The drop in complaints was attributed to the easing of supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19, as manpower shortages and shipment delays of renovation materials prevented contractors to complete projects on time.
Mr Yong said CASE has been engaging the renovation contractor industry in the past year to “better understand the challenges they face and to encourage companies to adopt the CaseTrust Standard Renovation Contract which specifies clear work and payment schedules”.
“Web portals such as Qanvast and HomeMatch have also started to differentiate between CaseTrust accredited contractors and non-accredited ones which helped consumers make an informed choice.”
There was a “marginal” increase in complaints against the motorcar industry – 618 in the first half of last year to 629 in the first half of 2023. Almost 50 per cent of complaints made were about vehicle rental transactions, said CASE.
It added that consumers generally disputed repair costs and penalty fees charged by vehicle rental businesses.
Consumers also reported S$302,205 in prepayment losses in the first half of this year due to sudden business closures – a 4 per cent rise compared to the same period last year.
“The increase is due to higher reported prepayment losses in the beauty, renovation contractor, education and gym industries compared with the same period last year,” said CASE, adding that the beauty industry accounted for the highest amount of losses at S$87,149.
Mr Yong said: “Given the significant proportion of losses against the beauty, renovation contractor, education and gym industries, CASE calls on the government to mandate targeted prepayment protection in these industries to better safeguard consumers’ hard-earned monies.”
“We encourage consumers who intend to purchase beauty and renovation contractor services to patronise CaseTrust accredited companies as they are required to protect consumers’ prepayments and deposits.”
RISE IN AIRLINES INDUSTRY COMPLAINTS
While there was a general decline in complaints in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2022, CASE noted that there was a 39 per cent increase against the airlines industry from 181 complaints to 251 complaints.
The increase in complaints aligned with “trends in several other countries where consumer complaints against airlines were also on the rise”, said the association.
CASE added common complaints included issues with booking systems, double bookings and damaged or missing baggage.
“The increase in complaints against the airlines industry corresponds to the increase in consumer travel demand,” said Mr Yong.
“CASE is working closely with the industry stakeholders to ensure that disputes are addressed fairly and expediently. We have also advised airlines to highlight certain terms and conditions to consumers so that they can make an informed choice when purchasing their air tickets.”