New amendments to the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) will now see persistent unscrupulous retailers being dealt with by Spring Singapore. Spring Singapore will have investigative and enforcement powers by the end of this year.
The enforcement powers will allow Spring to gather evidence against persistent errant retailers, file injunctions with the courts and enforce compliance with court orders. With this, Spring hopes to better safeguard consumer interest and will not affect the majority of businesses which engage in responsible trading practices.
The new amendments to the CPFTA will also enable the court to impose additional requirements on errant retailers. Under the new measures, retailer might also be asked to publicise that it is under injunction as well as notifying Spring of any changes to its entity and/or employment status. Not doing so will result in a criminal offense.
According to The Straits Times, the new laws will also extend to online purchases. Retailers and agents who act as the go-between for consumers and overseas suppliers are also subject to the new law. Marketing has reached out to Spring Singapore for a statement.
Meanwhile, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will remain the first points of contact for local consumers and tourists respectively to handle complaints.
The two will assist in obtaining redress as well as compensation through negotiation or mediation. Errant retailers may enter into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with CASE or STB, where they will agree in writing to stop the unfair practice, and compensate affected local consumers or tourists.CASE and STB will also continue consumer education and outreach efforts to enable consumers and tourists to make informed purchasing decisions.
This is not the first time local authorities have tried to put such laws in place. CASE was previously also looking to enforce rules and attempted to put into place the VCA or injunction against shady businesses, as owners of these shops were able to close their shop front and register under a new business identity. With the new move, CASE will now work closely with Spring to raise awareness among consumers and businesses on the amendments to the CPFTA.
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