- Internet & the Web
StreetDeal Scams More Than 200 People
Cheated by Streetdeal.sg
I initially posted my experience on The Real Singapore (they folded so I can't link to it) to warn others. In a nutshell, I was scammed by Streetdeal.sg after I bought a deal from them. I found a $88 charge on my credit card with no idea when or how I purchased their "premium membership". The replies to the emails I sent were not just vague, they were intentionally misleading (just like the check out process). After corresponding with them, I still had no idea how it happened, other than I was automatically signed up for the premium membership of $88 when I purchased a deal.
The screenshots on The Real Singapore link don't seem to be working so I am reposting them below. Judge for yourself.
After posting, lo and behold, I found out some other people got scammed as well. My friend read it and told me about the many other websites and news article about their unethical behaviour since April 2013. It is clear that streetdeal.sg knew about this problem but continued in an effort to deliberately mislead and scam people! It seems that the scamming is a constant and persistent problem. More than 200 people have been cheated so far.
When you initially visit http://www.streetdeal.sg, it doesn’t mention the monthly charge ANYWHERE, I am sure many like me didn't know it was subscription based. It is only when you click on the tiny tab named "StreetDeal Premium" way down on the bottom left of the website then it explains what the premium membership all about. The tab was so small and so hidden, I didn't even know it was there until now, how could I have signed up purposefully? Something was up!
Email 1 to Streetdeal.sg
Email 2 to Streetdeal.sg
Email 3, 4 & 5 to Streetdeal.sg
According to a Yahoo Newsroom 16th April 2013 article by Nurul Azliah Aripin - "Over 200 customers of StreetDeal Singapore, a website selling deal vouchers for consumer goods and services, have complained on the company’s Facebook Page that they had unwittingly been charged on their credit cards with premium membership of at least $99 annually."
It also mentions a reply by a StreetDeal Singapore spokesperson, “Premium charges are clearly stated twice on the payment page, first in the offer itself, second in the legal T&Cs right before customer confirm their purchase,” he added in response to the premium price option on the payment page, that is automatically selected and customers need to manually choose the non-premium price in order to not get roped into their membership."
See full article here.
Wait! Did they say "premium charges are clearly stated twice...... first in the offer itself"? When I checked the URL for the deal I purchased http://www.streetdeal.sg/deals/view/19373/0/Professional_Aircon_Servicing.html and then my voucher (see below). Nowhere does it say "Premium" or "Premium membership" required. It seemed like a regular transaction just like any other.
Another person who was scammed had screenshots of the checkout process, the total amount displayed doesn't include the insurance (in her case) so she was clueless until she received her bill. My experience was similar. See her screenshots below, where she compares Groupon's clear checkout process that states the total. She also advise customers to be aware of the following before checkout.
1) the tiny ‘insurance’ box to uncheck 2) another tiny ‘premium member’ box to uncheck
Her full story is here.
This is Streetdeal.sg's Facebook Page today, no comments are allowed. Not a surprise since they had that function but was slammed left right and center on their page. Not to mention, swarmed with phone calls from unhappy customers. This shows how intentionally unethtical their dealings are.
In fact they have gotten from bad to worse, it was $99 for an ANNUAL premium membership and now its $88 for a QUARTERLY premium membership (in my case and some others).
There is even a Facebook Page called the Streetdeal Singapore Consumers Interest Group with 347 likes and a whole lot of pissed off people, all complaining about being cheated. It appears that StreetDeal.sg gets really creative with their scams, it range from a small $9 charge per month to annual charges of $99 or quarterly charges of $88 to refusing a refund for vouchers that aren't used, sudden charge to existing customer's account, charging "insurance" for purchases.
There is another Facebook Page called We Demand an Explanation from Streetdeal Malaysia with 186 likes so this issue isn't just in Singapore but Malaysia as well. I bet we will soon see it happen in Thailand and Indonesia as well.
A pissed off customer - equine, wrote on www.thesmartlocal.com about her attempt to bring them to Small Claims Court.
"What happened was Streetdeal had an exclusive arbitration clause in their terms & conditions, stating that all disputes are to be settled at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), on an individual basis, no class action. Because of this exclusive arbitration clause, the entire case was out of the jurisdiction of the Subordinate Courts, of which the SCT is a part of. So, what is wrong with settling disputes at SIAC? In general, SIAC is a place for ORGANISATIONS to settle disputes, not individuals. Arbitration fees start from $8,000+. So, which customer in their right mind would bring Streetdeal to SIAC to claim a few hundred dollars of refund?"
See full story here.
No wonder they are so daring, they know that no one will go to court because it just doesn't make sense. So their method is to scam a little here, a little there, not enough from 1 person to warrant going to court. But it all adds up, doesn't it? They also have branches in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia! The scale of their scams and potential ill gains are worrying.
I have since cancelled my account but still feel insecure that my credit card information is with them, I don't know when they are going to billed me again for purchases I did not make. Buyer beware and save yourself $88, look out for unauthorised purchases on your credit card as well.If you have already been cheated by them, file a fraud claim with your bank to get your money back! There have been some successful cases so far.
It really angers me that such an unethical company still functions as we speak and more people plus merchants would get scammed. Share with your family and friends now, they could be 1 of the 32, 676* people on their Facebook page. Don't fall prey to underhanded vendors looking to make a quick buck.
*As of 10th June, after my The Real Singapore article was published, it has fallen to 32, 000.
More complains of their scams below.
© 2014 Min