Knowledge Highlights 22 December 2022

On 16 December 2022, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (“CCCS”) announced that it has commenced court proceedings against a company (“TLM”) which supplies water dispensers, alkaline water filtration systems and maintenance service packages to consumers, and its sole director and shareholder (“TJH”) under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act 2003. CCCS is asking the State Courts to rule that TLM has made false claims and misled consumers on its alkaline water filtration systems and maintenance service packages, including the following:

  • TLM falsely claimed that TLM or its products were accredited and that Thomson Medical Centre was one of its customers;
  • TLM represented that its water dispenser was free for a limited time when there was no price benefit or advantage;
  • TLM misled consumers that it would repair or replace faulty water dispensers or provide the change of water filters when requested by consumers to do so under the maintenance service package, or misled consumers by giving false excuses about its delay or inability to do so;
  • From at least January 2020 until in or around December 2020, TLM accepted payment for its maintenance service packages when it knew or ought to have known that it would not be able to repair or replace faulty water dispensers with functioning units within the specified warranty period; and
  • TLM misled consumers that alkaline and/or filtered water can prevent or improve the condition of various diseases.

CCCS is also seeking an injunction to stop TLM from engaging in the alleged conduct. Additionally, CCCS has applied for an injunction to stop TJH from knowingly abetting, aiding, permitting, or procuring TLM to engage in various alleged unfair practices.

By way of background, CCCS investigated TLM following a referral from the Consumers Association of Singapore (“CASE”) in November 2020. CASE had issued company alerts on TLM in February 2021 and in April 2022 to warn consumers of TLM’s unfair practices after receiving a high number of complaints. TLM did not sign a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) despite being asked by CASE to do so.

Reference materials

The media release is available on the CCCS website www.cccs.gov.sg.

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