Media OutReach – 28 April 2023 – The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and Shopee Singapore (Shopee) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reaffirming both parties’ dedication to protecting consumer rights through the adoption of CASE’s Standard Dispute Management Framework for E-marketplaces. The collaboration marks the launch of
Shop Safe with Shopee, a consumer protection initiative focused on promoting a safe, reliable and worry-free user experience online.
Complementing Shopee’s in-app consumer protection features and policies, the programme will include educational campaigns and activations, which are developed in collaboration with industry partners like CASE and law enforcement agencies.
The MOU was signed by Mr Melvin Yong, President, CASE and Mr Ian Ho, Vice President, Shopee and witnessed by Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
Reinforcing Commitment to Consumer Protection
The MOU signifies the joint commitment of CASE and Shopee in protecting consumer rights and focuses on the following areas – Verification and Reliability of Merchants, Information to Consumers, Timeframe, Resolution, Refunds and Exchanges and Facilitating Resolution.
In support of this, Shopee will work closely with merchants to maintain high-quality listings, and strict adherence to its prohibited listings policy. Shopee will also ensure merchants include comprehensive and useful descriptions such as regulated labels (e.g. Nutri-Grade labels for beverages) and Trust Marks (e.g. Safety Mark for household appliances) in their product listings. In addition, Shopee will further expand seller verification efforts on the platform.
Shopee is also committing to an average resolution time of two and a half working days for Returns and Refunds requests. This improves upon CASE’s recommendation of seven days in the current Standard Dispute Management Framework for E-marketplaces. With this update, users can now anticipate a faster resolution for their Returns and Refunds requests.
Setting the Benchmark for the Industry
CASE’s Standard Dispute Management Framework for E-marketplaces was launched in 2021 with the aim of aligning dispute resolution processes across e-marketplaces operating in Singapore. It serves as a guide for efficient and equitable resolution of consumer disputes to give consumers greater assurance when they shop on e-marketplaces.
The collaboration comes at a time when CASE has observed an increase in consumer complaints pertaining to online purchases, from 2,206 complaints in 2021 to 2,530 complaints in 2022, accounting for approximately 14% and 17% of total complaints received by CASE in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Common complaints include missing items, failed deliveries and defective or non-conforming goods.
Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, said: “Consumers will well appreciate the presence of strong consumer safeguards as the degree of risks associated with online purchases has grown with the breadth and speed of online shopping. Digital marketplaces that adopt fair trading practices and a robust dispute management framework will enjoy a higher level of trust from consumers. Shopee’s adoption of CASE’s Standard Dispute Management Framework for e-marketplaces is a step in the right direction. It will not only boost consumer confidence but also strengthen the Shopee brand. CASE and Shopee’s partnership is a testament to the industry’s efforts to strengthen safeguards for consumers and provide them with greater assurance on their purchases. The Government will continue to work closely with CASE and the retail sector to deepen consumer protection and promote fair business practices for a healthy and vibrant retail industry.”
Mr Melvin Yong, President, CASE, said: “Online shopping has become an integral part of our daily lives. While e-commerce and online transactions have made life easier for many of us, they also carry significant risks and dangers. To address these emerging concerns, CASE has called for e-marketplaces to authenticate sellers, establish escrows to protect consumers’ monies and improve dispute resolution processes. I am therefore happy that Shopee, a major e-marketplace for Singapore consumers, has agreed to implement the Standard Dispute Management Framework for E-marketplaces with a shortened resolution time period for Returns and Refunds requests. I also applaud Shopee for its new Shop Safe initiative to promote a safe, reliable and worry-free experience for those who shop on its platform.”
Mr Ian Ho, Vice President, Shopee, said: “With e-commerce becoming an intrinsic part of our everyday lives, we know that safety has become the benchmark for Singaporean shoppers. This partnership with CASE, and the launch of Shop Safe with Shopee, builds on our commitment to cultivate a safe and reliable e-marketplace environment where shoppers and sellers alike can transact with peace of mind.”
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