Frequently Asked Questions

Role of the CCCS

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1. What is the mission of CCCS?

The mission of CCCS is 'Making markets work well to create opportunities and choices for businesses and consumers in Singapore'.

2. What is the role of CCCS vis-a-vis CASE and STB under 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 in some 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 is a statutory board under MTI whose previous mandate was to administer the Competition Act 2004. As of 1 April 2018, CCCS took on the role of administering the CPFTA. The complementary nature of competition and consumer protection work allows CCCS to better regulate and promote well-functioning markets.

3. What does CCCS do in administering and enforcing Singapore's competition law?

CCCS conducts investigations where there may be an infringement of one of the prohibitions of the Competition Act (the "Act"). It may also provide guidance or decisions on whether the prohibitions on anti-competitive agreements, abuse of a dominant position and mergers that substantially lessen competition have been infringed, i.e. sections 34, 47 and 54 of the Act respectively.

CCCS also advocates pro-competition policies within the Government, providing advice to Ministries, Statutory Boards and other public bodies. In addition, as part of its outreach activities and advocacy work, it explains the provisions of the Act to organisations, companies and other interested groups.

CCCS also undertakes market studies into markets of economic and strategic importance to Singapore to better understand the market conduct and competitive dynamics of these sectors.

Ultimately, a competitive marketplace will promote higher levels of price competitiveness, efficiency, innovation and quality of goods and services, and benefit all businesses and consumers alike.

4. Why is competition important?

Competition spurs businesses to be more efficient, innovative and responsive to consumer needs. This means more effective and optimal use of resources and greater productivity gains for the economy. The benefits, brought about by a competitive market, are in turn cascaded to consumers, who will enjoy more choices, lower prices, better and more innovative products and services.

5. Does CCCS provide legal advice?

CCCS does not provide legal advice. Businesses, trade associations or professional bodies which are unsure whether their business activities infringe the Competition Act can file Notifications for Decision or Guidance with CCCS.

CCCS will evaluate each case on the basis of its particular facts and circumstances before issuing a decision (binding) or guidance (non-binding). Pls refer to the 'Seeking Guidance and Decision' section for more details.

In addition, CCCS also publishes Guidelines on its website to assist businesses to comply with the Competition Act.

6. How will I know if a certain conduct or practice is likely to be anti-competitive?

Anti-competitive conduct or practices are likely to occur when businesses exchange commercially sensitive information with the intention of controlling or manipulating market conditions and behaviours, rather than allowing for free market forces to operate.

However, it should be noted that not all high price conditions stem from collusion or price fixing activities between businesses.

In this regard, CCCS does not regulate price levels or price increases in the market. Under the Competition Act, CCCS can investigate business conduct or practices that involve price increases where it has reasonable suspicion that such increases is a result of anti-competitive activities by one or more businesses.

7. If I have some competition concerns on business practices, which agency should I report it to?

Generally, such competition concerns should be reported to CCCS. You may file a complaint using the following online form.

Under the Third and Fourth Schedule of the Act, competition issues within certain sectors fall under the purview of their respective sectoral regulators. Concerns on business practices regarding these sectors should be directed to the respective sectoral regulators. (Please see Q16.7 for the sectors/activities excluded under the Third and Fourth Schedules and the respective sectoral regulators)

8. If prices are high, does that mean that businesses are profiteering or colluding?

Not all high price conditions stem from collusive activities such as price fixing between businesses.

CCCS does not regulate price levels or price increases in the market. Under the Competition Act, CCCS can investigate business conduct or practices that involve price increases where it has reasonable suspicion that such increases is a result of anti-competitive activities by one or more businesses.

9. Who should I approach if I am not sure whether my issue falls under a particular regulator or CCCS?

Cross-sectoral competition issues are expected to be the exception rather than the norm. As a rule of thumb, you should first check with the respective sector-specific regulator. (Please see Q16.7 for the respective sectoral regulators).

10. If an issue involves more than one sector, how will CCCS work with other regulatory agencies in resolving it?

Cross-sectoral competition issues will be dealt with by CCCS in consultation with the sector-specific regulators. CCCS and the sector-specific regulators will cooperate and coordinate closely to address the concerns raised. The lead agency will be the agency best placed in terms of the ability to investigate the alleged anti-competitive conduct and impose any necessary remedies.

11. What sort of activities will CCCS focus on as part of its enforcement strategy?

CCCS will pay greater attention to agreements, practices or conduct that are blatantly anti-competitive. This includes cartels involving price fixing, market-sharing and bid-rigging. Such behaviour run counter to the spirit of competition with little benefits and should not be condoned. CCCS will also focus on agreements, practices or conduct that has higher economic significance or consumer impact.