Flat owner faced delays and excuses after he paid $10,000

In November 2015, Mr Wesley Mathews, 29, engaged an interior design firm to renovate his matrimonial home, a three-room flat.

He found one through Facebook and paid $10,000 as deposit for $17,000 worth of renovations. Then came the excuses for a series of delays.

"They said the home was too old and they could not attain a hacking permit, that they fired their designer, that the carpenter was causing problems," he said.

This went on for four weeks until the interior designer said the firm will drop the project and issue a refund. But the designer later came back to say his boss opposed this.

"We went back and forth about the refund for a few weeks, then I went to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case)," he said.

He posted a negative review on the contractor's Facebook page and the contractor refunded $8,000 in January last year to get him to remove the one-star review. The firm closed down shortly after.

Last Thursday, Mr Mathews appeared in a Facebook video on a page called Free Interior Design Singapore Ideas sharing his cautionary tale. The video has since gone viral with 515,000 views as of yesterday evening.

Given his experience, Mr Mathews said home owners should be wary of deals that are too cheap, and to not put too much down as a deposit.

Another interior design firm he signed up with charged him $30,000 for the same renovation.

"These rogue contractors should also be blacklisted and put behind bars so they can't just start another company," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2017, with the headline 'Flat owner faced delays and excuses after he paid $10,000'. Print Edition | Subscribe