Empower Case to better protect consumers

I READ with concern the letter from Mr Yeo Shuan Chee ("Protect man in the street better from dishonest business tactics"; May 30).

It is unfair, unfavourable and costly to consumers if all cases of dishonesty and cheating in business have to be settled by legal means.

This will not deter the dishonest behaviour of unscrupulous business vendors.

The recent reports of business fraud and cheating in the cosmetic, spa, private education, tour, and automotive sectors send an alarming message, and the authorities need to take a closer look into this issue.

The most important step to take is to strengthen legislation and penalties.

The most direct and efficient method is to empower the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), and give them greater power and flexibility to investigate, analyse, arbitrate and mediate cases.

In this way, cases that are not so serious, or come about due to a miscommunication, can be amicably settled.

In cases that involve deliberate cheating and fraud, and which involve many innocent victims,

Case or the CAD can sue the vendor in court or refer the case to the police.

This is to protect the interests of consumers and also safeguard the good reputation of Singapore as a world-class shopping paradise.

Teo Kueh Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2015, with the headline 'Empower Case to better protect consumers'. Print Edition | Subscribe