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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 9 No 1 (2007)

Awards of Damages under the Singapore Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act

Wee Ling Loo is Practice Assistant Professor of Law, School of Law, Singapore Management University.
Erin Goh-Low Soen Yin is Associate Professor, Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University.

The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (Cap 52A, 2003 Rev Ed, Sing) attempts to protect consumers through compensatory damages. This article argues that compensatory damages are not enough to adequately protect consumers and deter consumer victimisation on the part of businesses. The article first sets out relevant provisions in the statute with regard to damages. Second, the article analyses the regime of damages in relation to other legislation in Canada and Australia from which it has been adapted and looks at how the damages provisions have been interpreted so far. Third, the article considers the types of damages available under the statute and how they may be interpreted by the courts, including pecuniary loss, non-pecuniary loss, the limits of compensatory damages and non-compensatory damages. Finally, the article argues that Parliament, in leaving out exemplary damages under the statute, has weakened its effectiveness in deterring unfair practices aimed at consumers. The authors therefore recommend that Parliament should consider explicitly including exemplary damages in the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act to ensure that the regime effectively deters unfair practices.

(2007) 9(1) Asian Law 66-87

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