Shipping company issued warning letter by Case after 72 complaints for not delivering items to India

How long does it take to send something to India?

A warning letter has been issued to Tamilan Express Cargo & Logistics by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) after some 72 complaints were lodged against the Singapore-based shipping company for failing to deliver items from Singapore to India.

Stomp has reported several complaints about the company, including one where a customer sent a brand new $1,149 55-inch Samsung TV to Chennai in August last year and it had yet to arrive.

“In addition, consumers reported that the company was unresponsive to their requests for assistance and refund,” Case told The Straits Times

Case said it will engage Tamilan Express Cargo to enter a voluntary compliance agreement to cease its errant business practices and promptly resolve consumer complaints.

Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, it is an unfair practice for a supplier to accept payment for the supply of goods or services when it knows or ought to know it will not be able to do so within the period specified by the supplier. 

When ST visited the Tamilan Express Cargo's premises at 6 Cuff Road in Little India last Wednesday, the shutters were down and there was a notice informing customers that it was relocating.

In the notice, the company said 25 containers worth of items belonging to its customers would be delivered in India, but did not specify a timeline.

When contacted by ST, Tamilan Express Cargo did not respond to queries about why the items were undelivered and whether customers would be compensated.

Stomp first reported about the company on Sept 8. Stomper Antoni had yet to receive 16.9kg of household items he had sent to Tamil Nadu on Jan 31 using Tamilan Express Cargo.

On Oct 19, Stomp reported that Stomper Priyanka had yet to receive items worth more than $1,000 that she had paid the company $240 on Dec 10 last year to deliver to Pune, Maharashtra.

On Nov 27, Stomp reported the cases of three Stompers who had yet to receive their shipment, with one woman claiming she had sent her items in 2020.

Shipping companies ST spoke to said it was unusual for parcels to spend many months in transit between Singapore and India.

Mr Hameed Sulthan Yousoof Ali, 44, owner of Star Cargo & Logistics, said: “For the last six months, we have been delivering our items within 30 days. 

“There is no port congestion. After 14 days, if your items are still in the container, you have to pay the shipping line a fee every day.” 

Lawyers whom ST spoke to said that affected customers can file a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal if the sums they are claiming have a total value of less than $20,000, or $30,000 if the parties involved agree to the higher limit.

Ms Kala Anandarajah, who heads Rajah & Tann’s Competition & Antitrust and Trade practice, said that when submitting a claim, customers will have to provide evidence of the amount they are claiming. 

For instance, Mr Santhanam Muthukarthikeyan, 41, who paid $900 to Tamilan Express Cargo to ship household items to Tamil Nadu, India, submitted a receipt for a Samsung television set worth $869 that he bought from Mustafa Centre. 

Although he was awarded a court order that will require Tamilan Express Cargo to reimburse him for these sums, it did not include the value of other items he lost, such as photographs taken with his family on holiday. 

This was because he was unable to determine the monetary value of these other items.

A WhatsApp group called Victims Of Tamilan Cargo now has more than 80 members.

It says: "This is a group for people who think they have been cheated by Tamilan cargo. Please join so that we can jointly plan the next steps."