Frequently Asked Questions

Scope of the Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act

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1. What is the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act or CPFTA?

The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act or CPFTA was designed to empower consumers to seek civil redress against unfair trade practices in Singapore.

2. What constitutes an unfair practice?

According to Section 4 of the CPFTA, it is an unfair practice for the supplier, in relation to a consumer transaction:

  • To do or say anything, or omit to do or say anything, if as a result, a consumer might reasonably be deceived or misled;
  • To make a false claim;
  • To take advantage of a consumer if the supplier knows or ought reasonably to know that the consumer:
    • Is not in a position to protect his own interests. Eg, if the consumer is mentally handicapped;
    • Is not reasonably able to understand the character, nature, language or effect of the transaction or any matter related to the transaction; or
  • To commit any of the unfair practices specified in the Second Schedule of the CPFTA.

3. What are some examples of goods and services that are not covered under the CPFTA?

Some examples include:

  • Business-to-business dealings;
  • Sale and purchase of property (only claims against real estate agents for services rendered are covered); and
  • Contracts of employment.

4. What are some examples of cases that CCCS will undertake?

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.

5. What are the penalties for non-cooperation with CCCS’s investigations/enforcements?

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.

6. Can consumers go directly to CCCS to obtain redress/compensation

CASE/STB remain the first points of contact for local consumers and tourists respectively. They have readily available channels, such as online feedback forms, through which local consumers and tourists can obtain assistance. CASE/STB will assist them to obtain redress/compensation by negotiating with the supplier and/or facilitating mediation between parties. Local consumers/tourists can also approach the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) for claims of up to $10,000 (or $20,000 should both parties agree). Alternatively, the CPFTA provides consumers with the right to suesuppliers for engaging in unfair practices. This includes seeking monetary redress or other remedies/relief.

CCCS’s role is to

a) Gather evidence against persistent errant retailers;

b) File timely injunction applications with the courts against persistent errant retailers; and

c) Enforce compliance with injunction orders issued by the courts.

7. How do I lodge a complaint on an errant retailer for unfair trade practice?

You can lodge a complaint to CASE if you are a local consumer, or to STB if you are a tourist in Singapore. In addition, you may also choose to filed a claim with the SCT or sue the suppliers for engaging in unfair trade practices.

Reporting an errant retailer for unfair trade practice to CASE or STB, please ensure that you have the following documents:

- Police report (if any);

- Receipts / Invoice / Delivery order

- Other supporting documents

Errant retailers who persist in unfair trade practices will be referred to CCCS for investigation. As the administering agency, CCCS can 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.

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