Buyer beware

Organic shoppers in Singapore might want to take note of this letter which appeared in the Straits Times Forum Online recently.

STRAITS TIMES

June 17, 2008

Premium charges but services anything but premium

I BOUGHT six packets of Australian Rolled Oats from Organic Paradise Pte Ltd but one of the packets was full of weevils. When I returned to the store to exchange it, the cashier told me there was no exchange policy, and that it was my fault not to check the goods before buying.

As I did not have time to go to my regular organic store, I had to restock another six packets of oats from the same store. The cashier once again told me to check for weevils before paying, as there was no exchange policy.

This compares with major supermarkets such as the Cold Storage chain which have an exchange policy for defective products. Also, the salespeople would make the exchange for defective products apologetically.

In another incident, I went to Phyto Organics on two different occasions. Two salesgirls recommended me two different eye creams. The second salesgirl said that the first eye cream I had bought was too oily for me and that it may cause oil seeds on the eye area. I ended up with two different eye creams as there was no exchange policy, even though I have not used the first eye cream.

Department store counters, however, are usually more consistent with their product recommendation. They also have an exchange policy when they recommend an unsuitable product or a wrong foundation colour. This is applicable even after the product has been used.

As I was switching to organic products, Phyto Organics also recommended me an organic foundation. The salesgirl claimed that it does not clog my pores like other non-organic skincare/cosmetics brands I have used. This is a claim that none of the major skincare/cosmetics brand salesgirls have ever made to me. So I bought it. I found out later that the foundation colour was too dark and oily for me but Phyto Organics disallowed an exchange, even though I bought over $700 worth of products from them.

It’s disappointing that these two organic establishments sell ‘premium products’ and charge premium prices but they do not provide the premium services generally associated with major department stores and supermarkets.

Juliana Tan (Ms)

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4 Responses

  1. re organic paradise, i am really not surprised becuz i myself buy from them only becuz some of their items are the cheapest. like i’ve been asking for the longest time about spelt flour, and all the owner could tell me was “no stock” “when will there be new stock?” “donno”. doesn’t even bother to ask for my contact to inform me, etc.

    i had the same response when asked abt organic shortening. and he even said something like there’d been no stock for the last 6 mths. i ended up buying it at supernature the same weekend.

    there was even once when i was struggling to go into the store and fighting with the heavy push door with a stroller, and he just stood there and watched.

    re phyto organics, i used to be a purist, trying hard to use all organic toiletries, until i realised that some were just doing more harm than good.

    i’d use organic lipstick (since u have to eat the lipstick) but not organic foundation (most of those brands dont suit our asian skin colours).

    and, for your other readers out there, all cosmetics made in germany (lavera is) is generally safe from toxins because of their manufacturing laws, if u buy german toiletries/cosmetics, they dont have to be “organic”. (by contrast a lot of these “organic” brands usually sneak in some toxins in their ingredients)

  2. Wow, thanks for all that consumer advice, CP!

  3. I actually shop regularly at Organic Paradise for location reasons since it’s near Orchard. I normally buy beans/lentils and whole grains etc.

    As for organic toiletries, I’ve had mixed results. They are often very pricey and don’t always agree with my skin because of the essential oils used.

  4. Thanks for sharing , Sgpeasant. It’s good to hear different experiences so that we can shop in a more informed way, esp since organic products are usually v expensive :)!

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