I thank Mr Cheang Peng Wah for his letter (Case found to be wanting yet again; July 4).
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) work closely with Case, which plays a key role in championing consumer education and raising consumer awareness on prepayment protection.
The Government's approach to consumer protection is based on promoting fair trading by businesses and helping consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. In practice, Case helps consumers to resolve disputes with businesses through negotiation and mediation. This approach has benefited consumers and businesses, and has helped resolve disagreements between businesses and consumers amicably.
The sudden closure of oBike in Singapore is unfortunate. While collecting prepayments is a common business practice worldwide and is not an unfair practice in itself, Case has communicated to oBike that it is still contractually obligated to provide a refund to consumers if they are unable to deliver the bicycle-sharing service. Case and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will continue to engage oBike on fulfilling its responsibilities to its users.
Moving forward, the LTA will study the need for bike sharing operators to place a security deposit or performance bond if there are operators which require user deposits when the licensing regime is implemented in October.
MTI and CCCS will continue to work with Case and relevant agencies to ensure that our consumer protection regime remains robust, balancing regulatory costs on businesses and consumers' interest.
Lim Weilin (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications Division,
Ministry of Trade and Industry