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Singapore

Retailer 3 Stars apologises, reduces face mask prices after MTI inspections

SINGAPORE: No further action will be taken against retailer 3 Stars at this time after it apologised and reduced its prices for face masks, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Tuesday (Feb 25).

The ministry said it will continue to monitor the retailer's pricing practices.

MTI had issued a letter of demand to 3 Stars on Feb 10 after complaints from members of the public about the retailer profiteering from the sales of face masks during the COVID-19 situation.

On Jan 30, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said retailers profiteering from the situation will be taken to task.

"We do not stand for such (profiteering) behaviour in Singapore, and we also urge Singaporeans not to support or give in to such profiteers because we do have our means to provide the necessary supplies," Mr Chan had said.

On Feb 17, the ministry conducted inspections of 3 Stars' company headquarters, warehouse, and multiple outlets after initial responses to the letter of demand were incomplete.

READ: 387 complaints on overcharging of face masks, thermometers, hand santisers: CASE

"Through the inspections and interviews with the owners and its staff, 3 Stars has provided the information required, including records and invoices showing significant increases in the cost price of face masks from their overseas suppliers," MTI said in its press release.

The retailer apologised and reduced the price of its masks, and said it would take greater care in its pricing practices.

"In view of 3 Stars’ apology and reduction in prices for masks, and the fact that the source prices of face masks have risen significantly globally, no further action will be taken at this time," said the ministry.

"MTI will continue to monitor 3 Stars’ pricing practices and reserves the right to take further action under the Price Control Act if warranted."

READ: Retailer Deen Express asked to explain high prices for masks: MTI

MTI reminded all businesses to exercise corporate social responsibility and not take advantage of the COVID-19 situation.

Consumers can report errant sellers to CASE at 6100 0315 and submit feedback via its website.

The Government has been "closely monitoring" retail practices and complaints from consumers regarding profiteering, said MTI earlier in February. Letters of demand will be issued to those suspected of profiteering.

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

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Source: CNA/ic

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