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Changes to consumer law will also better protect against errant contractors

Changes to consumer law will also better protect against errant contractors

We refer to the letters asking for consumer protection legislation to cover the renovation industry ("More measures needed to protect consumers from bogus contractors"; June 24 and "More consumer protection laws in renovation industry needed"; June 22).

The Consumer Protection ( Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) protects consumers against unfair practices by goods and services suppliers, including renovation contractors.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) reviews the CPFTA regularly to ensure that it remains relevant and offers consumers adequate protection.

The MTI recently launched a public consultation on the proposed CPFTA amendments to strengthen the measures that may be taken against errant retailers, including contractors, who persist in unfair trading practices. The month-long consultation ended on June 15.

The respondents supported the proposed amendments, namely for the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING Singapore) to be appointed as the CPFTA's administering agency and for SPRING to be given investigative and enforcement powers.

This would enable SPRING to gather evidence and take out court injunctions against business entities and individuals who engage in unfair practices.

Contributors also supported the additional measures the courts may impose on errant retailers, such as requiring them to publicise injunction orders and notify SPRING of changes to their entity and employment status.

This would allow SPRING to monitor errant retailers and prevent them from sidestepping injunction orders by setting up new entities to continue with unfair trading practices.

The proposed CPFTA changes aim to provide greater protection for consumers and enable them to make informed buying decisions.

Consumers who require assistance or have feedback on unfair practices should approach the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which remain the first point of contact for consumers and tourists respectively.

The STB and Case would assist consumers through mediation and/ or voluntary compliance agreements. Consumers can also file a claim for compensation and recourse to the Small Claims Tribunal or the courts.

The MTI thanks all stakeholders and members of the public who participated in the consultation exercise. We will consider the feedback when finalising the amendments.

The CPFTA (Amendment) Bill is targeted to be tabled in Parliament by year end.

 

Mrs Cindy Keng
Director, Corporate Communications Division
Ministry of Trade and Industry

 

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