KUALA LUMPUR: Seputeh MP Teresa Kok says she has identified nearly 40 homeowners who have fallen prey to online renovation scams.
Kok said that the victims had ended up in a mess after placing their trust in contractors who had promised dream renovations in social media postings and websites.
“The sad thing is that some of them are first-time homebuyers. They saved money for decades to buy a house. They had homes they had dreamed of, and they wanted them to have a certain design.
“In the end, these contractors messed up their houses,” she said at the launch of a video to warn people about these scams.
The video, produced by the Malaysian Interior Industry Partners Association, was launched by Zaid Zakaria, chief executive of the Construction Industry Development Board, Bernama reported.
He said homeowners should educate and familiarise themselves with a construction agreement to avoid falling victim to renovation scams. He said a sample agreement can be downloaded from the CIDB website.
“The sample lists out responsibilities and contractual obligations of all parties involved in a renovation project and it is very easy to understand.
“Besides that, homeowners must also be informed of the latest costs of construction materials, labour and laws and regulations imposed by local councils on renovation works,” he said.
Kok said in her speech that most of the victims did not know about a proper construction agreement or how to request for such an agreement to be made while negotiating a renovation project.
“As such, I appreciate CIDB for making the effort to create a sample of a construction agreement and educate the public, especially homeowners, in knowing their basic rights on this matter,” she said.
She said the scam cases presented difficulties for police investigations.
Victims would usually be asked to present a copy of the signed agreement with the contractors. However, they often only have a quotation to show, instead of a formal contract.
“In many cases, the police are hesitant to intervene, believing that these situations are complex and challenging for law enforcement,” she said.
Kok said the fact that they sought her help showed that many did not know how to make a complaint to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.
“I realised that even if you want to file a complaint with MCMC, it’s also complicated. A lot of people don’t have the patience to do that,” she said.
Homeowners or contractors with problems in renovation projects can lodge a report to CIDB at 03-55673300 or by filling up the online form.
The video, entitled “Don’t Fall Victim to Online Renovation Contractor Scam” can be viewed at MIIP’s website and on social media platforms.