Channel NewsAsia

CASE to check for profiteering after liquor duty hike

Consumer rights watchdog CASE is monitoring feedback on potential profiteering after the recent increase in liquor duty announced as part of this year's Budget.

SINGAPORE: Consumer rights watchdog CASE is monitoring feedback on potential profiteering after the recent increase in liquor duty announced as part of this year's Budget.

In extreme cases, it said it would consider naming the errant party, or giving consumers information on alternative establishments that they may patronise.

With the increase in liquor duty, the Finance Ministry estimated that the price of a bottle of beer could go up by 40 cents -- if the 25-per cent increase in taxes is passed on fully to the consumer.

Some coffee shops have already increased prices by about 50 cents, and consumers said this is still reasonable.

But there are also some shops that are seeking to take advantage of the situation.

CASE received six complaints on this issue as of 5pm on Wednesday.

All of the cases involved coffee shops selling beer. One coffee shop had raised the price of a bottle of beer by S$1.

CASE said it will rely on public feedback in deciding whether or not to take action.

If it discovers that price hikes are indeed too high, it will investigate the reasons for the increase thoroughly.

Lim Biow Chuan, president of CASE, said: "Some coffee shops have said that prices have increased, not just because of taxes, but because (stall owners) have to change signboards… and we recognise that.

"But where people have taken advantage of tax increases, I think that is not correct.”

For those who do not respond to CASE's engagement with them, the consumer rights watchdog will consider adopting a name-and-shame policy.

It may also collect and publicise price information from nearby establishments, so that consumers know where they can get value for money.

Mr Lim said: "(This will) send a signal that consumers have choices, and they will not accept prices that are arbitrarily set by people, just because of tax increases."

Meanwhile, supermarket chains such as FairPrice and Sheng Siong said they are not raising prices yet, pending further discussions with suppliers. 

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna