Shop in peace under scheme

SINGAPORE - Consumers in Singapore can expect more buyer protection as the direct-selling industry welcomes an accreditation scheme aimed at fostering fairer standards of business conduct.

Yesterday, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) and the Direct Selling Association of Singapore (DSAS) signed a memorandum of understanding for a voluntary joint-accreditation scheme at an event at Safra Toa Payoh.

Under the scheme, member companies will commit to consumer-friendly policies, such as the right to cancel a contract during a seven-day cooling-off period for a full refund, as well as ethical selling practices.

The scheme will address common problems, such as pressure-selling and the elderly being taken advantage of during door-to-door sales.

Case said that it has received 41 cases of complaints about direct selling from 2010 till last month.

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon told My Paper that misrepresentation is among the top three complaints made by consumers about direct selling.

He stressed that direct sellers have a "responsibility" to adhere to the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, which states that it is an unfair practice for a retailer to make false or misleading claims.

Yesterday, 19 DSAS members, including Tupperware Singapore and Qnet, pledged to join the non-mandatory scheme.

Case and DSAS hope to launch the scheme officially within the next nine months.

Case president Lim Biow Chuan said: "Customers patronising such accredited companies will be able to shop in peace knowing that there are clear fee policies in place, well-defined systems and practices, as well as well-trained personnel."

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