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S’pore Couple Engages Friend’s ID Firm With S$20K Deposit, Feels Betrayed When Renovations Go Awry

Interior Designer Allegedly Tells Couple Off & Refuses Services, Police Report Filed

After the stress of planning a wedding, the next big hurdle to get through as a couple is designing your dream home.

Getting into a renovation nightmare is surely the last thing anyone needs because it’s costly and time-consuming.

However, one couple now faces this predicament. In 2022, they engaged a friend of theirs, an interior designer (ID), to renovate their BTO flat in Tampines.

But it soon turned into a renovation nightmare after she allegedly failed to deliver on their contract and refused to refund them the full amount of S$20,680.

The couple also allegedly faced poor service and communication, shoddy workmanship, and delays.

In documenting their journey, they hope others will pick their ID wisely.

Couple engages interior designer who allegedly got requirements wrong

Ms Shasha told MS News that she hired her friend, who set up an ID firm last year. She declined to reveal the name of her firm.

However, things have gone south after they put down S$20,680 on 18 Jan 2023.

“Service-wise, we were told to do some jobs for them and communication-wise, their designer often got our requirements wrong,” Shasha said.

They were told to contact the Housing Development Board (HDB) to find the liaison officer’s phone number on why a Professional Engineer (PE) is required to hack a balcony wall.


Then, they called HDB multiple times to rush their permit on request of the ID.

After that, they found their own PE, who charged S$400 to hack the wall instead of the one the ID sourced.

The latter had intended to charge them S$1,200.

On 22 Feb, the couple was told off for asking if PRISM+ fan installations by a third party can void the warranty.

Image courtesy of Ms Shasha

That was the last straw for her, and she requested to cancel the renovation on 22 Feb. She also asked for a refund for the jobs that hadn’t been completed.

Image courtesy of Ms Shasha

But the ID said they’d only return S$2,800.

Interior designer told clients they should not be frustrated

The ID accepted the request to cancel the renovation, and sent an email on 2 Mar, telling them the following:

  • They should not get frustrated when they are changing their baby’s diapers and the ID calls
  • They should answer any questions the ID asks, even if the questions are asked more than once
  • They should have answered all their questions patiently and managed our anger and patience.

However, after looking through their communications, the couple disagrees that they ever got frustrated.

Even if we have been ill-advised and led wrongly by their designer, we kept quiet and continued to do everything they told us to do,” Ms Shasha said. 

Even though the ID initially agreed, she allegedly threatened that the cancellation would have “consequences”, including a possible protracted legal battle.

“We bring this to CASE, and it will be a waiting game,” the ID also allegedly told the couple, according to an email seen by MS News.

To avoid a legal battle and even more fees, the couple eventually agreed to carry on with the same ID.

“I must say we continued out of duress,” Ms Shasha told MS News.

However, on 10 Apr, when the carpentry measurements were supposed to take place, they did not.

The couple elected to remain patient and await updates.

Interior designer tells OP’s father off on phone

After midnight on 13 Apr, the ID messaged the couple for the balance of the third deposit (S$10,290.75 minus S$500) to be paid by 15 Apr.

She then apparently moved the carpentry measurements to 15 Apr without informing them earlier.

“I counter-suggested to give her the cheque on site upon seeing the carpenter,” she said. “We were taking necessary precautions due to our earlier experience.”

The couple then learnt that the ID and her project manager had been Covid-19 positive since 10 Apr without informing them — this meant she’d allegedly violated a clause in the contract.

The clause relates to keeping owners updated in the event of any delays due to a lack of manpower. The ID allegedly did not tell the couple of this manpower delay.

Following this, Ms Shasha’s father called the ID to ask if the works were completed. However, she allegedly dodged the question and told him off.

Discrepancies in works done

The same day, they went to the house site and found discrepancies in the work that had been done, as well as missing power sockets.

On 14 Apr, however, the ID refused to continue, even though she was told it would be in breach of contract.

She denied that this would be the case.

Ms Shasha said she wrote a courtesy email asking for money for the works owed and an offer to pay for materials they purchased.

The couple then posted the state of the house works on social media on 20 Apr.

Then, on 24 Apr, they received an email reply, threatening to warn others about the couple in her Reno Forum and accusing them of defaming her online.

This was followed by alleged harassment on their posts by another account they suspected was linked to the ID.

Ms Shasha also received a call asking where she lived to collect a frame in three hours, which led her to fear for the safety of her eight-month-old son.

The couple eventually filed a police report and submitted a case to Small Claims Tribunal.

That consultation will be held on 31 May.

Sharing experience has connected them to others facing similar issues

“When we posted our first video on TikTok, we wanted to just move forward,” Ms Shasha said.

This was regardless of whether she was paid back because she said she always believed in karma and that there was always a higher power.

But a silver lining is that the TikTok post has connected the couple to others facing similar issues.

As such, they are making posts advising others on handling the renovation process with an accredited ID.

“This is why we manage our channels — to raise awareness,” Ms Shasha shared. “We are glad to get comments and messages from people who’ve been helped by the videos.”

“I learnt too that IDs may be in this position too, where customers do not pay. So sincerely, I am finding how to regulate this and keep both IDs/contractors and consumers safe. We want to help everyone to renovate safe and right,” she added.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at

Featured image adapted from TikTok.

Jonathan Yee

Jonathan is a bedroom headbanger. His Kobo is never far from him.

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