There was a "significant drop" in the number of consumer complaints received in 2014, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) said in a press release on Tuesday (Feb 3).
The number of complaints in 2014 dropped to 24,721, compared to 29,254 complaints in 2013 – a decrease of 15.5 per cent, CASE said. It added that 85.5 per cent of the complaints were successfully resolved, an increase of 8 percentage points from the 77.5 per cent resolution rate in 2013.
CASE said that the decline was likely due to consumers "becoming more empowered to stand up for their rights" and having the confidence "to handle their disputes on their own" instead of going to CASE, along with a fall in businesses engaging in unfair practices.
The drop in complaints comes on the heel of several high-profile cases last year, such as reports of unethical traders at Sim Lim Square and the car dealer scam at Volks Auto. Because of these cases, consumers are now more cautious when paying for big ticket items or when placing deposits or prepayments for goods and services, CASE said.
MOTORCAR INDUSTRY GETS THE MOST COMPLAINTS
The motorcar industry got the most complaints last year, followed closely by the electrical and electronics industry, matching their 2013 rankings. The travel industry saw a 39.8 per cent rise in the number of complaints, putting it at third place, up from ninth in 2013.
The top complaint for the travel industry involved unsatisfactory services, and CASE attributed the spike in complaints to the abrupt closure, suspension or revocation of licences of a number of travel agencies last year.
For the motorcar industry, the majority of the complaints involved the sale of defective second-hand cars, said CASE, while the majority of complaints for the electrical and electronics industry was for defective goods.
Beauty services, contractors, furniture retailers, mobile phone shops, the telecommunications industry, timeshare companies and maid agencies made up the rest of the 10 industries that received the most complaints.
"CASE will work hard in protecting consumers' interest and promoting an environment of fair and ethical trade practices," said CASE President Lim Biow Chuan. The association also plans to continue with its "Knowledge is Protection" education campaign to reach out to consumers, while also engaging businesses, he added.