So, what is going to happen to Mobile Air, the shop in Sim Lim Square which has been in the news in recent days for allegedly dishonest dealings with its customers?
The spotlight on this has fallen on the watchdog Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).
For the moment, at least, it seems that all it can do is to highlight these errant companies to the public, such as pasting posters at Sim Lim Square itself.
When contacted by the media, Lim Biow Chuan, the president of CASE, said “Case is limited by current legislation and that they can take only civil action such as issuing court orders against such companies”, as he was reported by the Straits Times on Thursday.
Nonetheless, he added that CASE “will continue to work with the management of Sim Lim Square to highlight errant retailers to the public.”
The executive director of CASE, Seah Seng Choon, said “CASE has invited Mobile Air to sign a Voluntary Compliance agreement (VCA) and will take legal action if they refuse to do so.” (TODAY)
Mr Seah said CASE will continue to keep a “close watch” on the practices of Sim Lim Square shops.
In the meantime, Mr Lim and Member of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa, are looking to push for tougher regulation and more powers to deal with errant retailers.
Mr Liang told the Straits Times that he found the current situation unacceptable.
“I believe more can be done to improve the practices and ultimately the image and reputation of our retailers,” said Mr Liang, who is also the chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry.
As for Mr Lim, he said he will be raising questions in Parliament, including about whether the police can look more closely into complaints against these retailers. (Straits Times)
According to Mr Lim, the police can prosecute a retailer if it is suspected of a criminal breach of the law, in instances such as cheating.
In the meantime, however, members of the public have accused CASE of being ineffectual when it comes to assisting aggrieved consumers.
To this, Mr Seah said “the association works behind the scenes and will take appropriate action when necessary.”