More complaints made against fire extinguisher salesmen
They go door to door in Housing Board estates with a sales pitch centring around a "fire" nearby.
Claiming to be endorsed by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), they mislead residents by telling them that it is mandatory to have a fire extinguisher at home and pressure them into buying at least one.
A growing number of consumers have lodged complaints with the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) over such sales tactics from fire extinguisher salesmen. From January to September, 22 complaints were lodged, up from just six in 2017 and 10 last year.
Nearly two-thirds or 24 out of the 38 complainants in the past three years have singled out one company, Singapore Fire Prevention, as the culprit, said Case.
For example, its salesmen claimed that the products were being sold at a discounted price of $179, down from $279.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, Case's executive director Loy York Jiun said unsavoury business practices, like those by Singapore Fire Prevention, should not be allowed to continue as they harm consumer interests.
"We therefore urge the authorities to investigate and take stronger action against these errant companies," he said, noting that SCDF had warned consumers about errant companies using its name to promote sales.
Admiralty resident Lee Chin Hong, 23, said Singapore Fire Prevention salesmen told him that they were "engaged by a community centre" to talk about fire-prevention tactics.
"They said they had also worked with the Singapore Police Force to talk about this, and told me that every flat must have a fire extinguisher," said Mr Lee, a university student who met the door-to-door salesmen last month.
Mr Lee said he panicked and bought a 2kg dry powder fire extinguisher for $179 - more than triple the market rate.
A sales manager from Singapore Fire Prevention denied using such underhand sales tactics.
The company has "removed" employees who misrepresent themselves, said the sales manager, who declined to be named.