Soon-to-wed couple gets rude shock when bridal company closes down suddenly
Local bridal company shuts down suddenly, couples lodge reports with Case and police
They braved the haze to pose for their wedding photos at the Botanic Gardens earlier this month.
The couple were looking forward to their big day on Dec 18 when, on Saturday evening, they encountered a spanner in the works.
Bride-to-be Hazel Lim, 27, told The New Paper yesterday that she could not believe her ears at first when a neighbour told her that the bridal company she engaged, Sophia Wedding Collection, had allegedly closed down.
She called her future groom, project coordinator Desmond Tan, also 27, and they made their way to the Amoy Street studio.
Their worst fears seemed to have come true.
Ms Lim, who works in sales, said: "The white wedding gown which was displayed at the window was gone. From outside, it looked like Sophia had closed down.
"Now, I just want my wedding photos back. They were very special to me, but I don't know if I'll ever get them."
The couple made a police report yesterday.
The police have confirmed that it has received reports involving the bridal company.
The Consumers Association of Singapore told TNP yesterday that it has received six online complaints about Sophia Wedding Collection.
An online search on the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority revealed that the company was registered on April 18, 2002. It was still a live company as of yesterday afternoon.
Company directors Chen Hui Chin, 47, and Tu Chuan Yu, 37, are both Singapore permanent residents.
When TNP visited the studio yesterday, its interior was dark and the doors were locked.
It is usually open on weekends.
Inside, a phone was heard ringing non-stop, but it went unanswered.
A neighbouring shop owner, who declined to be named, said the studio had been open as usual on Friday.
He said: "Sophia was always open on Saturdays and Sundays, but not this weekend.
"The lady boss is Taiwanese and she seemed very nice and friendly. We often chatted whenever we met.
"About 30 couples have come to Sophia since Saturday and all them looked very angry. None of us expected this to happen."
Ms Lim said that they signed up with the company in 2013 and booked a package that cost $4,888.
It included two sets of suits for the groom, four dresses, make-up and wedding photos.
With a $1,000 voucher they had earlier received, the couple were supposed to pay $3,888 instead.
So far, they have paid the studio about $3,500 in instalments.
Before signing up, Ms Lim had spoken to other couples who had engaged Sophia Wedding Collection and all of them gave the studio glowing reviews.
Ms Lim added that she was supposed to go for the final fitting of her wedding gown on Saturday when someone from the shop called her on Friday evening.
A staff member told her that the fitting had to be postponed as the person-in charge was on medical leave.
She first found out about the alleged closure at about 10pm on Saturday when her neighbour, who is a member of a bridal forum, sent her a text message.
Sighing, she said: "I thought she was joking. Or maybe she was mistaken as the studio used to be at Tanjong Pagar, but moved to Amoy Street about two weeks ago. I know the Tanjong Pagar space is now empty.
"My neighbour insisted that the studio had closed down. I became worried and called Desmond."
It was already 11pm when they reached the studio.
Mr Tan said: "We didn't have to wait long. About 20 minutes later, another couple showed up and I found out that we were all in the same boat. We went home angry and disappointed."
Ms Lim said that she could not sleep on Saturday night as she was worried about her big day.
She later called a photographer and a makeup artist who have worked for Sophia Wedding Collection. Both told her that the studio had closed down.
They also claimed that they have not been paid for their services.
Mr Tan said that he is aware that they do not have much time left to scramble for another studio.
He said: "We are not rich and we would definitely have to fork out more money if we were to engage another studio. But I know we have to do this soon to make our special day happen."
About 30 couples have come to Sophia since Saturday and all them looked very angry. None of us expected this to happen.
- A neighbouring shop owner, who said that the studio was open on Friday but, unusually, was shut over the weekend
DO RESEARCH BEFORE SIGNING UP
Couples should always engage more reputable companies when they sign up for any wedding packages.
Mr Seah Seng Choon, executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), told The New Paper that customers can go online to check comments from other couples to find out more about the company they intend to engage.
He said: "Couples should also read the company's terms and conditions to ensure that they are fair to customers.
"They can inform Case if they encounter problems. Couples should also inform the police if they suspect that offences like fraud have taken place."