A business owner in Singapore retaliated against a social media influencer who allegedly took her brand’s money and products without posting sponsored content.
In a Facebook post on April 13, Trixie Khong, owner of local jewelry brand By Invite Only, warned others of Elaine Heng, an Instagram personality with some 83,000 followers on the platform.
According to Khong, she invited Heng to work on sponsored content to be promoted on her Instagram, but the latter just dropped off the face of the earth after getting her payment and sample products. The first post was supposedly uploaded on March 6.
“All communications are good up to the point I paid her,” Khong wrote. “I paid it in full within a few days and was the price she quoted. Even sent her the products and then she [went] MIA for three to four weeks!”
“Eventually I gave up and asked for our money and products back via email and text. No response. Commented on her IG to get back to us. Got back saying that she will pay us back ‘soon.’
“Finally, I resorted to commenting on her latest post with the truth of the money and products owed and she immediately texted me back. It was so epic that I got a ‘lol’ from her. #mademyday that I can screenshot this.”
Khong shared screenshots of their earlier conversations:
Khong’s post quickly went viral on Facebook, and as it turned out, others came forward to share their own experiences with Heng.
On April 14, Khong updated the post to announce that Heng had reached out to pay back in full and a request to take her post down. She refused to “warn fellow brand owners.”
“Elaine has reached out to me and paid me back in full and an additional $100 [Singapore dollars] ($76.35) for the products this morning. She requested that I take this post down but I will not be doing so.”
“My intention of this post is to warn fellow brand owners or people who engage influencers as part of their job. It is definitely not meant to be a bribe to get my money back. Getting my money back is such a bonus as I was prepared to lose it completely. My last message to her will be thank you and good luck.”
That very evening, Heng did a live video to take a jab on Khong’s products, saying that she was “very shocked” of their quality. In her defense, she claimed that she refrained from posting to maintain credibility.
Heng claimed that she wanted to ask for a refund and return the products, but her busy schedule — which reportedly involved travels to places with no Wi-Fi — prevented her from corresponding.
“Elaine just went to did a live video saying our products are bad and probably played the victim (again). If my quality or product is ‘shit’ and you as an influencer decided not to post, the action should be to contact the brand, explain your POV and refund the payment. Not delay and ignore our replies.
“So I have added some more screenshots of her agreeing to post on two occasions and then the screenshots of her this morning with her apology and her bank transfer back to us. I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire and decided not to publish these screenshots but since she decided to proceed I have nothing to hide.”By April 16, Heng posted a lengthy apology on Instagram:
“I don’t deny many of the alleged accusations. Yes, some were taken out of context and dramatised to put me in negative light, but some parts of it were true. This is something I admit and I am truly sorry. As such, I would like to take the initiative to formally apologise.
“Firstly, I acknowledge having a busy schedule on my part, does not warrant a delay in payments. For this, I apologise and will focus on improving my work ethic.
“Secondly, I should have handled conflict with a better attitude. I was angry and hurt but I should not have responded in such a spiteful manner.
“In future, I will be more mindful of how I treat others.”
By now, many of you would have heard of the latest ‘Elaine Jasmine Saga’. A jewellery business owner posted an expose about me and the unfortunate encounter we had while working together a few weeks ago. – To be honest, I initially refrained from commenting on the issue because I felt it was unnecessary as I always believed that issues can be solved by communicating directly with the other party, instead of taking the matter publicly online- it wouldn’t reflect well on either side. – However, the matter quickly blew up as the owner’s post soon started spreading. Aside from the post, other brand owners added comments and screenshots which showed other instances of when I displayed similar behaviour. – I don’t deny many of the alleged accusations. Yes, some were taken out of context and dramatised to put me in negative light, but some parts of it were true. This is something I admit and I am truly sorry. As such, I would like to take the initiative to formally apologise: – Firstly, I acknowledge having a busy schedule on my part, does not warrant a delay in payments. For this, I apologise and will focus on improving my work ethic. – Secondly, I should have handled conflict with a better attitude. I was angry and hurt but I should not have responded in such a spiteful manner. In future, I will be more mindful of how I treat others. – I am truly sorry for my unprofessional behaviour and the unhappiness I have caused. It was never my intention to do so and it hurts me so much to see so much negativity created because of my mistake, even if most of the instances mentioned took place years ago when I was more naive and immature. – Thank you to those of you who have stood by me to encourage and advise me during this period, as well as friends/clients who have expressed their concern and continued faith in me despite everything. – Moving forward I hope to grow as a person and learn from this encounter. I will do my utmost best to prevent such issues from arising again. – Love, Elaine Jasmine