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  • i-chqs

    Anyone bought i-chqs?



    Saturday January 15, 10:17 PM

    Retailers stop accepting i-chqs dining vouchers


    SINGAPORE: Retailers have stopped accepting i-chqs, leaving thousands of those holding the dining vouchers in the lurch.

    Up until Friday, i-chqs had effectively been legal tender, with over 250 restaurants accepting them at face value with an equivalent Singdollar value.

    But after news broke on Thursday that i-chq issuer Indigoz Exchange is under investigation by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), the vouchers are, for the time being, worthless.

    Indigoz Exchange first came on the retail scene in September 2000 when it launched its rewards programme.

    The scheme expanded to include credit card companies, banks, insurers and retail outlets.

    Customers of these could redeem their accumulated rewards points for i-chqs which in turn are redeemable at more than 250 restaurants island-wide.

    The i-chqs have since become popular with diners as they can be bought over-the-counter at 7-Eleven and SingPost outlets at a discount to its "stored value".

    As recently as the Christmas season, 7-Eleven, for example, was promoting them aggressively at a 40 percent discount.

    NETS, which distributes the vouchers to 7-Eleven, said on Friday that it was monitoring the CAD's probe.

    SingPost suspended the sale of i-chqs on Friday, advising existing holders to wait for further developments in the case.

    The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), meanwhile, has also advised holders to wait for further notice.

    CASE president Yeo Guat Kwang said: "If the vouchers are rejected by the restaurants, customers can actually take up their case with the Small Claims Tribunal against the i-chq company. But I think more importantly, for cases like this, they have to be handled carefully because I'm worried if we have more and more such cases, it will tarnish the consumer confidence in Singapore."

    As for the vendors, most distanced themselves from Indigoz when contacted by Channel NewsAsia.

    Many restaurants have stopped accepting the vouchers, including popular eating chain Crystal Jade.

    OCBC Bank said it had not been giving out i-chqs since last June and had contacted Indigoz to remove its logo from its website.

    Only HSBC said it would refund the i-chqs it gave out as an act of goodwill to its customers.

    Indigoz is a company that the Economic Development Board (EDB) invested in back in 2002 under its SEEDS programme.

    EDB owns a 10 percent stake but when contacted by Channel NewsAsia, it said it was unable to comment as the investigations were ongoing. - CNA

  • #2
    Yeah. I use them pretty often.

    What a pity! I thought they are pretty worth-while and make nice gift vouchers too.

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    • #3
      thank goodness I just finished using mine before the news break out.Think many consumers are gonna be pretty pissed off about it...

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      • #4
        No wonder when I walked pass Lawry's at Paragon, there was a notice saying that the use of i-chqs is temporarily suspended!

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        • #5
          i guess there's nothing we can do about it except wait-and-see. Together with my parents and sis, we've a total of $400 plus of unused vouchers.
          Too bad these were bought recently using NETS. We've finished those that we got from HSBC, otherwise at least the credit card companies are helping with some recourse.

          I'm still wondering what is the cause of the investigation other than the reason that this way of doing business contravenes some Banking Act. This company has been around for about 2years and it's only now that they are investigating it? :huh:

          I'm surprised cos i thought it's a good business idea. To-date, i've used more than $3K of i-cheques. The restaurants on the list is very extensive. It's a really good deal. Whatever discounts i've enjoyed in the past is now in the form of the unused i-chqs that i'm stuck with :roll:

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          • #6
            me & SO has $80 unspend.. luckily used up another S$40 just 2 days before few days before i saw the news.. an aunt has 300 & another has 800 outstanding!!

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            • #7
              seems that the person in charge has run away with the money,I heard!

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              • #8
                i still have a $20 one left.... luckily it was a free voucher... hehe.

                my mom was saying that maybe when the retailers tried to go collect money from indigoz based on the number of i-chqs that they have received (in place of cash), indigoz ran off and did not pay the merchants... seemed pretty likely...

                yea i do agree it makes a very good gift idea.

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                • #9
                  Oh no.. I have $40 worth of unused vouchers.

                  P.S Bo Peep, do you play maple story? I do! I am addicted to the game!

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                  • #10
                    i have $300 worth of i chqs....bought only a week before the news came out...... coz HSBC announced that they are ending the promotions on 23rd Jan, that's y i went to get it 1st :Doh:

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                    • #11
                      oh dear minami, but i'm sure they'll try to refund consumers... hopefully everything will turn out nicely!

                      winged> oops i realised my avatar is rather misleading... i don't play maplestory but i just thought the mushroom is rather cute-looking! heehee. okok i shall go find something else!

                      Note: have changed the picture to my fav black sheep! heehee!
                      Last edited by bo-peep; 18-01-2005, 11:24 AM.

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                      • #12
                        heard that the banks are refunding, i got mine from HSBC, they should be refunding but i don't know when they are going to do that also, no news from them yet.

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                        • #13
                          Hey bopeep!

                          I think the mushrooms and snails in maple story are cute too! That's why I am playing! Haha! Anyways, your sheep is just as cute! :D:D

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                          • #14
                            Jan 20, 2005
                            Refunds for i-chqs bought in Nets event

                            CONSUMERS who bought the now defunct i-chqs dining vouchers using Nets or CashCards during a promotion can apply for refunds until Feb 3.

                            The 'goodwill' offer applies to valid, unused i-chqs purchased during a dining promotion run by Nets between last Nov 25 and Jan 14.

                            About 12,000 vouchers were sold during that period, when i-chqs valued at $140 went for $100.

                            Those seeking a refund have to fill in an i-chqs customer details form on the Nets website at www.nets.com.sg by Feb 3. No claims will be accepted after that date.

                            Alternatively, claims can be filed at the Nets office at Central Plaza in Tiong Bahru Road or by approaching the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) for help.

                            Nets will check the validity of the i-chqs purchase and those whose claims are approved will be asked to go to the Nets office in person to collect the refund. They have till March 24 to do so.

                            Besides the unused i-chqs, consumers will also have to show proof of purchase, such as a bank statement, and their ATM card or CashCard. They have to produce their identification card too.

                            Case executive director Seah Seng Choon said it is also approaching other businesses involved to work out a refund arrangement. 'We will be writing to the banks, especially those which have used i-chqs as a form of incentive on their credit cards,' he said.

                            HSBC Bank, which offered i-chqs as part of a rewards programme, has said its customers will be reimbursed.

                            Many restaurants stopped accepting i-chqs after the news broke last Friday of a Commercial Affairs Department probe into Indigoz Exchange, the company that issued and sold the vouchers.

                            The CAD also seized money in the company's account relating to alleged offences under the Companies Act.


                            Source

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                            • #15
                              Do inform your friends and relatives who own i chqs! I am impressed with their service, my friend left her contact number with Nets and they called her yesterday (which is the day the news of goodwill refund is released). Refund will take 5 working day but you would need to go down to their office to show them your passbook or receipt.

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