Then on Dec 7 last year, the watchdog was alerted to feedback that consumers had received letters from Collectius. It contacted Collectius, which has since ceased all related debt recovery action.
Consumers who have made payment to Collectius on this matter should be refunded in full, Case added.
Those with concerns may contact Case for assistance on 6100-0315 or visit www.case.org.sg
Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.