Here's How Singaporeans Can safeguard Themselves From Unethical Retailers
From promotional spa packages, to free trials at fitness centres and car grooming workshops, it's the innate nature for many to get the best bargains and also to get more bang for their buck.
However, occasionally signing up for these free trials or promotional packages may well be a start of a nightmare, thanks to aggressive sales tactics and pushy staff. Errant retailers, in bid to close a transaction from customers, may often get their staff to make use of high-handed approach to sell a bundle that's too expensive or doesn't suit their needs.
While such tactics can be intimidating, precautionary steps can be taken by people to protect themselves from such high-handed approach and errant retailers.
#1 Recognise Warning flags Prior to signing Up For Any Package
Many providers will often dangle a free trial or charge a nominal fee for brand new customers for his or her services to entice them to try out their services.
While this is a common practice by many people retailers in Singapore, some errant businesses will leverage this hook to hard-sell packages to customers, in a bid to extract what they have put in the so-called free trial or discounted sessions. Such practice is very common in the beauty, fitness and car grooming businesses.
Another red flag is when retailers offer packages that is too good to be true. For example, customers who've completed a trial may be inspired to sign a low-priced package in an attempt to hook them on board.
Once the client signs for that package, they will be inspired to make cash top ups for other optional items or perhaps be told that there are other charges that'll be added to the so-called cheap package. This really is occurrence is quite common especially in the beauty industry, where customers really don't adhere to the packages they have registered.
That is the reason why prior to making a choice to enroll in a trial session, it seems sensible to find more information and browse reviews of those retailers from others and to uncover any negative reviews before heading down.
#2 Be much better Informed Concerning the Tactics Used By Some Companies
There is really a number of tactics used by retailers to get people to subscribe to packages. One common practice is perfect for employees to drag away customers into another room, away from their belongings, in an attempt to pressurise them into signing up for packages.
In some cases, employees may gang as a group to pit against the customer. For example, if your employees are not able to coax the customer into signing on the dotted line, they might get their other colleagues to surround the client and pressurise him or her to buy the package.
In extreme situation, some errant retailers might even take your identity card on the pretext of registration but refuse to return it to customers before leaving the store, or simply to get their credit card and to charge the card without explicit consent in the customer.
However, customers have every right to leave behind any high-handed transaction when they feel uncomfortable. Additionally, the retailer is also committing an offence by detaining customers such occurrences. Such instance, the client should not cave into pressure and not wanting to create a scene, but rather to contact law enforcement for assistance just because retailers don't have any to prevent customers from leaving.
Towards this end, you can keep abreast of scam announcements by visiting the ScamAlert, a public-education initiative by the National Crime Prevention Council, as well as ground-up community initiatives like the Singapore Scams Discussion Facebook Group.
#3 Handling Buyer's Regret
While some customers may simply walk away from errant retailers, you will find other people who would have simply caved in through the pressure and to experience buyer's regret thereafter. However, it's possible for the customer to find redress from the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) when dealing with such errant retailers.
In a case where the retailer makes misleading claims or charges, or has promised something they can't deliver, customers can file an instance with CASE, who can help customers negotiate for an amicable settlement using the retailer.
Usually, around 70% to 80% of those cases are closed with a full or close-to-full refund from errant retailers.
#4 Report Errant Retailers
While customers can simply leave behind errant retailers or seek assistance for just about any unfair transactions, you can always do one better by reporting unethical retail practices towards the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) or reporting outright scams to the relevant authorities, like the Singapore Police or Monetary Authority of Singapore (for investment and/or multi-level marketing).