CASE: Consumer protection laws may not apply if consumers agree to a business’s request to visit their homes

Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) has announced in an advisory on Thursday (4 January) that consumer protection laws may not apply if consumers agree to a business's request to visit their homes to promote their goods or services.

The Singapore's consumer watchdog stated that it handled 117 complaints involving door-to-door sales between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2017, adding that 30 percent said that they had accepted a business's request to visit their homes in exchange for gifts from the figure.

CASE stated that by accepting a business's request for a home visit, the visit is now said to be solicited and stressed that consumer protection laws only cover unsolicited visits.

Under the current consumer protection laws, consumers can cancel a direct sales contract within five working days from the date of signing of the contract. However, consumers should note that this only applies to unsolicited visits from businesses whereby businesses visit a customer's home without the customer's request.

CASE also stressed that in the case of an unsolicited visit, the consumer can cancel the contract by delivering a notice to the business either personally, via post or through fax.

CASE advises consumers who have already invited businesses to their homes to take several protective measures, which include:

  • Verifying the legitimacy of the business through identification documents;
  • Exercising their right to turn down an agreement;
  • Calling the police if the company's representative refuses to leave the house;
  • Receiving a copy of the full sales agreement;
  • Buying from CaseTrust-Direct Selling Association of Singapore (DSAS) accredited businesses.