Through the years, several types of interior design fraud have become well-established in Singapore. Unfortunately, many people still fall victim to such schemes. There have been families cheated out of large sums by fraudsters. These sums can exceed 40,000 dollars, which is why the choice of the right professionals should never be taken lightly.
If you’re about to enter a new home or you want to renovate your HDB apartment, you’ll need to dedicate some time to identifying the right interior design company in Singapore. Careful research, getting references and asking the right questions will be essential.
In addition, you will need to gain some awareness about the popular interior design fraud schemes. This way, you will notice the red flags and avoid some of the most common scams in Singapore.
Be Careful about Massive Upfront Deposits
Are you being asked to pay a large sum in advance, before the work has even started? Be careful about companies that adopt such an approach! Very often, scammers will take the deposit that clients provide and they’ll disappear.
A good deposit when it comes to interior design work ranges between 20 and 30 per cent of the total sum. You should be cautious about companies or contractors asking you to pay more than that.
The large deposit is a classic fraud scheme that has been utilised multiple times by Singapore scammers. A family that wanted to have its three-bedroom apartment in Telok Kurau renovated in the spring of 2016 paid 63,000 dollars in advance, news media report. The sum was 90 per cent of the overall cost of renovation. When the interior design company disappeared, large chunks of the work were still to be done.
Things should seem even more questionable when a full payment is demanded in advance. As a client, you have the right to refuse such “offers.”
A Deal That’s Too Good to be True
Another scam that many home owners fall for is easily executed because it provides potential clients with an incredibly attractive offer.
Singapore interior design scammers who want an easy victim will create quote that’s much lower than what reputable interior design companies will charge. In their attempt to save some money, homeowners will frequently fall in such traps.
In 2015, a man hired a so-called interior design company to renovate his home. The quote featured a total price of 17,000 dollars for getting the job done. Needless to say, the sum is much lower than what professionals in the field charge.
The man was asked to pay 10,000 dollars in advance – a second warning sign that he ignored.
After the deposit was paid, the scam company started delaying the work and coming up with an array of excuses for its inability to meet the agreed-upon deadlines. Eventually, the delay became so serious that the client asked for a refund. By the time, it was already impossible to get a hold of the so-called interior designers. The scammers had vanished.
An offer that appears too good to be true will either come with hidden charges or it will prove to be scam. To get a better idea about the market for residential interior design, ask for several residential interior design quotes. Based on these offers, you will get a better idea about what Singapore interior design companies charge. Whenever someone is offering a much less expensive renovation project, you should be cautious and sceptical.
Companies that Have No Registration or Licensing
To be on the safe side, always look for interior design professionals that are HDB-licensed. The Singapore Housing and Development Board has strict criteria for the licensing of interior designers and home renovation contractors.
The license of a certain company can easily be checked via the HDB official website. Don’t hesitate to inquire about licensing, certification and the background of the professionals that the respective company employs.
Going for HDB-licensed designers will produce additional benefits on top of protecting you from scams. These professionals understand the HDB norms and regulations as far as property renovations are concerned. Thus, you can rest assured that designers will adhere to the strictest standards in the field, giving you the best possible outcome of the renovation.
Physical Location and Ongoing Work Check
As a potential client, you have the right to inspect other work a specific interior design company is doing.
Before signing an agreement and making a payment, you will need to visit the company’s office or registration address at least once. This way, you will avoid some of the scams that are readily available at renovation fairs. Often, fraudsters will offer potential clients special packages at such events. Because of the attractive offers, homeowners will forget about doing additional investigative work before paying the deposit.
A company that has an office and customer service reps is definitely a good option. You will get peace of mind by knowing that you can contact the people working on your apartment effortlessly.
As a potential client, you also have the right to inquire about the current work an interior design company is doing.
Beautiful catalogues that feature 3D rendering can be created by everyone. These aren’t indicative of a proven track record of project completion.
Evidence of ongoing design work and a number of satisfied customers can help you rest assured that you’re dealing with reputable professionals. Scammers often lack an office and they can’t provide potential clients with proof that they’ve been doing the job for a certain period of time.
The fate of your home is dependent on the selection of the right interior design team. Don’t underestimate the risk of getting scammed – there are various fraud schemes out there. Take your time and do your research.
HDB-licensed and certified interior design companies like Home Guide are the safest choice and the best idea when it comes to building the perfect home. Our team has decades of experience and we adhere to the best industry practices, whether we’re doing residential or commercial work. Please do not hesitate to contact us today to find out more about Home Guide or visit our Facebook page and read about the experiences of our clients.