Couple of years ago, Streeldeal.sg was embroiled in numerous incidents, with many of the complaining customers claimed they had been scammed into paying for the membership due to the way information was presented on the site. A similar website, Olaprice.com has emerged with similar complaints on unfair business practices.
Same Same But Different
The company behind Streetdeal.sg, Asia Deal Group Pte Ltd have now set up a new merchant deal website – called Olaprice.com with the similar style premium membership model. Yet, this website of around 3 months old have seen a number of complaints floating around already. Other Olaprice complaints can also be found at Complaints Board. The folks over at Hardwarezone.com tend to be more savvy shoppers, and if they could miss out the fine print on the premium membership sign up, do you think your parents, wife, less IT savvy friends would miss it as well?
I think this comic sums it up pretty well.
From Olaprice’s website :
Membership are entitled to an additional 20% off on all offers, free purchase insurance and exclusive flash sales offer. The quarterly charge is $88, and non-refundable. New members are entitled to a 2-day free trial and you would be automatically billed after the two day trial period ends. I browsed the items without the exclusive premium tag but was not able to select the non-member price.
Their page may have recently been updated. When you first load the page, the top deals are arranged with the premium flash deals on top. These are exclusive to their premium members. When scrolled to the bottom on conditions of the purchase, there is normally this line which should indicate to you that something is off. “The deal is exclusive to Ola Premium Members. By purchasing this deal you agree with the Terms & Conditions of OlaPrice and its subscription terms.” As you attempt to check out, I noted one instance of the $88 charge. There is the banner but it looks more like an introduction to Olaprice premium services and not indicative that you would be signing up as a premium member.
When in Doubt, Obfuscate
For normal deals, they appear as such. Which has an added indication of the Olaprice premium membership. Even if you untick the top box, the acceptance of the membership $88 charge is forced upon you with the other terms and conditions.
However, unlike other web shopping portals, they bury the details of this $88 charge into check boxes and finer details. The indicative check out charge also fails to include the $88 charge. This will be billed to the credit card separately. Potentially, you may even miss out that you had been charged $88 for the quarterly premium membership fee.
What You Can Do If You Are an Unwitting Olaprice Premium Member :
1) First thing first, login to your account and cancel the premium membership renewal. Look for the button that is helpfully named “Cancel”.
2) Next, you can try contacting their customer service but their default response seems to be along the lines of:
“Please be informed since you did not cancel their membership after our given trial period, you were charged for the membership fee on the last day of the trial period and then every quarter.
As stated in Ola Premium Terms and Conditions which you agreed to, as explained above, all membership fees are not refundable.”
If you go to the Terms of Service link in the footer, there is no mention of the details of the OlaPrice premium. Instead, you would need to navigate to the OlaPrice premium, scroll all the way down to the check box and look for the Subscription terms for the premium membership subscription terms. Excellent navigation arrangement.
3) Instead, you may want to try to bring up to your credit card issuing company and seek a block on the transaction. That would be along the lines of purchase protection but your mileage may vary.
4) Another option is to do a police report. You might be advised to go to CASE as well, but honestly, I would give it a miss. CASE doesn’t have judiciary powers and after the Jover Chew saga, do you think they can be of any help?
5) Take the $88 as a painful lesson and move on, share with your friends and relatives of your unfortunate experience so that they do not make the same mistake. The influence of word of mouth is a effective tool to combat such unclear business practices, sharing is caring.