Stepped-up spot checks on home appliances

A sign (above) reminding consumers to look out for the accuracy label in measuring instruments used by retailers. Certis Cisco officers inspect safety marks on household appliances at the Courts Tampines Megastore (right).
Certis Cisco officers inspect safety marks on household appliances at the Courts Tampines Megastore (above).ST PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN
A sign (above) reminding consumers to look out for the accuracy label in measuring instruments used by retailers. Certis Cisco officers inspect safety marks on household appliances at the Courts Tampines Megastore (right).
A sign (above) reminding consumers to look out for the accuracy label in measuring instruments used by retailers. ST PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN

Spring checks for safety marks, as well as accuracy labels on weighing scales

The steamboat pot you use for the upcoming Chinese New Year reunion dinner should carry a safety mark to show that it has been tested to meet safety standards.

Spring Singapore, the regulatory body for consumer product safety and weights and measures, is stepping up spot checks on household products and weighing instruments this year, particularly over the festive season.

Yesterday, officers conducted checks on weighing instruments at Giant supermarket and on household products at furniture store Courts in Tampines, although no lapses were found at either store.

Electrical and gas appliances as well as electronic products here, which fall under 45 categories of controlled goods, must display a safety mark.These include microwave ovens, kettles and adaptors.

Measuring instruments used by retailers must have a visible accuracy label.

GOOD TO CHECK

Usually I assume the weight on the item's price tag is accurate. It's good that the authorities are checking the weighing scales so we won't be cheated.

MADAM KOH SIOK LUANG, a retiree, welcoming the spot checks conducted by Spring Singapore.

Last year, Spring checked 832 retailers and suppliers, and 8,142 measuring instruments. It fined 46 retailers who flouted the rules, up from 26 in 2014.

Mr Jack Teng, Spring's director of consumer protection, weights and measures, said the increase was due to targeted spot checks on new products in the market. Items commonly found without a safety mark include three-pin plugs and adaptors. This is usually because retailers are not aware that they are controlled goods.

At Giant, its weighing instruments are checked by Spring once a year. Its operations director Maheswaran Thambunathan said: "It's critical that our customers get what they pay for."

Spring aims to increase the number of spot checks this year to cover 1,200 retailers and suppliers, and 12,000 instruments.

Selling controlled goods without the safety mark is an offence. The maximum penalty for infringement is a $10,000 fine and two years in jail. Those using weighing and measuring instruments without the accuracy label for trade can be fined up to $2,000.

But some consumers say they are not worried about being overcharged by retailers who use inaccurate weighing scales.

Housewife Chong Chong Fong, 55, who bought groceries at Giant yesterday, said: "I buy from shops that I trust, so I've never thought that I'll be cheated. Anyway, the vegetables I'm buying cost $4 a kg, how much money can they cheat from me?"

Madam Koh Siok Luang, 62, a retiree, said: "Usually I assume the weight on the item's price tag is accurate. It's good that the authorities are checking the weighing scales so we won't be cheated."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Stepped-up spot checks on home appliances'. Print Edition | Subscribe