Useful for Case to look into online sale of counterfeits

I read with great interest that the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) will be helping consumers seek recourse for defective products purchased online ("Case to focus on errant online retailers: New chief"; Jan 18).

An important and topical issue that was not touched upon concerns the rampant sale of counterfeit and pirated products online.

This issue was extensively covered in the press recently. For instance, in the context of the Office of the US Trade Representative placing Alibaba's Taobao back on its annual blacklist of "Notorious Markets", citing an unacceptably high level of reported counterfeiting and piracy ("Alibaba's Taobao back on US market blacklist"; Dec 23, 2016).

Unfortunately, Singapore is not exempt from this problem and local online platforms often list replica and pirated products for sale, either openly or in a covert manner (that is, what you see is not what is sent to you when you make a purchase).

There are few avenues for recourse open to victims of such scams, and it would be useful if Case could consider this issue in its policy formulations too.

In doing so, Case may want to consult local companies, such as Strategic IP Information (Sipi), that are actively involved in seeking to address the problem.

Sipi recently helped me deal with a spurious purchase I had inadvertently made online, and I am glad that such a resource is available to consumers and business interests locally.

Carl Athayde

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'Useful for Case to look into online sale of counterfeits'. Subscribe