Consumers have the right to cancel a direct sales (door-to-door) contract within five days
 

Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) (Cancellation of Contracts) Regulations 2009, consumers can cancel a direct sales (door-to-door) contract within five days (excludes Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays) after the date of the contract.

From Jan 2012 to Aug 2014, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) has handled approximately 141 cases involving direct selling companies.

These direct selling companies usually solicit for consumers’ consent to visit their home at shopping malls or exhibitions venues in the guise of giving out free gifts. Once consumers have given consent, the salesperson will call at their homes to give a free product demonstration. Products promoted include vacuum cleaners, frying pans, mattress cleaning systems, etc.

After the demonstration, consumers have complained that the salesperson would use hard-sell tactics to pressure them into purchasing the product. The salesperson would spend several hours trying to persuade consumers to buy the item and would refuse to leave the house without making a sale.

Consumers have approached CASE because they felt that they were pressurised into making the purchase and wanted a refund. They also told CASE that they were not informed of the five-days cooling-off period for direct sales. As these consumers were unable to return the item and get back a refund, they filed their complaint with CASE for further pursuit. Most of the cases were eventually resolved with a final settlement agreed upon by both parties.

CASE would like to advise consumers that if they come across road shows organised by direct selling companies, they should keep in mind that any free gift(s) given often come with certain conditions, such as inviting the salesperson to their home for a product demonstration. Be mindful that the salesperson may take advantage of the invitation to your house to stay longer than necessary to sell their product.

If you have invited the salesperson to your house and he or she refuses to leave, you can call the police for assistance in evicting the salesperson. Additionally, under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA), it is an unfair practice to take advantage of a consumer by exerting undue pressure or influence on the consumer to enter into a transaction. Consumers can seek redress under the Act. If they are unable to resolve the dispute on their own, they can come to CASE for further assistance.

There are also laws that protect consumers from unsolicited direct sales contracts. Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) (Cancellation of Contracts) Regulations 2009, consumers can cancel a direct sales (door-to-door) contract within five days (excludes Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays) after the date of the contract

CASE Test: Paper Napkins
 
A CASE test on 20 paper napkins from different food and beverage outlets found that all contained minimal fluorescent whitening agents, which are within experts’ recommended safety levels of 0.3%.
 
Paper napkins, commonly known as serviettes, may contain fluorescent whitening agents for whitening purposes. These whitening agents make paper napkins appear whiter by diminishing the yellow light and creating an optical illusion of a cleaner and brighter material. However, experts believe that contact with fluorescent whitening agents, a suspected carcinogen, could potentially lead to minor skin allergies and long-term use might cause severe allergies or other health problems especially if the agent is absorbed into the body.
 
A test conducted by the China Consumers Association and the China’s International Food Packaging Association found out that paper napkins used in some restaurants and fast-food outlets in Beijing were tainted with various levels of fluorescent agents.
 
Currently, there are no international standards to regulate the level of fluorescent whitening agents in paper napkins. However, some international agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Council of Europe (COE) have introduced recommended safety levels for manufacturers of food contact products to adhere to. A level of 0.3% and less is proposed to be safe.
 
As there are no agencies regulating paper napkins in Singapore, CASE commissioned a test on white paper napkins from 20 randomly local food and beverage outlets to determine their level of fluorescent whitening agents.
 
Results showed that all paper napkins contained minimal amount of fluorescent whitening agents, which are within the recommended safety limit of 0.3% (see Table 1.1). The majority contained 0.01% of fluorescent whitening agents, which is considered relatively low. Paper napkins collected from Burger King contained the most fluorescent whitening agents, with a percentage of 0.18%. Swensen’s paper napkins contained the least amount of fluorescent whitening agents, 49.97ppm, rounding down to 0.00%.
 
Although paper napkins are commonly provided to consumers for free in fast-food outlets and restaurants, CASE would like to emphasise that businesses should still be responsible for the quality and safety of the products they offer.
 
CASE is committed to protect the interest of consumers. We will continue to highlight any unfair/unsafe practices in the marketplace.
 

Table 1.1 Results of Fluorescent Whitening Agent Content in Paper Napkins

No. Outlet Average Result (ppm)* Average Result (%)
1 Burger King 1774.66 0.18
2 Carl's Jr. 98.62 0.01
3 Délifrance 109.33 0.01
4 Hanis Café & Bakery (Han's) 685.47 0.07
5 Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert 145.24 0.01
6 KFC 99.88 0.01
7 Long John Silver’s 74.92 0.01
8 McDonald's 972.08 0.10
9 MOS Burger 83.25 0.01
10 Nando's 69.64 0.01
11 PastaMania 90.57 0.01
12 RamenPlay 63.22 0.01
13 Subway 202.94 0.02
14 Swensen's  49.97 0.00
15 Texas Chicken  74.14 0.01
16 Thai Express  190.67 0.02
17 The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 265.64 0.03
18 Tim Ho Wan 112.41 0.01
19 Wendy's 83.25 0.01
20 Ya Kun Kaya Toast 93.08 0.01

*ppm - parts per million

Consumer Complaints Filed With CASE - People's Park Complex
 
(For the 3 months of Jun - Aug 2014)

To identify top tenants with the highest number of customer complaints filed with the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).
 
No. Name Unit Number No. of complaints
1 Tele Infinity LLP #01-04/K94A 7
2 Mobile Alliance LLP #01-50/90 7
3 Travel Star Pte Ltd #02-12/28 3
 
*Figures are accurate as of 1st September 2014. Table will be updated monthly.
People's Park Complex Management (MCST 473) supports this initiative.
 
 
 

 

Consumer Complaints Filed With CASE - Sim Lim Square
 
(For the 3 months of Jun - Aug 2014)

To identify top tenants with the highest number of customer complaints filed with the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).
 
No. Name Unit Number No. of complaints
1 Mobile Air Pte Ltd #01-41 11
2 Mobile Apps Pte Ltd #01-50 / #02-72 7
3 Mobile22 Pte Ltd #01-42 5
4 Cyber Maestro Pte Ltd #02-77 4
5 Mobile Planet Pte Ltd #01-41 4
6 Camera Talk Pte Ltd #01-47 / #02-91 3
 
*Figures are accurate as of 1st September 2014. Table will be updated monthly.
Sim Lim Square Management (MCST 1440) supports this initiative.

 
 
 
This website's content is Copyright © CASE | Website Designed and Maintained By Elves Lab | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy