‘Spring cleaning’ for Chinese New Year is a tradition many Chinese families observe. While a good scrub down of the home is good enough for some, others do more major spruce ups such as getting new furniture or even renovating!
Unfortunately, taking advantage of the festive rush are some tricky folks who go around claiming to carry out minor repair works on behalf of HDB. These people may or may not be bona fide contractors, but their intent is to make people part with their money. The elderly are especially vulnerable and many had fallen prey.
There are clear ways to check out their credentials and claims. Here are some ways in which you can differentiate between the contractors appointed by HDB and the ‘iffy’ ones:
Did you see any notice displayed in your block or receive a letter in the mail?
• HDB will inform residents in advance if works need to be done within your flat.
• Look out for official notification bearing HDB’s letterhead, which will be displayed at your block.
• Alternatively, you may receive a notice sent by HDB in the mail.
What are the workers wearing?
• HDB-appointed contractors must wear their uniform bearing the company name when they enter your flat.
• They must also prominently display their identification card with details like name, photograph, NRIC or work permit number, name of contractor and expiry date of company’s contract with HDB.
Does he or she have an HDB staff card?
• HDB officers who need to enter your flat for works will have an HDB staff card with their photo, like this example here.
• Ask to see it first before admitting anyone into your home.
If you have checked all the above and still have doubts, you may wish to do the following:
1. Do not let the person enter the flat.
2. Call the HDB Branch service line at 1800-225-5432 to verify the facts.
3. Lodge a police report if you have been misled, harassed or cheated.
4. Spread the word among your friends and neighbours to warn them.
If you’ve found this helpful, remember to share it with members of your family and your friends! It could save them from being a victim.
By Goh Mei Yi
Feb 3, 2015