By Tiffany Gwee
Earlier this month, Singapore-based business and lifestyle blogger Ms. Grace Tan recently blogged about receiving a letter in the mail from a company known as ‘Singapore Company Register’. Her blog post is entitled “Singapore Company Register – Business Owners BEWARE!”
The company asked for “verification” of her website. It stated in the mail that if she does not verify her information in 2 weeks, the company’s information “will be deleted from the Singapore Company Register database”.
To her disgust, she found out that the company “is a directory site trying to get companies to register with it for S$490 per year to get listed on the site”.
Ms. Grace attached a copy of the letter she received as shown below.
Not the Only One
Ms. Tan seems to be only one of many who received the same mail asking for registration. Just late last year, local newspapers reported about “an entity calling itself the Singapore Company Register” requesting for verification of details of various businesses and companies.
However, national regulator of business entities and public accountants ACRA had stated that it has “no links whatsoever” to the entity regarding this matter. They also mentioned that companies are “not obliged” to provide details to them and should only update their information with ACRA themselves.
The Singapore Company Register seems to be making its rounds again even after ACRA had firmly declared that the company is not part of them.
In Ms. Tan’s blog post about the incident, she expressed much discontent with the situation as she alleged that the company might not be conducting their business in a legal, ethical and moral way.
“Tsk tsk. Why some people do business this way, I know not."..."I can’t believe ACRA is letting this company continue to send out letters like that.”
Demanding the Removal of Post
Just yesterday, Ms. Tan received a lawyer’s letter sent to her by lawyers representing the company “Data Register Pte Ltd”, previously known as “Company Register Pte Ltd”.
In the letter, the company demanded for her blog post (entitled “Singapore Company Register – Business Owners BEWARE!”) to be taken down as the postings “are highly defamatory” to the company.
It states that there is “little or no basis” for her to suggest that the company is doing business in a way which is not legal, ethical or moral”.
Other than the removal of the post, the company also demanded an apology to be published on her blog, “as well as any other websites (she) has made the defamatory statements on”. The company has also asked for her to inform those whom she is aware “have read the posting” about the apology.
She is to give a reply as to whether she will comply with the demands of the company or not by 5pm today.
Not Complying with Demand
In an email to the media, Ms. Tan clearly expressed her stance on the issue.
“I will not comply with their demand. I abhor such unethical business practice - its threat of "company information" deletion has already caused many to register online without realizing that the company is not linked to ACRA, and that a deletion would essentially have zero repercussion on any company's operations.”
CAD to Investigate
After informing ACRA about the company, they have informed Ms. Tan that the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) “is now investigating this company”. She has also made a police report and personally wrote to CAD. ACRA had also warned against people registering with the company and has filed a total of 78 charges against the company.
Ms. Tan encouraged all who have been "harassed" via the issuance or demands for payment or "misled" by the company letters to either lodge a police report online here or write in to the CAD to inquire about the status of its investigation.
A letter regarding her situation had also been sent out to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Minister Lim Hng Kiang, Mr. Patrick Tay and Ms. Penny Low.