SINGAPORE: Consumer protection laws may not apply if consumers agree to a business's request to visit their homes to promote their goods or services, Singapore's consumer watchdog warned in an advisory on Thursday (Jan 4).
Between Jan 1, 2015 and Dec 31 last year, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) handled 117 complaints involving door-to-door sales. From this figure, 30 per cent said that they had accepted a business's request to visit their homes in exchange for gifts.
According to CASE, by accepting a business's request for a home visit, the visit is now said to be solicited. Consumer protection laws only cover unsolicited visits.
Under the current consumer protection laws, consumers can cancel a direct sales contract within five working days from the date of signing of the contract. However, this only applies to unsolicited visits from businesses whereby businesses visit a customer's home without the customer's request.
In the case of an unsolicited visit, the consumer can cancel the contract by delivering a notice to the business either personally, via post or through fax.
CASE advises consumers who have already invited businesses to their homes to take several protective measures. These include:
- Verifying the legitimacy of the business through identification documents;
- Exercising their right to turn down an agreement;
- Calling the police if the company's representative refuses to leave the house;
- Receiving a copy of the full sales agreement;
- Buying from CaseTrust-Direct Selling Association of Singapore (DSAS) accredited businesses.