Retailers gear up for ‘lemon law’
SINGAPORE, Aug 21 — From updating the terms of their after-sale policies to sending staff for training to deal with difficult customers, retailers here are gearing up for a new consumer protection law - also known as a "lemon law" - which takes effect from next month.
To date, about 400 have attended "lemon law" training under the Retail Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications framework by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.
Currently, the exchange or refund policy can differ between retailers. But when the new rules take effect, consumers will have up to six months to take action on any defective products.
To prepare for the changes, Challenger IT Store has sent more than 15 employees for training.
Among them was retail manager Chris Tan, who said: "They gave a lot of practical examples where customers might be difficult to handle, or customers might demand things in a different manner, so (they showed us examples on) how we are going to deal with the customers."
Challenger expects high value products such as laptops and cameras to face greater scrutiny from customers.
Its senior operations manager Joseph Goy said: "Since the customers have paid a high price, they expect a certain warranty and guarantee on the quality, and this is the product that we foresee will be tested under this law."
Sincere Watch, a luxury watch specialist, has sent more than 200 employees for training.
Said its vice-president of marketing Glenn Heng, who welcomed the new law: "There's clarity as in specific timelines and how that enables us to go from repair and then to do the replacement or the refund."
It will be the smaller retailers who will feel the biggest impact, said Mr Tan Jek Min, Director of Singapore Institute of Retail Studies, which conducts the training programme.
"I think (there are) going to be some changes in terms of their SOP (standard operating procedure) and how they are going to deal with clients."
Small and medium enterprises are entitled to funding to help defray up to 90 per cent of training cost. Employers can also claim absentee payroll for staff who attend the training. — Today