Case: 190 cases mediated signify a 52 per cent increase

MORE consumers and companies have chosen to go for mediation last year to settle disputes between them through the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), with the amount of money it helped to claim back for consumers remaining steady.

Some 190 cases were mediated last year, a 52 per cent increase from 125 in 2014, Case said yesterday.

There was also a rise in the number of resolved cases from 94 in 2014 to 145 last year, the consumer watchdog added. This meant the resolution rate for mediated cases rose slightly from 75.2 per cent to 76.3 per cent last year.

The amount Case helped to recoup for consumers last year dropped very slightly by 0.4 per cent to $438,121 from $439,701 in 2014.

Case said the rise in the number of mediation cases and slight increase in the resolution rate "is encouraging because it shows that more consumers and businesses are willing to explore alternative dispute resolution as a way to resolve their disputes".

The sector that had the highest number of cases mediated last year was the contractor industry, followed by the beauty and motorcar sectors. In 2014, the motorcar sector was No. 1.

The complaints for the contractor industry were generally on delays in completion of works and poor workmanship.

For the beauty industry, it was pressure selling tactics and the ineffectiveness of treatments.

Defective cars bought was the top reason behind most of the complaints for the motorcar sector.

The electronics industry also had the largest spike in the number of mediated cases last year, though it still trailed behind the motorcar sector.

Case president Lim Biow Chuan said it "strongly encourages consumers and businesses to consider mediation as an alternative form of dispute resolution".

"Case mediation is a simpler, inexpensive and faster alternative to litigation.

"Each party is able to have a greater say in the negotiations and more control over the outcome of the mediation.

"Furthermore, all mediation cases and settlement will be kept confidential at the end of each session and are out of the public eye."

Get MyPaper for more stories.