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Submitted by Stomper Ng, Jerry, Yeo, Kym
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Three different cases, similar stories.
Stomper Ng ordered a 10-day meal catering package from Healthy Meals Catering at first.
She said the food was decent and decided to continue on by paying $330.10 for a 20-day meal catering package from Nov 8 to Dec 2.
"However, on Nov 25, the caterer informed me that there is some issue with their kitchen and they are unable to provide the service," said Ng, adding that the company refused to refund her for the remainder of the package.
Stomper Jerry said he placed an order for a seven-day trial package with Happy MamaPapa Catering on Nov 21.
But after making a full payment of $118.60, he never received the food.
"I received a message from Happy MamaPapa Catering one day before the scheduled delivery that the kitchen encountered a 'power disruption issue' and it needed to be 'temporary closed'," said Jerry.
Stomper Yeo said his wife paid $280 for a 10-day package from Tingkat Singapore.
"The food was delivered for the first two days, but things turned for the worse on the third day."
That was Nov 25.
Yeo received a message from the company that said: "Due to power supply failure, we are not able to operate as per normal as part of our kitchen is affected."
As it turned out, all three companies – Healthy Meals Catering, Happy MamaPapa Catering and Tingkat Singapore – are under the Royal Cuisine Group.
In response to a Stomp query, Consumer Association of Singapore (Case) President Melvin Yong said that from Nov 25 to Dec 22, it had received 64 consumer complaints against Royal Cuisine Group and its associated brands, which includes the three mentioned earlier plus Angel Confinement Meals and Vegetarian Buffet.
"In general, consumers complained that the businesses did not deliver their prepaid Tingkat meals, confinement meals and catered food. According to affected consumers, the businesses cited power failure at their central kitchen as the reason for the non-delivery," said Mr Yong.
"In addition, consumers reported that the Royal Cuisine Group was unable to provide a specific date on which they can resume operations/food delivery. The company also did not respond to consumers’ requests for a refund. The total value of the unfulfilled meal orders is close to $20,000.
"Case has reached out to the Royal Cuisine Group to seek recovery on consumers’ monies. But there has been no response from them."
Royal Cuisine Group is now listed online as "permanently closed". All its websites are inaccessible except for its social media with the last post on Nov 20.
Stomper Kym also claimed that Royal Cuisine Group had not paid her and other workers their salaries for two months.
She said in a Facebook post on Dec 18: "We have worked very hard for this company. And even after one month of being unpaid, we chose to believe his (the boss's) word that he would pay us the following month, but he did not fulfil (his promise). Promises were broken one after another."
Kym added: "They continued to take in new orders and some customers did not even have their first meal delivered because there are no more kitchens, no more chefs, no more packers, no more drivers to work anymore. Some are expensive meals like confinement meals which cost $1,400 and above. Such acts are just disgusting."
In response to her post, Royal Cuisine Group commented: "Dear Kym, please be assured that MOM (Ministry of Manpower), TADM (Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management) & SPF (Singapore Police Force) are investigating this case, as shared, they will definitely be providing updates in due course."
When contacted by Stomp, MOM said that it is investigating Royal Cuisine Group and its related entities for any possible offences under the Employment Act.
"As of Dec 23, 87 former employees from Royal Cuisine Group had lodged salary claims at TADM," said the ministry.
"TADM is currently assisting these employees in the recovery of their salaries, and linking them up with NTUC e2i for employment assistance."
As for the customers who did not get the meals they ordered, Mr Yong said: "As the Royal Cuisine Group and its brands have ceased operations, consumers are advised to file a claim with the Small Claims Tribunals to recover their monies.
"Consumers who have paid for meal packages using their credit cards can also file a chargeback request with their banks within 120 days of the transaction to get back the unfulfilled monetary value of their packages.
"Consumers with unresolved disputes can approach Case for assistance (hotline: 9795 8397, website: www.case.org.sg)."