Bridal salon's sudden closure: Other businesses selling prepaid packages that shut down without

Photo credit: The New Paper, Dalene Low

The abrupt closure of Sophia Wedding Collection on Oct 10 left dozens of its customers scrambling to rescue their wedding plans.

News of the longstanding bridal salon's exit - it had been in operation for at least 15 years - caused a stir in the industry, especially since many had perceived it to be a "reputable" company.

Its owners were said to have left the country, having allegedly run into financial difficulties.

The company, which specialises in pre-wedding photoshoots and wedding wear rental, is the latest in a string of businesses that have shut down suddenly over the past year.

Most are involved the sale of prepaid packages, an issue that the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) admitted recently needs to be addressed.

Here are four other examples.

1. THE SCISSORHANDS AND ITS AFFILIATE SHIZAHANZU Hundreds of customers found themselves with prepaid but unused packages - said to be worth more than $300,000 - when all seven of the salon chain's outlets shuttered on Aug 29. Case reported that more than 150 complaints had been filed, while the police also investigated the sudden closure.

2. SADHANA SANCTUARY The yoga studio, located at Penang Road in Dhoby Ghaut, reportedly closed without prior notice in July. It claimed that was was undergoing renovation till the end of the month. One member, Ms Ada Yeo, 22, said she had noticed students and instructors leaving in the months leading to the studio's closure, even though there was still a steady influx of new students.

3. ASIA-EURO HOLIDAYS Over $92,000 in claims, mainly involving the travel agency's failure to honour prepaid travel packages, were lodged by disgruntled customers when it closed in May.

Its licence was subsequently revoked by the Singapore Tourism Board, amid allegations that the agency's directors had racked up huge losses of about $2 million in property investments.

4. SKY FITNESS The Harbourfront gym ceased operations unexpectedly in March, and allegedly owes a total of $3.8 million to its members, banks and other stakeholders.

An estimated 700 members were affected.

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