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Tackling Errant Retailers

In this edition of the Views from the Top column, the topic focused on what can be done to weed out rogue retailers and further protect consumer interests. Here are some suggestions from Achieve Group CEO Joshua Yim, as quoted in The Business Times: 

“On a national level, such rogue retailers give Singapore a bad name, especially when tourists are involved in such disputes. The small proportion of these errant businesses has the power to tarnish the reputation of the country and it is very unfair to other businesses that operate above-board with good business practices. I believe that harsher punishments need to be meted out to the perpetrators because if the consequences are too light, they will not curb their errant ways. We need to devise severe mechanisms and heavier penalties to take these individuals to task.

One possibility is to institute a demerit point system in which retailers are allowed only a maximum number of complaints. Beyond the limit, their trading licence will be revoked. Depending on how serious the offence is, levying heavy fines is another option. And if these don’t work to curb the unscrupulous practices, maybe jail-time could be considered for repeat offenders. But let’s try the first two options for a start and see if the situation improves. Unfortunately, I know from personal experience that the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) has got no teeth to bite. In Singapore’s legal system, the Small Claims Tribunals has the power to pass judgement and order individuals to pay up monies owed. To better protect consumer interests, perhaps CASE should also be given that sort of power and authority to state their position, pass judgement and ensure justice is served.”

Source : The Business Times, 24 November 2014