Clamp down on shop owners who falsify original prices of sale items

A store in Potong Pasir Avenue that is said to have put up a "closing down sale" sign since November 2017.
A store in Potong Pasir Avenue that is said to have put up a "closing down sale" sign since November 2017.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

It is time to come down hard on fake sales and fictitious pricing (Sales that never end could soon come to an end, Sept 2).

A set of guidelines on price transparency to be developed by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) is a step in the right direction, albeit long overdue.

When shopping during a big sale, it pays for the buyer to avoid falling victim to a fictitious discounted offer by never taking the price displayed at face value.

Going by anecdotal evidence, it is good for the buyer to be circumspect and not always trust the original or usual price listed by the shop.

For instance, a sofa set supposedly priced previously at $800 is on sale for $500, giving the shopper a $300 discount. But the actual original price tag may well have been $600, so the customer actually saves only $100.

It is difficult to assume that the quoted sale price is really good value. The only way to know if one is getting a good deal is to compare prices at various retailers over time.

I have come across stores whose discounted prices for certain items are higher than the normal prices of similar merchandise sold by other retailers.

So one urgent task for the CCCS is to deal with unscrupulous store owners who falsify the original prices of items, marking up the prices before they are marked down for big sale events.

These traders, if left unchecked, may hurt Singapore's retail industry and the country's reputation as a shopping destination for tourists.

It is important for the CCCS to not only develop guidelines on discounts and price comparisons, but also ensure that businessmen comply with the rules.

The CCCS would do well to work closely with the Singapore Retailers Association and the Consumers Association of Singapore when drawing up guidelines that are beneficial to both consumers and store operators.

Such a concerted effort will go a long way towards enhancing Singapore's reputation as a shopping paradise.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2019, with the headline 'Clamp down on shop owners who falsify original prices of sale items'. Print Edition | Subscribe