Sim Lim saga: Whistleblowers, cooling off period, grading system can help victims, say ST readers

Straits Times readers offer suggestions on how to curb fraudulent practices by retailers after the recent furore over unscrupulous sales tactics at Sim Lim Square. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Straits Times readers offer suggestions on how to curb fraudulent practices by retailers after the recent furore over unscrupulous sales tactics at Sim Lim Square. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - The Straits Times has received a flurry of suggestions from readers on how to curb fraudulent practices by retailers after the recent furore over unscrupulous sales tactics at Sim Lim Square.

Mr Matthew Ong thinks that Sim Lim Square management should take a more proactive approach. He proposes that the management start a whistle-blower programme for employees to report unsavoury practices.

He also thinks the mall should refuse to rent shop units to businesses that have a track record of fleecing their customers, or even stop them from getting a business permit.

Mr Sean Chan suggests a grading system for retailers, similar to what food stalls get for their hygiene.

Mr Wilfred Ling says the Government should impose a one-day cooling off period, in which consumers have the right for a full refund without reason.

Other suggestions focused on improving the avenues of recourse for victims.

Mr Ong Tiong Meng suggests the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) to set up a booth at Sim Lim Square and Lucky Plaza to help address disputes between the shops, and tourists immediately.

Ms Anna Quek writes that "It seems that, for too long, the authorities and Case have put the onus on consumers to take care of themselves".

She suggests having a channel with "legal bite" to deter dishonest shopowners.

Ms Priscilla Poh wants victims to be able to get a refund without having to resort to the hassle and costs of civil proceedings.

The letters also expressed sympathy for the unsuspecting victims, who tend to be foreign workers and tourists, and concern that the reputation of Singapore as a tourist destination has been damaged.

chuimin@sph.com.sg