CASE receives complaints against fire extinguisher suppliers
Warning letters have been issued to three fire extinguisher suppliers for alleged unfair practices and for not honouring a stipulated five-day cooling period, said the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) in an advisory yesterday.
A total of 49 consumer complaints - from Jan 1, 2019 to Feb 29, 2020 - were made against Fire Safety and Prevention (SG), SG Fire Prevention and Singapore Fire Prevention.
Salesmen from these companies had allegedly misled consumers when making unsolicited calls on their home to sell fire extinguishers.
Many of these unsolicited calls were made after reports of fire in their neighbourhoods.
In most cases, the consumers alleged that the salesmen claimed to represent or be endorsed by the authorities.
Some salesmen claimed that it was mandatory by law to have a fire extinguisher at home.
The consumers also complained that the suppliers initially quoted a lower price for the fire extinguisher.
But they were later charged a substantially higher price as part of a multi-year package that included a warranty and servicing cost for the fire extinguisher.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has clarified that there is no regulatory requirement for residential home owners to purchase fire extinguishers.
Case said it was also informed that the SCDF is not involved in any sales of fire extinguishers and has not authorised any company to conduct such activities on its behalf.
ENTITLED TO CANCEL
According to the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act's Cancellation of Contracts regulations, consumers who have experienced such unfair practices are entitled to cancel the contract made during door-to-door sales within five days after the contract has been signed (excluding weekends and public holidays).
This is known as the five-day cooling-off period.
Case also reminded consumers to be cautious about salespersons who claim to represent a government agency. They should always ask for proper identification, and may call the hotline of the government agency concerned for verification.
Consumers are also advised to confirm the actual amount they have to pay and to turn away aggressive sellers.