Consumer complaints hit record level high in 2013: CASE

SINGAPORE — Complaints to the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) soared to a record high last year, the watchdog group said today (Jan 30).

A total of 29,254 complaints were filed with CASE last year, up 13.7 per cent from the 25,733 recorded in 2012. CASE helped consumers recover S$2,356,072.70 in the successfully resolution of 77.5 per cent of the cases it handled last year, up from the 75.5 per cent rate the year before.

The association said that the rise in complaints need not mean that business standards have dropped, rather that consumers are now more empowered and willing to stand up for themselves, expect better quality service and have a lower tolerance of poor business practices.

The industry drawing the most complaints last year was again the motorcar industry with 3,302 reports, up 46.4 per cent over the 2,255 complaints in 2012.

CASE said the majority of complaints last year were about defective vehicles, whereas unsatisfactory service accounted for the bulk of reports in 2012. The large increase in complaints last year could be due the continuing rise of Certificate of Entitlements (COEs) for new cars, leading more buyers to purchase less costly second-hand vehicles.

Electrical and electronics rose by 23.5 per cent from 1,984 complaints in 2012 to 2,314 last year, which moved it up from third to second place. The industry switched places with the beauty sector, which saw complaints dipping slightly by 2.4 per cent from 1,984 in 2012 to 1,937 last year.

The biggest increase in complaints was registered by the handphone industry, which rose from 10th to sixth with 1,254 complaints in 2012 and 1,909 last year, a jump of 52.2 per cent.

CASE said greater affluence and thus more consumers buying electronic devices contributed to the increase in complaints in the handphone and electrical and electronics industries. The association added that it is working with mall operators to put up warning lists of retailers with the highest number of complaints at Sim Lim Square and People’s Park Complex.

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