Presentation onGovernment Policies on Consumer Protectionat the Asian Symposium on Direct Selling, 29-30 Sep 2003 By Stephen Loke President, Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility and Partner, Loke & Seah
Direct Selling/Door-to-door sales • Advantages • An age old industry • Bringing choice to consumers • Save time and travelling costs • Convenient as “doorstep” service
Problems with direct selling • Impersonation of government officials of utilities board, housing board, etc to gain sales • Pushing sales of water heaters, rubbish cute, doors, iron grilles, stainless steel pots and pans, vacuum cleaners when consumers cannot make brand or price comparison on the spot.
High-pressure selling tactics • “Hard sell” sales pitch • Aggressive and intimidating sales techniques • Undue harassment or coercion • Persistent, pushing salesmen, refuses to leave • Consumers fickle • The final act – the sympathy card
Consumer protection legislation in Singapore • Existing • The Consumer Protection (Trade Description and safety Requirements) Act, 1975 • Unfair Contract Terms Act • The Misrepresentation Act • The Sale of Goods Act • The Penal Code • The Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act • Impending • The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, 2003
Voluntary Aspects/ self regulation • Public commitments by firms which extend beyond those obligations found in law • Commitments are embodied in voluntary codes: • Cooling off period • Disclosure of information • HIT • Honesty • Integrity • Transparency • Direct Selling Associations working with consumer groups • White listing
Business Excellence Fair Trading Competition Law CSR Public Relations
Business Excellence Consumer Confidence