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Written reply to PQ on safeguarding consumers in heartlands

Written reply to PQ on safeguarding consumers in heartlands

Questions

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry what measures are being taken to safeguard consumers, especially the elderly, from rogue hair salons engaging in pressure sales tactics in our HDB heartlands.

Written Answer by Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing

1. There are considerable measures to safeguard consumers from pressure sales tactics. Such unfair practices that exert undue pressure or influence on consumers to enter into transactions involving goods or services are prohibited under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA). Consumers can report these unethical practices to the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and seek their advice and assistance in obtaining a redress from the suppliers.

2. Under the CPFTA, CASE may ask a supplier who has engaged in, or is engaging or likely to engage in an unfair practice, to enter into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) and stop such actions. The supplier may also be required to compensate any consumer who has suffered loss or damage as a result of the unfair practice, as well as publicise the VCA. 

3. In addition, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), as the administering agency of the CPFTA, is armed with investigation and enforcement powers to file for a court injunction restraining a supplier that persists in unfair practices. 

4. Apart from a consumer advisory on its website about how to shop wisely for beauty-related products and services, CASE also publicly lists the names of companies in this industry that use aggressive pressure sales tactics. In addition, CASE regularly holds awareness talks for senior citizens to educate them on their consumer rights and how not to fall for pressure sales tactics. 

5. Furthermore, CASE works with industry associations to develop initiatives such the CASE Trust accreditation schemes for specific industries like the spa & wellness sector. To discourage heavy-handed sales tactics, the accreditation criteria for these industries include the need for sales staff to be trained in ethical sales practices.  

6. The Government will continue to monitor developments in this area and work with CASE and CCCS to ensure that the interests of consumers, especially our seniors,  are safeguarded.

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