Retailer 3 Stars asked to explain high prices for masks following public complaints: MTI

Retailer 3 Stars asked to explain high prices for masks following public complaints: MTI

People wearing mask at Orchard Road Singapore Feb 3 (36)
People with masks on walks at Orchard Road, Singapore on Feb 3. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: A letter of demand has been sent to retailer 3 Stars after complaints from the public of masks being sold at high prices at its outlets.

The Price Controller asked 3 Stars to explain the “basis of their selling prices for the sale of masks, including their cost price and profit margins”, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a news release on Tuesday (Feb 11).

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The deadline for 3 Stars to respond to MTI's queries is Feb 12, 2020. If it fails to respond, 3 Stars can be fined up to S$10,000 for the first offence, and S$20,000 for the second and subsequent offences.

"Profiteering is a highly irresponsible and damaging act. We urge all retailers to practise corporate social responsibility and not take advantage of the increased demand to raise prices unreasonably," said MTI.

In January, MTI issued five letters - one letter of demand to Deen Express and four requests for information to e-commerce platforms Lazada, Carousell, Qoo10 and Shopee. 

MTI said that Deen Express replied to "unreservedly apologise" for their pricing strategy and has since corrected its pricing practices.  The e-commerce platforms have provided the information requested, and are working with MTI to address any profiteering practices on the platforms.

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The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) are also closely monitoring the situation and will investigate any unfair and anti-competitive practices. 

Consumers can report errant sellers to CASE at 6100 0315.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday that there are 45 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Singapore, with seven in critical condition. One more patient has been discharged, meaning seven have now fully recovered from the virus.

The number of fatalities from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 1,011 on Tuesday after 108 new deaths, including 103 in the hard-hit Hubei province.

In its daily update, Hubei's health commission also confirmed another 2,097 new cases in the central province, where the outbreak emerged in December.

There are now more than 42,200 confirmed cases across China, based on figures from the government.

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Source: CNA/ic

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