Consumer Association of Singapore has new chief
After nearly 15 years of fighting for consumer rights, Consumer Association of Singapore (Case) chief Seah Seng Choon, 64, has handed over the baton to Loy York Jiun.
A year after he joined Case, Seah had to stand up to insurance giant AIA after more than 700 customers complained that it had continued to deduct premiums for longer than originally agreed.
Eight years ago, he had to defend Case in court after two private schools sued it for S$10 million (US$ million) over their 23-day suspension from an accreditation scheme. The schools eventually lost the suit.
More recently, Seah had to deal with criticism that the consumer watchdog was a “toothless tiger” at the height of the Sim Lim Square saga involving mobile-phone dealers, reports The New Paper.
Seah, who also saw the implementation of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act and the Lemon Law, says these were some of Case’s most challenging times.
“But over the past 15 years, the efforts we put in are beginning to show results. The total number of complaints has gone down over the years,” he says.
Taking over from Seah, Loy joined Case as its deputy executive director last April. He says he initially thought the association was just about “handling complaints, grievances and refunds”.
“To most, consumer protection might be our most obvious work, but a core strategy of Case involves fair trading,” he says. “At the end of the day, it is not in anyone’s interest for the marketplace to decline because of lack of trust.
“Case is not out to ‘get’ businesses. Instead, we have every interest to see a thriving business place that allows best value for money for consumers. But in the process of creating a thriving marketplace, consumers must be fairly treated.”
Loy says he plans to focus on eCommerce, which has seen rising complaints, as well as consumer education.