Consumers complaints reached a record high in 2013, Case reports

The number of consumer complaints reached a record high last year, with 29.254 complaints received by the Consumers Association of Singapore, an increase of 13.7 per cent from 2012. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TED CHEN
The number of consumer complaints reached a record high last year, with 29.254 complaints received by the Consumers Association of Singapore, an increase of 13.7 per cent from 2012. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TED CHEN

The number of consumer complaints reached a record high last year, with 29.254 complaints received by the Consumers Association of Singapore, an increase of 13.7 per cent from 2012.

Topping the list of industries that received the most complaints was the motorcars industry with 3,302 complaints, a 46.4 per cent increase from the year before.

The electrical and electronics, beauty, handphones and furniture industries rounded up the top five spots.

In a press release, the consumer watchdog said the rise in the number of complaints "does not necessarily mean that business standards have fallen".

"A number of factors could have contributed to the figures, including greater willingness and empowerment by consumers to complain, higher expectations of quality services and lower tolerance for poor business practices within the industry," said Case.

A majority of the complaints about the motorcar industry were about defective vehicles. In 2012, unsatisfactory services were the cause of most complaints.

Case attributed the large jump in the number of complaints in this industry to the fact that Certificate of Entitlement (COE) of new cars have been rising. This resulted in consumers buying more second-hand cars which are generally less costly but more prone to defects.

Case also highlighted the travel industry, saying that it remained an area of concern despite the number of complaints falling from 1,436 to 1,378.

Most complaints centred around unsatisfactory services and requests for refunds. In the wake of the sudden closure of Five Stars Tours which left a large number of customers in the lurch, Case is working on implementing an insurance scheme for its CaseTrust accredited travel agencies. This will ensure that consumers will be insured if a travel agency closes down without warning.

Last year, Case successfully helped to resolve 77.5 per cent of the complaints handled and helped consumers recover more than $2.35 million.

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments