Singapore — A netizen took to Reddit to warn other citizens about their bad experience using the SingapoRediscover vouchers.
SingapoRediscover vouchers are $100 credits given to all citizens aged 18 or older to support local tourism businesses.
The user shared that he had booked an aviation tour with his girlfriend back in December 2020. The tour included a pickup from MacPherson and visits to places like Old Kallang Airport a hangar in Seletar. They booked with PJE Group Pte Ltd for a tour on Jan 30 this year.
However, on Jan 26, the tour agency messaged the couple and said “that they do not have the minimum 10 people to go on the tour on our date”. The agency said that it “would not be profitable” to send just the two of them for the tour, and the couple agreed to wait for a date when the agency could have 10 people on the tour.
Over the next few weeks, PJE Group started to offer alternatives through their director “Angela”, for example, proposing they forgo the pickup and head to Seletar themselves to enjoy the simulator. The couple initially agreed, but then were told they could go there only on a weekday and not on a weekend.
The group asked the couple to take other alternative tours. However, the other tours were significantly undervalued to what the couple had paid ($90), or were uninteresting to them. Additionally, the group had also asked the couple to try and gather 10 people to go on the tour.
“Imagine that, asking your customers to solicit business for you!” the user exclaimed on Reddit. Angela was also described as inexperienced, and sent WhatsApp messages with emojis, which he considered unprofessional.
The tour operator was also unresponsive to the couple, only responding to them when prompted. This resulted in a stalemate between both parties.
The couple went to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to ask for help. However, the STB hotline explained that STB only authorises the vouchers. Responsibility for ensuring that the vouchers are used properly and the tour operators are providing services properly lies with Changi Recommends.
When they contacted Changi Recommends, they were told to return to the tour operator for other alternatives.
They also added that the vouchers are non-refundable and non-exchangeable and that their hands are tied.
Given that the booking platform did not work, the Reddit user went back to STB, explaining that Changi Recommends and the tour operator were not providing any solutions and were not willing to let the couple use their vouchers with another operator or on another platform.
However, STB only said they would contact Changi Travel Services to once again look into the matter.
“I am sick and tired of having responsibility tossed being Changi Recommends and STB as if this is not their problem.” the Reddit user wrote, upset at the way in which the organisations are not taking charge of solving the problems he faced.
“Is this what our tourism board and a subsidiary of Changi Airport Group has devolved to? Allowing sub-par tour operators to advertise on their platforms and just scam citizens of their Singapore Rediscovers Vouchers?” he asks.
Lastly, he warns other citizens to be careful about how they use their vouchers, especially when dealing with less well-known agencies. He hopes that his experience would act as a warning to others to be more careful when using the vouchers so that they do not face the same complications he did.
Denise Teh is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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