CASE received 387 complaints on overcharging for masks, thermometers & hand sanitisers

Public can report retailers to CASE for free.

Belmont Lay| February 18, 11:58 AM

Excessive profiteering behaviour by retailers during this Covid-19 outbreak season has been frowned upon by Singaporeans.

So, for those of you who encounter such overcharging behaviour and will not stand for it, you can report the matter to the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).

And it looks like many Singaporeans have.

387 complaints

According to CNA, CASE received 387 complaints on the overcharging of face masks, thermometers and hand sanitisers between Jan. 1, 2020 and Feb. 17.

CASE executive director Loy York Jiun made this figure known in response to CNA queries.

Consumers do not have to pay CASE a fee for reporting such incidents of overcharging or overpricing of face masks, thermometers and hand sanitisers by retailers, Loy also said.

Consumers who feel they have been misled when buying and wish to seek a refund, can file a complaint for CASE to assist them, he added.

For such instances, there is a minimum charge of S$10.70, inclusive of 7 percent GST, but this fee is waived for some, such as PAssion card holders.

“CASE is closely monitoring these feedback on the overcharging/pricing of face masks, thermometers and hand sanitisers together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS),” Loy said.

MTI exercising its powers

MTI has exercised its powers under the Price Control Act to conduct inspections on the registered business address, warehouse and five retail outlets of 3 Stars.

MTI issued a letter of demand to 3 Stars a week ago asking for information relating to their pricing charges for masks.

The legal letter required the shop to provide “complete information and documentation explaining the basis of their selling prices including invoices and sales receipts”.

“However, despite repeated exchanges with 3 Stars, the information furnished remained incomplete and its pricing practices have not changed,” MTI said.

MTI will assess the need for further action after reviewing 3 Star’s responses and the information gathered during the inspections.

Background

■ Covid-19 first got reported in Singapore on Jan. 23, 2020.

■ A 50ml bottle of Dettol hand sanitiser, the size of an egg, sold for between S$5 and S$7 at some shops after it was sold out elsewhere.

■ 10 pieces of surgical masks, which retails for about S$2 to S$3 normally, have cost double or triple the past few weeks.