E-commerce retailer Wowmall flagged by Case for misleading advertisements

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said it received seven complaints against Wowmall over purchases of a timepiece between May and June 2018.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said it received seven complaints against Wowmall over purchases of a timepiece between May and June 2018.PHOTO: CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - An overseas e-commerce retailer has been flagged by the consumer watchdog for misleading advertisements, after customers here received watches that were "drastically different" from what had been promised.

Between May and June this year (2018), the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) received seven complaints against Wowmall over purchases of a timepiece described on its website as a "Luminor 1950 Series PAM00441 Men's Automatic Mechanical Watch", Case said on Monday (Aug 6).

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas) has also received four similar cases of feedback.

Consumers reported that the watch they received was a quartz watch of a brand different from what was advertised. Some also said that the watch was defective.

A check by The Straits Times on Monday found that the watch was still on sale on Wowmall's website and was listed at $68, down from a usual price of $298.

Case said that it can be challenging for consumers to obtain recourse, as they cannot lodge claims against non-Singapore registered businesses at the Small Claims Tribunal.

Those affected can contact their logistics service provider for assistance with their refund request, or lodge a chargeback request with their credit card-issuing bank within 120 days if the watch is defective or not as described.

Consumers who are unable to resolve their disputes with Wowmall can contact Case for assistance, it said.

The consumer watchdog advised shoppers to do their checks before buying goods or services from unknown online vendors. They can look up reviews on independent websites or forums on the vendors to verify their reliability, and check that a vendor's contact information is valid.

Questionable advertisements or advertising practices can be reported to Asas at asas@case.org.sg or 6461 1888, Case said.