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Q: I recently bought a pendant lamp from a website and it was stated on the webpage that the lamp was produced by a designer in USA. However, when I received the lamp and did a thorough check, I discovered that the lamp was actually made in China. It was also not stated in the invoice on the origin of the lamp. I tried emailing the website to ask for a refund but have not received a reply from them. What else can I do?
A: Hello Melvin, in Singapore, consumers such as yourself are protected by the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA).
The CPFTA (known colloquially as lemon law) allows consumers who have purchased defective products to seek either a refund, replacement, repair or reduction in price from the retailer. These same remedies are also available to consumers who receive goods that fall short of what was represented or held out by the retailer (in cases of misleading claims or advertisements).
If the website from which you bought the pendant lamp explicitly stated that the lamp was manufactured in the USA, you have a legal right to return the China-made lamp to the retailer and to ask for a refund.
If the retailer refuses to accede to your request, you may file a complaint against the retailer with the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE). CASE will then intervene and arrange for a mediation session between you and the retailer if necessary.
However, much of what you can do depends on which website you bought the lamp from. If the website belongs to a retailer that is based and runs a business in Singapore, taking action against the retailer will be a lot more straightforward and effective. CASE has more bite and powers over local companies. In addition, you may sue the local retailer for its unfair practice if you should eventually wish to.
If the website belongs to a retailer that is based overseas, CASE may not be able to intervene, since overseas companies are out of CASE’s reach. You may technically sue an overseas company under the CPFTA, but enforcing any judgement you may get against the overseas company may be a costly and tedious process.
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Wei Li practises litigation and arbitration at KEL LLC – a boutique Singapore law firm specialising in civil and commercial law. He acts for corporate and individual clients in managing and resolving disputes across a wide range of issues and industries. Wei Li has a particular interest and expertise in Internet and social-media law. He provides strategic counsel and representation to businesses and high-profile individuals in a spectrum of media-related issues such as reputation management, appropriate-use policies, privacy and digital marketing. In addition to his practice as a lawyer, Wei Li teaches as an adjunct faculty at the Singapore Management University’s School of Law.
For more information, visit http://kel.asia/
Disclaimer: This article provides a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as professional legal advice. If you require specific legal advice, you are encouraged to consult a qualified legal professional to obtain the same.