The amendments to the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act or CPFTA, passed in Parliament on 13 September 2016, strengthen the civil actions to protect local consumers and tourists against the small number of errant retailers which engage in unfair trade practices. The majority of retailers in Singapore which engage in fair trade practices will not be affected by the amendments.
The main amendments to the CPFTA are:
SPRING Singapore will look into cases of errant retailers who persist in unfair trade practices. Specifically, it will be able to:
- Gather evidence against persistent errant retailers;
- File timely injunction applications with the courts; and
- Enforce compliance with injunction orders issued by the courts.
- The courts may impose additional requirements on errant retailers (entity or individual) to publicise that it is under injunction and notify SPRING of any changes to its entity and/or employment status. This will prevent errant retailers from side-stepping injunction orders, raise local consumers’ and tourists’ awareness of a retailer that is under an injunction order and allow SPRING to monitor the retailer’s compliance with the injunction order.
- The list of unfair trade practices in the Second Schedule of the CPFTA has been clarified to make it clear to businesses, local consumers and tourists on what constitutes unfair trade practices.
The amendments are targeted to come into effect by end-2016.
CASE and STB remain the first points of contact
- CASE and STB will remain as the first points of contact for local consumers and tourists respectively.
- CASE and STB will assist local consumers and tourists to obtain redress and/or compensation through negotiation and mediation. CASE and STB may also invite errant retailers to enter into Voluntary Compliance Agreements (VCA) to stop engaging in unfair trade practices, and in some cases, to compensate affected local consumers and tourists. Errant retailers who persist in unfair trade practices will be referred to SPRING for investigation.
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