Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry in light of reports on sales persons marketing so-called "freebie" bags to senior citizens (a) whether the Ministry will investigate these vendors to assess if they are using deception to sell their wares; and (b) whether the Ministry will work with other Government agencies and the Consumers Association of Singapore to look into any loopholes in the law that needs a review.
- We are aware of recent reports of sales persons attracting passersby to their booths by using offers of free gifts and thereafter marketing certain products to them.
- If consumers have reason to believe that these suppliers have engaged in practices such as pressure-selling or false claims, they can approach the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) with details of these practices for CASE to assist them in seeking redress from the suppliers. The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) provides consumers protection against unfair practices such as false claims and pressure selling. Under the CPFTA, CASE can invite suppliers to cease their unfair practices through a Voluntary Compliance Agreement. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, as the administering agency of the CPFTA, is also empowered with investigation and enforcement powers to take action against errant retailers which persist in unfair practices.
- Consumers are also encouraged to take pre-emptive measures to protect themselves against unfair practices. For example, they can check the reputation of the supplier, ask questions about the products and examine the products before making the purchase. CASE will also continue to educate consumers to be alert to the free gifts sales tactics through its outreach efforts.