CCCS and the Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act
The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act or CPFTA was designed to empower consumers to seek civil redress against unfair trade practices in Singapore.
Under the CPFTA, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) remain the first points of contact for local consumers and tourists respectively to handle complaints. They will assist aggrieved consumers to obtain redress, and in some cases, compensation through negotiation and/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 insome cases, compensate affected local consumers or tourists. Errant retailers who persist in unfair trade practices will be referred to CCCS for investigation.
As the administering agency, CCCS will gather evidence against persistent errant retailers, file timely injunction applications with the courts against persistent errant retailers and enforce compliance with injunction orders issued by the courts. CCCS will take on cases of persistent errant retailers engaging in unfair trade practices.
More examples of unfair trade practices were included in the Second Schedule of the CPFTA. Some of these examples are when a supplier accepts payment from consumers despite knowing it is unable to supply goods and services within a specified and/or reasonable period or when a supplier asks for payment for the supply of unsolicited goods and services. The list of unfair trade practices set out in the Second Schedule is not exhaustive.
If the supplier under injunction does not comply with the injunction order, CCCS can take the supplier to court for contempt of court. This is a criminal offence which could result in a fine and/or imprisonment. A person who refuses to provide information, destroy/falsify documents, provide false/misleading info and/or obstruct an officer conducting the investigation/enforcement could be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both.