Singapore - Changes To The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act Passed On 13 September 2016.
Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - Singapore - Competition & Antitrust
5 October, 2016
SPRING Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore, has been appointed as the administering agency for the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act ("CPFTA") to investigate and take enforcement action against errant retailers.
The CPFTA aims to protect consumers from unfair trade practices, and applies to most consumer transactions. The recent changes, which came into force on 13 September 2016, were prompted by the slew of consumer complaints against mobile phone shops in Sim Lim Square. Following a public consultation reported in a previous client alert here, the changes to the CPFTA have since been enacted.
The amendments aim to stamp out errant retailers and offer greater protection to consumers. They include, amongst others:
(a) Empowering SPRING Singapore to search and enter the premises without a warrant to gather evidence against a persistent errant retailer, allowing the agency to quickly file an injunction if necessary;
(b) The imposition of criminal sanctions against errant retailers who do not comply with the court orders and anyone who obstructs SPRING's investigations;
(c) The requirement that errant retailers alert customers that they are under an injunction, such as by printing a notice on their invoices; and
(d) The requirement that retailers alert SPRING when there are changes to their shop's address or employment status, failing which they may be charged with contempt of court.
The Consumers Association of Singapore ("CASE") and the Singapore Tourism Board ("STB") will remain the first point of contact for local consumers and tourists respectively to handle complaints. CASE or STB may refer complaints regarding persistent errant retailers to SPRING, who will have investigative powers under the new law.
More information can be found in SPRING's press release here.
For further information, please contact:
Andy Leck, Principal, Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow