JOHOR BARU - The Consumer Claims Tribunal was set up to allow consumers to file claims in a speedy and inexpensive manner.
But it has seen some really strange cases.
And one of the weirdest was when a man complained about a bomoh who apparently did not live up to the promise of chasing away spirits haunting his ailing father.
The 40-year-old complainant sought the tribunal's help as he wanted a refund from the bomoh.
The bomoh had claimed that the 70-something father was tormented by nine different spirits.
"The 'bomoh' charged RM90 (S$30) for each exorcism to free the man's father of the spirits.
"So, the family forked out RM810 to the 'bomoh' to get rid of the nine spirits," Johor tribunal head Samuel Mut John Brody said in an interview.
As it turned out, Samuel said the bomoh failed to cure the man's father even after nine treatments.
"The man said his father's condition worsened and he died a few months later."
The family went to the tribunal seeking a refund for the non-delivery of service.
The tribunal had to strike out the case as it was out of its jurisdiction.
Samuel explained that exorcism was considered an alternative service and that the bomoh did not register his business with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).
Samuel said the tribunal recorded an increase in the number of claimants who filed reports for all sorts of odd cases.
For example, he said there had been cases of people looking for their spouses.
One claimant sought for the smallest amount recorded in the tribunal's history - 10 sen - for a car service-related case last year.
In May this year, a woman, in her 40s, wanted a refund from a private investigator whom she had hired for RM1,500 to search for her missing husband.
She claimed the investigator not only did not locate her husband, he also disappeared with the money.
Samuel said the case could not be heard by the tribunal as the private investigator had failed to respond to a notice to appear for the hearing.
He, too, was not registered with SSM.
The tribunal had to filter the cases it received to avoid cases that were out of its jurisdiction, he said.
He urged consumers to check the seller's company registration number, identification documents, full name and other details before purchasing goods or services to prevent from getting duped.
Consumers can claim for their rights whenever they feel that they have received inadequate services from the seller or service providers, he added.