Sequence of events
|3.23pm 26 December 2017||Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley made the initial contact with Claimant. An SMS was received from Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley (9636XXXX) to provide details required by Claimant to provide tuition service, including his address for the conduct of tuition. [Exhibit A, Page 6]
The terms of engagement and Claimant’s contact number are on Claimant’s website. [Exhibit A, Pages 1-5]
On the contact page of the website, Parents are instructed to take note of the “Fees and Payment Terms” before they get in touch.
The terms of engagement for tuition services include:-
Clause 3. “…… In the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as sickness or school activities, please let the teacher know at least one day in advance. This will help in the re-scheduling of lessons. If no notice is given, and your teacher turns up for the lesson, the lesson will be charged. “
Clause 5. “Payment is at the beginning of the month for all the confirmed lesson dates only…”
There were no waivers or exceptions for Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley or Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl (Respondent). There were no protests or objections from them. At that point in time, Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley did not come across as English illiterate or functionally incompetent with English comprehension. Non-enforcement of contract did not constitute a waiver.
|7pm 04 January 2018||This was the date of the first tuition lesson with Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl.
Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl’s Secondary 1 Express End-of-Year exam papers were made available for review. The school was Sx. Axxxxxx’x Cxxxxxxx Secondary School. [Exhibit A, Pages 7-8]
|15 January 2018||The second tuition lesson was on 14 January 2018. After two tuition lessons, on 15 January, Claimant checked with Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley if he could make payment for the tuition fees by bank transfer. After receipt of his consent, Claimant provided his bank account details for the payment of tuition fees, and for the reimbursement of a purchase of a Math practice book. All communications were acknowledged by Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley. [Exhibit A, Page 9]
Payment was not received until many weeks later, in cash.
|7pm Thu 4 January 2018
5pm Sun 14 January 2018
7pm Thu 18 January 2018
5pm Sun 28 January 2018
These were the tuition lesson dates with Ms Cheryl Loh Hui Xin Cheryl in January 2018. All other students of Claimant have tuition lessons on the same day, at the same time, week after week. In contrast, there were frequent changes to tuition dates, and delays to starting times on the day of tuition for Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl. The schedule advised by Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley was for 7pm on Thursdays. [Exhibit A, Page 6] Within the first month, there were two changes of dates to Sundays.
|7pm Thu 1 February 2018
2.30pm Sat 10 February 2018
3pm Sat 24 February 2018
7pm Mon 26 February 2018
|These were the tuition lesson dates in February 2018. By the second month, the lesson dates were all over the place. Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl prioritized going out to spend “ang bao” money during the Chinese New Year festive period over studies. This explained the gap in mid-February. As her irregular schedule was a glaring exception, Claimant had her schedule specially marked out on his calendar.
The tuition fees for January and February 2018 were late but settled, and not the subject of Claim. This history is provided to show the pattern of behavior by Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley and Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl. They contrast with other parents and students of Claimant who fixed their schedules and completed payment of fees at the beginning of the month.
|7pm Thu 01 March 2018
7pm Thu 08 March 2018
7pm Thu 15 March 2018
5pm Sat 31 March 2018
|These were the lesson dates in March 2018.
Tuition fees for Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl for March was received, but late as usual, on the 31st of March 2018. The amount was evidenced by a deposit into Claimant’s UOB account on the 2nd of April 2018 [Exhibit C, Pages 1 and 14].
Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley was the only parent who was persistently late in payment of tuition fees. Being an exception made it easy for Claimant to track payment and flag default.
|5pm Sat 14 April 2018
7pm Mon 16 April 2018
7.30pm Thu 19 April 2018
7.45pm Thu 26 April 2018
|These were the lesson dates in April 2018.
Decisions on whether to have lessons, and when to have lessons were made by Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl, not Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley. Communications (calls, SMS and WhatsApp) for lessons were mainly with Ms Loh, not the parents. There were frequent procrastination and delaying of lesson time by Ms Loh.
As evidence, detailed description and records of communications (calls, SMS and WhatsApp) with Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl and Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley in April and May 2018, in chronological order, are attached as Exhibit B, Pages 1-6.
Comparison can be made with the parents of two other students (identified in communications as “Mrs Kathy Low – Deborah P5 Maths” and “ZiFei Mother”) who also paid their tuition fee in cash. Payment was always completed and schedule finalized at the beginning of every month.
The following records are attached as Exhibit C Pages 1-18, to prove communications with these two parents for the payment of tuition fee and the confirmation of lesson dates, in March – June:
· WhatsApp and SMS records for payments, exchanged at the beginning of each month, for March – June;
· bank statements from UOB account of Claimant showing corresponding deposits of cash, for March – June;
· signed receipts for cash paid.
Tuition fees for Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl for the month of April was received late on 26 April 2018. There was a corresponding cash deposit into the Claimant’s UOB account on the 27th of April 2018 [Exhibit C, Pages 1 and 15].
|7pm Thu 3 May 2018
7pm Mon 7 May 2018
4.30pm on Tue 8 May 2018
7pm Wed 9 May 2018
|Three lessons were completed in May 2018.
There was a last-minute cancellation of the lesson scheduled for 8 May within minutes of starting time [Exhibit B, Page 5]. Per terms of engagement, cancellation had to be notified to Claimant at least a day in advance. In the absence of advance notice, the lesson is payable [Exhibit A, Page 4].
|Tue 29 May 2018||During the first lesson on 03 May 2018, Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl informed that she wanted to enjoy herself (“lepak” in her own words) after her exams.
At the end of May 2018, as there was no advice on further lessons or intent by Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl or Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley, an invoice requesting for payment was sent by WhatsApp on 29 May 2018 to Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley for the three lessons attended by Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl. [Exhibit D, Page 1]
WhatsApp Read Receipts (check marks next to the message) indicate that the message was delivered and read.
There was no reply from Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley. No WhatsApp reply. No SMS reply. No phone call. There was no communication from Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl either.
|Fri 8 June 2018||As there was no response, a reminder WhatsApp message was sent to Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley on 08 June 2018. [Exhibit D, Page 2]
Again, WhatsApp Read Receipts (check marks next to the message) indicate that the message was delivered and read by Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley.
However, there was no reply from Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley. No WhatsApp reply. No SMS reply. No phone call. There was no communication from Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl either.
Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley and Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl defaulted on payment of tuition fees for the month of May. There was no cash deposit, in Claimant’s UOB account, for an amount corresponding to the May tuition fees of Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl [Exhibit C, Page 1 and 16]. There was no evidence that payment was received for the month of May 2018.
For comparison, there were cash deposits at the bank corresponding to Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl’s tuition fees in March and April. [Exhibit C, Pages 1, 14 and 15].
Further, for comparison, there were cash deposits corresponding to the tuition fees of “Mrs Kathy Low – Deborah P5 Maths” and “ZiFei Mother”, who paid in cash, for the months of March to June [Exhibit C, Pages 1, 14-18].
|Sat 23 June 2018||A claim was lodged against Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl. Reason was that Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl had leave of Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley to do as she pleased, to decide whether to have lessons and when to have lessons. She was the one who decided and agreed on the May tuition lessons (subject of this Claim) with Claimant [Exhibit B, Page 4]. Further, according to an SMS from Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley, Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl was the one who represented that the May tuition fees were paid [Exhibit D Page 4].|
|Tue 26 June 2018||Notice of Consultation was served on Respondent by registered mail.|
|Wed 27 June 2018||A single day after service of the Notice of Consultation, a SMS was received from Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley. “…Regarding the fees, Cheryl told me it has been paid on the last session before the exam.” Clearly, Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley had to defer to Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl on payment matters. Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl made a false representation. Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley will go on to represent during the first consultation on 13 August that he was the one who said that payment was made on the last session before the exam and Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl concurred with his representation.
Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley replied to the Notice of Consultation within a single day. He wilfully chose to send an SMS, when the last communication by SMS was way back on 14 April [Exhibit D, Page 4]. He failed to response to the payment request sent by WhatsApp on 29 May, even though he had read it. He failed to response to the reminder sent by WhatsApp on 8 June. A reasonable conclusion was that these earlier failures to response were deliberate and intentional.
|Mon 2 July 2018||Respondent made the following submission via the eNegotiation function of the Community Justice and Tribunals System.
“Tuition is fee always paid in cash after the last session of the month. We always pay promptly. For May, as agreed by Mr Lee, the lessons were rescheduled to fit Cheryl’s exam schedule and the last lesson for May was 9 May. As always, we paid him in cash on 9 May. I am offering $50 to save time.”
First point: There was no cash deposit in Claimant’s UOB account corresponding to Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl’s May tuition fee. There were cash deposits in Claimant’s UOB account corresponding to Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl’s March and April tuition fees (previous two months). There were cash deposits in Claimant’s UOB account corresponding to tuition fee payments by other parents (“Mrs Kathy Low – Deborah P5 Maths” and “ZiFei Mother) for every single month from March to June 2018.
Claimant has no record of receipt of cash payment from Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley on 9 May. No acknowledgement of payment was sent to Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley for the payment of May tuition fee.
Second point: The terms of engagement for Claimant’s tuition services clearly state that “payment is at the beginning of the month”. Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley’s submission confirmed that he failed to comply with the terms of engagement. He was always late with payment. His failure to comply is evident when compared to the parents of other students [Exhibit C]. This failure made him stick out like a sore thumb for enhanced tracking.
Third point: There is no reasonable basis for the arbitrary and flippant offer of “$50 to save time” after the services were consumed.
Claimant rejected the offer.
Claimant corrected the Respondent that “No payment for tuition fees was made” at 02/07/2018 05:02pm.
Respondent persisted with a statement that “Payment was made on 9 May 2018” at 02/07/2018 05:13pm.
|Mon 6 August 2018||As Respondent voluntarily and wilfully submitted a statement that is materially false and misrepresentative to the Courts, it suggested to Claimant a certain disregard for the Courts in Singapore. The law enforcement agency was informed. Respondent was notified via eNegotiation accordingly at 06/08/2018 02:01pm.
Claimant noted Respondent’s consent to police’s investigation in responses via eNegotiation at 06/08/2018 02.14pm.
Claimant noted Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley’s application at 06/08/2018 14:49 to represent Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl on the same day of notice of the foregoing. Not a day earlier. Not a day later. Claimant questions the intent of Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley in making this submission. Claimant was certain that the Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl was in Singapore, a resident of Singapore, not of old age, not illiterate, and not suffering from infirmity of mind or body. Having taught Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl, Claimant was confident that Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl was sufficiently educated, was proficient in English, of sufficient maturity of age to understand the nature and consequence of her actions, and is not medically certified with any learning or mental disabilities. Claimant noted that the reason given for Mr Stanley Loh’s application was not valid and the Application for Representative was rejected.
|Mon 13 August 2018||First consultation before the Registrar of the Small Claims Tribunals.
The Respondent defaulted in appearing before the Tribunal.
Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley presented himself, in spite of the rejection of his Application for Representative, and, without the Respondent present, without a Right of Audience under Section 23(2) of the Small Claims Tribunal Act.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Tribunal allowed him to represent the Respondent, in the absence of the Respondent.
During the consultation, Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley further disclosed that he had impersonated Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl to submit replies during eNegotiation through the Community Justice and Tribunals System. Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley submitted multiple written replies as Respondent. In none of the replies did he truthfully identify himself as Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley. The replies included falsehoods.
During the consultation, Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley persisted in his attempts to prevent Ms Loh Hui Xin Cheryl from appearing before the Tribunal. This was consistent with his submission of an Application for Representative minutes after being informed that a police report had been lodged, and his appearance, without the Respondent, before the Tribunal in disregard of the rejection of his invalid Application for Representative.
The Tribunal set the next consultation on 3 September 2018.
|Mon 13 August 2018||The Tribunal asked Claimant if receipts were issued to those who paid in cash. Claimant answered no as the understanding was that there were no legal or regulatory obligations on Claimant to do so, as Claimant had sufficiently complete and accurate records of fees received.
After the first consultation, Claimant approached IRAS for confirmation again. IRAS confirmed, by reference to publicly available guidelines on its website and in writing, that Claimant’s understanding still stands correct, that there is “no need to issue receipts if you adopt practices that can ensure the completeness and accuracy of the recording of all your sales receipts.” [Exhibit F, Pages 1-4]
|Mon 13 August 2018||Claimant’s expenditures.
Mr Loh Meng Chong Stanley insinuated during the first consultation before the Registrar of the Small Claims Tribunal on 13 August 2018 that the Claimant sent him a payment request/invoice, a follow-up reminder, filed a claim with the Small Claims Tribunals and checked with the law enforcement agency, just to claim an “extra” $360 from him to buy groceries from NTUC.
There were no material differences in Claimant’s expenditures in the months (March and April 2018) before the non-payment by Respondent, during the month of payment default (May 2018), and after the month of non-payment (June 2018). The following evidences are tendered to show no material differences in expenditures by cash withdrawals and credit card spendings [Exhibit E]:
· Claimant’s statements of account from UOB account from March to June.
· Claimant’s credit card statements from Standard Chartered Bank from March to June.
· Credit card statements from Bank of China for Claimant’s family member who did groceries shopping from May to July (the 3 months history available).