Immigration consultancy to stop misleading claims about success rate of Singapore PR applications: CASE
SINGAPORE: An immigration consultancy that specialises in Singapore permanent resident applications has signed an agreement with the consumer watchdog to stop misleading people on the success rate of its services.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) said on Wednesday (Nov 17) that under the voluntary compliance agreement signed on Sep 7, the firm Paul Immigrations has also committed to stop putting undue pressure on consumers to buy its services, as well as to offer a five-day cooling off period for those who wish to cancel their contracts.
This came after CASE received 58 complaints against the company between Jan 1, 2020 to Sep 30 this year.
Paul Immigrations specialises in Singapore permanent resident applications. Its services, which were sold to consumers in a package, include advising on the application process, preparing the necessary documents, as well as crafting personalised letters for applicants.
"In general, consumers reported that the company had misled them on the success rate of their PR applications, including giving guarantees that their PR applications would be approved," said CASE.
Consumers also complained the company's consultants applied pressure during the sales, such as repeatedly pressuring them to sign up for packages with offers of discounts and instalment payment, despite them rejecting the offers or requesting for more time to consider.
"Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA), it is an unfair practice for a supplier to make false or misleading claims, and to exert undue pressure or influence on a consumer to enter into a transaction," said CASE.
In response to complaints, CASE said it exercised its powers under the CPFTA and invited Paul Immigrations to enter a voluntary compliance agreement to "stop its unfair practices and compensate affected customers".
Under the terms of the agreement, Paul Immigrations has agreed to not make any claims or guarantees regarding the success rate of its Singapore permanent resident application services.
It has also agreed to remove all misleading claims from its website and marketing materials, as well as not make any claims or references to their knowledge of information and processes related to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
The company agreed to not make any claims or references that its employees are currently or have been previously employed by ICA.
It also agreed to offer a five-day cooling off period for consumers to cancel their contracts and provide a refund within 30 days after a consumer sends a written notice of cancellation to the company.
"CASE is monitoring Paul Immigrations closely and will not hesitate to refer the company to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore for investigation under the CPFTA if the unfair practices continue," said the association.
In response to queries from CNA, Paul Immigrations said that it "recognises and acknowledges that its past practices were less than satisfactory".
It added that it takes customers’ feedback and CASE’s concerns "seriously", and is undergoing a revamp to rectify and improve its customers’ overall satisfaction with the company’s services.