Anti-profiteering task force a good idea

I do not agree with the refrain "consumers should make their choice and decide who to patronise" when complaints are made about businesses that raise their prices (Case to watch out for profiteering from water-price hike; April 4).

While that statement makes sense in a free market situation, practising it on the ground is a different matter altogether.

The response comes across as a convenient rejoinder to the subject of profiteering .

As an example, for a same-size glass of coffee or tea, one could pay 80 cents at a hawker centre in Hougang Avenue 1, $1 at another hawker centre at the Tampines Round Market, and $1.20 at a neighbourhood coffee shop in Tampines Street 81.

If the consumer is at the neighbourhood coffee shop and wants coffee, does he really have a choice?

It is hard to tell if it is a case of having higher overheads or one of wanton profiteering.

I fully support the setting up of an anti-profiteering task force.

It is time consumers are treated with fairness and respect, and not be reminded that they should exercise their right to choose which shop to patronise.

Chia Yong Soong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2017, with the headline 'Anti-profiteering task force a good idea'. Print Edition | Subscribe