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Robinsons' customers in limbo over unfulfilled orders as suppliers await payments

Robinsons' customers in limbo over unfulfilled orders as suppliers await payments

Robinsons announced on Oct 30, 2020 that it is closing its last two department stores in Singapore, including the outlet at The Heeren pictured here.

SINGAPORE: Some Robinsons customers are reporting delays or cancellations on the delivery of mattresses they purchased, as bedding suppliers await their payments amid the retailer's liquidation process.

Acknowledging the "concern and anxiety" of affected customers, Robinsons on Sunday (Nov 1) said in a Facebook post, the matter has been marked a "priority issue to be addressed with the mattress suppliers".

"To this end, we are scheduling meetings with mattress suppliers on an urgent basis to try and resolve the current situation which is negatively impacting our customers.

"Unfortunately, until we are able to discuss and resolve the issues with the mattress suppliers we are unable to provide any further update or action any deliveries, refunds or exchanges," said the company.

The closure of Robinsons' last two department stores at The Heeren and Raffles City Shopping Centre was announced on Friday.

After more than 160 years operating in Singapore, the decision to fold came on the back of changing retail buying patterns and weak demand made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, said the company.

Robinsons, which is owned by the Al-Futtaim Group, employs 175 staff in Singapore. 

READ: Goodbye Robinsons: A look at the department store's 160 years in Singapore

Robinsons added on Sunday: "We will be notifying all customers who have deposits (including full payment) once we have a resolution to the situation and we seek your patience while we attend to this in the coming days."

Meanwhile, it advised customers to send a copy of their receipt to the liquidators' email, robinsons [at] kordamentha.com.

Mr Cameron Duncan and Mr David Kim from KordaMentha have been appointed to take control of the company’s assets and assess options to realise value in order to maximise returns to creditors, Robinsons said on Friday.

MATTRESS FULLY PAID ON BLACK FRIDAY 2019

One affected buyer told CNA that she paid for her mattress order in full on Black Friday last year, to reap the maximum amount of discount offered.

Since 2018, Robinsons has offered discounts of up to 80 per cent for keen shoppers at its Black Friday Sale, a 24-hour shopping event held the day after Thanksgiving in November.

Ms Adabelle, who declined to give her last name, said her mattress delivery had been postponed as renovation works at her home were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Including rebates from payment using her OCBC Robinsons credit card, she forked out around S$6,000, from the original price of more than S$8,000.

READ: Robinsons to close Jem outlet by the end of August

On Friday morning, Ms Adabelle contacted bedding vendor Simmons to confirm that her delivery would proceed as scheduled on Nov 20.

"The Simmons representative confirmed it will be unaffected by Robinsons' closure," she said.

"However subsequently it was brought to my attention that Simmons released a statement on their Facebook that there will be no updates on deliveries till further discussion with Robinsons' liquidators."

Robinsons announced on Oct 30, 2020 that it is closing its last two department stores in Singapore, including the outlet at The Heeren pictured here.

In a Facebook announcement posted on Saturday, Simmons said it will be meeting liquidators from KordaMentha "in the coming week to resolve the issues of deposits and pre-payments".

"Thereafter, our retail consultants will contact you in due course. 

Until we resolve the issue with Robinsons, we do not have any updates pertaining to deliveries, exchanges and refunds," it added.

VENDOR ADVISES CUSTOMERS TO CANCEL BANK PAYMENT

Mr Reg Wong, who has also fully paid for his order on Nov 29 last year, told CNA that mattress vendor Sealy has stopped all delivery since Friday.

Similar to Ms Adabelle's case, his bed delivery had been postponed as his Build-To-Order flat's completion was delayed from June to the first quarter of next year.

Sealy in a Facebook post on Saturday had advised affected customers "to contact your bank to cancel payment immediately".

It added: "You can then redirect your purchase and payment to us and we will deliver your products in full."

However, several customers commented that OCBC Bank does not allow cancellation of payment done.

CNA has contacted OCBC for its comment.

READ: Retailers need to move away from traditional business model to survive, says Chan Chun Sing

In an SMS seen by CNA, the bank had informed its customers that the OCBC Robinsons credit card will be cancelled on Apr 15, 2021.

From Nov 6, users will also no longer earn any rebate for shopping at Robinsons and Marks & Spencer, it added.

The Al-Futtaim Group also runs other retail brands such as Marks & Spencer and Zara in Singapore.

"Until your card is cancelled, you can still earn Robinsons$ for purchases made with this card and be able to redeem these Robinsons$."

This story came from a reader tip-off. If you would like to send in information, photos or videos about something newsworthy, submit your news tips on CNA Eyewitness.

Source: CNA/jt(ta)

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