Set up hotline for consumers to report shops that overcharge

While it is heartwarming to note that the Government will do its part to help alleviate people's cost-of-living concerns, I wonder how this will be possible when there is no mechanism to control price increases.

An average plate of chicken rice costs between $3.50 and $4, which is a bit expensive for people with lower incomes and retirees.

A cup of coffee priced $1 a year ago now costs $1.20 in most coffee shops.

Recently, I was at a confectionery outlet in the heartland when I set my eyes on some special mooncake promotion items. What shocked me was that a small bun made of yam and watermelon seeds had an $8.80 price tag.

I wonder if agencies such as the Retail Price Watch Group and the Consumers Association of Singapore are aware of the problem of overcharging by unscrupulous shop owners.

In Malaysia, a restaurateur was slapped with a RM30,000 (S$9,970) fine or six months' jail under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 for selling iced Milo at an unreasonably excessive price (Malaysia eatery boss fined over 'expensive' iced Milo; Sept 9).

This came after the Malaysian Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry acted on a complaint lodged by a consumer.

As a deterrent to other would-be profiteers, consumers across the Causeway are advised to report to the ministry if they encounter cases of excessive overcharging in future.

Perhaps the relevant agencies here can do likewise by setting up a hotline for the public so that unfair pricing can be stamped out.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2018, with the headline 'Set up hotline for consumers to report shops that overcharge'. Print Edition | Subscribe