Everyone knows the attention-grabbing signs shouting “FIRE SALE” and “CLOSING SOON” plastered all over discount stores in our neighbourhoods.
We’ve seen them being hung at shops like ValuDollar and ABC Bargain Centre for so long, that none of us are fooled to really think they’re moving out anymore.
But that’s just the problem: they’re still around. Nothing has been done about such misleading promotional claims for many years, till now.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) is taking action and developing a set of guidelines to keep pricing and promotions transparent.
It will give retailers a list of do’s and don’ts to follow when they run promotions, offers, discounts and price comparisons.
According to Straits Times, CCCS will release more details in the “next few months”, and will be conducting a public consultation on the matter.
The issue surfaced into discussion after the Commission released a statement on 16 August about its investigation into misleading promotional messages by Charcoal Thai 1 Restaurant.
CCCS started looking into Charcoal Thai 1 in 2018, when they found that the restaurant frequently put up promotions with words like “limited period only” and “Ending Soon! 50% Discount!”, although the same promotion has been going on since February 2016.
The investigation was closed after Charcoal Thai 1 “agreed to cease the unfair practice and not engage in any other unfair practices” under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.
Previously, it was somewhat unheard of that CCCS would really take action against these businesses engaging in such practices.
Needless to say, when people heard about this case, the next thing that popped into minds were the signs at ValuDollar and ABC Bargain Centre (can we say it’s iconic?).
Both stores are under Radha Exports group, owned by Naraindas Gangaram.
Gangaram told ST both the stores have since stopped using “closing down” signs in order to comply with fair practices.
He however defended that the signs had no intention to mislead as they “may have been planning to close down initially” but carried on operations after they were unable to find replacement tenants.
Gangaram stands by the use of “Fire Sale! Everything Must Go!”, as he says it simply means their products are being sold at huge discounts.
That said, the stores are really known for prices that remain reliably low for as long as their signs keep saying so.
But he adds that they will be ready to replace this slogan too if CCCS requires it.
CCCS is monitoring these practices by retailers, beyond just the examples of ValuDollar and ABC Bargain Centre stores.
Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post