by Choo Dee Wei
Published October 15, 2015
You are taking a stroll around in one of the many shopping malls in Malaysia, minding your own business and looking at the windows of shops.
Suddenly, you stop in your tracks. You see a big sign that screams “SALE!!! 90% DISCOUNT ON EVERYTHING!!!”
You rush into the shop faster than one can say Carrie Bradshaw. But you are severely disappointed. Only one item in that shop is at a 90% discount. You are fuming mad. Angry. You have been deceived.
Your rights? Well you have at your disposal the Consumer Protection Act 1999 (“CPA”). That is dependent on you coming within the definition of “consumer”. So long as you are purchasing goods or engaging services which are usually acquired for personal, domestic or household purpose, use or consumption and not for commercial purposes, you are a considered a “consumer”.
Today, we look at Part II of the CPA which deals with Misleading and Deceptive Conduct, False Representation and Unfair Practice.
In general, ‘misleading conduct’ means conduct which is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive the public. Part II of the CPA caters to a variety of scenarios as follows:-
False or Misleading Representation - A person making false or misleading misrepresentation that for example the goods are of a particular kind, standard etc. The CPA lists out 12 situations where it can be considered ‘false or misleading misrepresentation’ of goods / services;
False Representation & Misleading Conduct about Land - A seller making false representation and misleading conduct in relation to land such as the location and characteristics of the land;
Misleading Indication about Price - A person misleading a consumer as to the price at which any goods or services are available. This includes scenarios where a consumer expects the price to be increased or reduced, whether or not at a particular time or by a particular amount. For example, a shop puts a sign that says 50% until the end of 2014 only. However, come 2015, the sign is removed but the price of the goods is still 50% discounted;
Bait Advertising - A person advertises for supply of goods or specified at a specified price which the person does not intend to offer for supply or does not have reasonable grounds for believing can be supplied;
Gifts, Prizes, Free Offers etc - A person offering any gift, prize or other free item with the intention of not providing it or with the intention of not providing it as offer. Further, when offering such gift, prize or free item, the person charges more that the regular price for the goods / services or reduce the quantity or quality of the goods / services;
Claim that Goods are Limited - A person does not state clearly state the maximum quantity of goods which are offered for sale and the specific time period or dates for which goods are offered for sale; and
Demanding / Accepting Payment without Intending to Supply - A person demanding or accepting payment for goods or services if, for example, at that time that person does not intend to supply or intends to supply something materially different.
If a person or company is found guilty of any one of the above, we are looking at:-
If it’s a company - a fine not more than RM 250,000.00 for the first offence and for a second or subsequent offence, a fine not exceeding RM 500,000.00; and
If it’s not a company - a fine not more than RM 100,000.00 or imprisonment not more than 3 years or both and for a second or subsequent offence, a fine not exceeding RM 250,000.00 or imprisonment not more than 6 years or both.
So the next time that you are out in a shopping complex or passing by a shops on the street, pay close attention to the signs and leaflets distributed.