Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir SMC: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) whether there are any plans to regulate the quantum and/or length of prepayment schemes offered by businesses identified to be most at risk of default.
- Given the wide range of businesses that offer prepayment schemes, it is challenging to impose broad-based measures that would protect consumers against loss of prepayments. Also, such measures would inevitably raise the cost of doing business which would be passed on to consumers. Most overseas jurisdictions also recognise these challenges and generally do not impose broad-based prepayment protection measures.
- However, our government agencies are studying the need and scope for targeted sector-specific measures to protect consumers against the loss of their prepayments. The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) has also worked with industry associations to develop CaseTrust accreditation schemes for specific industries including spa & wellness, renovation and motor workshops. The majority of these industry-specific schemes offer prepayment protection for consumers and we encourage consumers to patronise CaseTrust accredited businesses.
- In general, our approach to consumer protection is to promote fair trading practices and to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions including those that involve prepayments.