24 Aug 3 Lessons Learned From Renovation Scam
This is a full transcript of how homeowner Wesley has been scammed by interior designers back in November 2015.
He shares his story to educate the public, especially new home owners who have never done renovations before.
In summary, the 3 main lessons learnt are never go for super cheap deal i.e 50% discount as compared to other quotations, don’t give big upfront payment like 50% deposit when nothing has been done yet, and finally document everything down in black and white.
The scammer is still not caught yet so you need to be careful!
Hi, my name is Wesley and I’m doing this interview today to share my experience with interior design renovation scams. Basically to help educate members of the public those of you who might be new in getting a new home and the things you should look out for.
The summary of this interview is that this is a very prolonged case with individuals who have repeatedly scammed home owners under different names or companies and different identities.
For me, all this began in… the date November 16th 2015, this is how it began…. with Space art interior designs. The culprits for the current case leading up to the year 2016, are the same individuals that took this in 2015 as well. Darren Wong and Bernard Tan. So far these are 2 individuals we know who are heavily involved.
Latest update: According to homeowner Debbie Boh, she was scammed by Darren Wong, who is known as “Dennis Wong” from D’Interior Designs Studio Pte Ltd in 2017.
She believes that this is not the first time he is scamming people and he knows the loopholes. Debbie has also filed police report but nothing have been done to the culprit yet. “Dennis Wong” last known details are
Name: Wong Zhongkang (Dennis)
Address: Forestville Condo in woodlands
Super Low Price
So basically all you see here from the invoice what they have quoted is an exceedingly low price…. a very very good deal. Things that are able to capture people’s attention because all of this was first publicised on facebook.
So if you take a look at the final costing ….. this is what they quoted…. the home that is done now, that my family is in, our final cost estimated is about… close to $30k. So as you can see from what they have offered, it is almost 50% off. So this is the first red flag that any homeowner should look out for. Because if you are constantly thinking about “I’m out to get a good deal”… then you are the first person who is going to get scammed.
50% Deposit as Downpayment
The second thing to take note of is, these horrible people….. they demanded 50% deposit and as you can see $17,000 right…. 50% is well approximately $8.5k…. But space art interior designers demanded $10,000 downpayment. This is the 2nd red flag, because if you hire a legit interior designer, they will not ask you for anything close to 50%… at the most 20%. But for my new guy, the guy who did a wonderful job for this home, he only ask for 10%. Everything else was paid to him only upon completion of the home. So that is the first thing you need to look out for.
So the whole idea of it is that they will get your money…. once that is done right, it’s more or less over for you. After that, they will come out with all sorts of reasons just to delay and try to drag out all clients as possible. Because like I already said…. space art interior designs Pte Ltd… 2015… 11 Woodlands Close… this is just a shell address. There’s nobody there, it’s just an empty room. Many people have gone there, tried to find these people, it’s just an empty office.
Change Identity, Change Company Name
2016 from what I know, now they are known as D’Interiors designs studio Pte Ltd. So you can see one year has gone by, different company, different name, different whole set of scammers and the whole thing based upon delaying people. Bernard, the main interior designer, claims that he needed like close to a month to get the hacking permit because this hacking permit is not attainable by his company and only given by certain contractors who have been given a certain license by the government.. nonsense… Third red flag.
The moment you have this kind of things… all these delays coming in right, it’s a clear sign that they are just stalling for time. And then everything else leading up to that other excuses, carpenter cannot come in… all this is just to delay you. So for all homeowners right, you should not be in that third step. The moment you are in that third step, that is pretty much almost nothing you can do already.
But to try and nip it in the bud as close as you can. So we brought this to small claims, and earlier on I was mentioning about how they wanted to buy time. So when they said that they cannot get the hacking permit, carpenter got problem… all these nonsense…. this is the exact same thing as well.
Bernard Tan, the main interior designer came for every single one of the small claims discussions, giving us the illusion that he was fighting for his contract, stating that…. Before I get to that right, basically he delayed us to a point where I told him that I want a refund. So he said that because we have requested for a refund, the contract that we have here becomes null. So basically it doesn’t make any sense because…. in any case during the entire heated conversation right, he was the one that also brought up the idea first that he doesn’t want to handle our project anymore. So all these are part of the scam as well.
So back to the small claims, all the meetings he went for, every discussions, every meditations with the referee all he attended. At the end of the day, the final verdict, the final conclusion completely no show from Bernard Tan. Obviously because the whole time he was just giving us nonsense, just trying to feed us as much BS as possible. So he already ran away, and they awarded us the claims but it was pointless because we needed to acquire bailiff. And for those of you who don’t know what bailiff is, something they get these people to go down to office and take away office equipments and attempt to sell it off to offset the balance of what they owe you….. But since it’s just a shell office, there’s nothing in there and there’s nothing we can do.
Lucky to get back some money
It was only because by the grace of God and really supreme luck… that during the whole part of space art interior designs pte ltd…. a lot of media temporarily descended upon them. So newspaper… many people going to facebook… I posted a facebook review myself which they were so desperate to take down because they were still trying to acquire more people under that particular company name.
So what happen in the end was that the main guy Darren Wong, apparently his mum got harassed so much that he make a call to my wife personally. At that time, we were one of the main people involved in the whole chasing of the money thing. So he was drunk, and he was begging my wife to say that “ok, please don’t do anything anymore, I will return your money….” And like I said, thankfully I manage to get back a portion of my money.
The Scamming Continues
But end of the day, after all this is done, police report not just me, but many other victims of space art pte ltd have all come forward to voice out that these people are in Singapore and this is what they are doing…. People just want to renovate their home to start their life, nothing has been done.
2016 now, I believe from what has been shared with me, space art interior designs is now D’Interiors designs studio Pte Ltd. And the latest victim, as from what I know, is from May 2017. So clearly, this will just keep going on…. So the only thing we can do… of course pray for the best that eventually many people do step up and then finally our government will do something about this to put these people behind bars.
The 3 Red Flags
Darren Wong, Bernard Tan, these 2 individuals… if not they will just keep on doing this. And if our government is not going to do anything to stop this, then i implore you as the future homeowner.. you heard all the red flags:
- Don’t go for the cheap deals
- Anything more than 20% deposit, you run away
- Everything must be documented
In the rush to seal this awesome deal that we spotted on facebook, we transferred them the $10,000 without even getting a receipt. And that was a big problem because…. to many people they felt no receipt.. .so you make sure that you have a receipt. And we were so paranoid that for our next interior designer who turn out to be a great guy, we actually recorded the passing of the money with camera. And that’s what you need to be.
Tens of thousands lost
There are many victims from space art that have lost tens of thousands…. thirty thousands…. So basically many victims of space art interior designs pte ltd…. thirty, forty thousand dollars…. and all of these is gone. These people never bother to return… the only reason why I can say my family was returned a certain portion was because they were just trying to stamp down all the media attention. I just happen to be the first few. All people at the end, they are the ones still have to suffer till today.
And really hoping more people will step forward to just voice out because if you don’t do this, many more people are going to suffer. These people are living a way more luxurious life than all of us. From what I know Bernard Tan recently posted on facebook, happy life, new vietnamese wife, driving a new jaguar, asking a friend to play darts. So clearly nothing is going on. They are moving on with life. So for those of you victims already, try to do something. As much as we can, to turn our attention to these 2 individuals, Darren Wong, Bernard Tan….. Space art interior design pte ltd, D’Interior design studios Pte Ltd….. Let’s do something about it. Thank you.