With the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”), many consumers have been affected. This page provides consumers with information on what they can do if their contracts are affected by the COVID-19 situation.
COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020
Part 2 of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 (“the Act”), which entered into force on 20 April 2020, provides consumers with temporary relief from legal action for the inability to perform certain contracts due to COVID-19.
1. What does the Act cover?
Event or tourism-related contracts (e.g. venue or catering for wedding, cruises, tours, hotel accommodation bookings) are covered under Part 2 of the Act. This applies to contractual obligations that are to be performed on or after 1 February 2020, for contracts that were entered into or renewed before 25 March 2020. More information can be found on the Ministry of Law’s website.
2. How does the Act protect me?
Under the Act, a business cannot take legal action against you if you are unable to fulfill your contractual obligations during the six-month relief period from 20 April to 19 October 2020. In addition, your deposit cannot be forfeited during the relief period.
3. What if my deposit was forfeited before the Act came into effect on 20 April 2020?
If you qualify for relief, you can serve a Notification for Relief on the business to have your deposit restored. More information on serving a Notification for Relief can be found on the Ministry of Law’s website.
4. What if the business does not agree that the relief applies?
You should first discuss with the business and try to reach a compromise. If a compromise cannot be reached, you may apply for an Assessor from the Ministry of Law to make a determination. More information on applying for an Assessor’s Determination can be found on the Ministry of Law’s website. You may also access this link to view selected cases that have been determined by Assessors appointed under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020
5. What if I want to cancel the event/tour (instead of postponing it)? Can I recover my deposit and is the business entitled to charge the cancellation fees as provided under the contract?
With respect to the deposit, you should first discuss with the business and try to reach a compromise. This may include a partial refund of the deposit. If a compromise cannot be reached, either you or the business may make an application to the Assessor, who will seek to achieve an outcome that is just and equitable.

With respect to the cancellation fees, under the Act, you may not have to pay the cancellation fees if the event or tour was to occur between 1 February 2020 and 19 October 2020 (both dates inclusive). If you have already paid the cancellation fees before the Act came into force on 20 April 2020, or before serving the Notification for Relief, you can try negotiating with the business to reach a compromise. However, if your event or tour was to occur after 19 October 2020, the business can charge you the cancellation fees as provided in your contract (if applicable).
Tourism-related Contracts
Airline tickets
Flight tickets which were purchased directly from airlines are not covered by the Act. If you wish to cancel or postpone your flight, you should refer to the respective airlines’ ticketing policies for information on refunds and cancellations.

Separately, bookings made on travel intermediaries such as aggregate booking websites are covered under the Act if these bookings were made under Singapore law. You can refer to the Terms & Conditions of your booking to find out if the booking was made under Singapore law.
Travel agent bookings/tour packages
If you purchased travel insurance, you may approach your insurer to file a claim for the non-refundable amounts for trip cancellation or postponement, provided the COVID-19 situation was an unknown event at the point of purchase. You should review your travel insurance policies and contact your insurer if you require assistance.

Under Regulation 25 of the Travel Agents Regulations, if you have purchased travel products from a licensed travel agent, you may request to cancel your product for a refund if you do not accept any material changes (e.g. trip postponement, alternative destinations) proposed by the agent due to COVID-19.

For complaints pertaining to contracts with Travel Agents, you may wish to include in your case lodged for assessment that it is ‘just and equitable’ for you to obtain a refund as Regulation 25 provides for a refund.

Please access this link to view selected cases that have been determined by Assessors appointed under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.
Event-related Contracts
Wedding banquets, hotel bookings, bridal photoshoots
You are allowed to postpone your event without any financial penalties and your deposit cannot be forfeited. When a case is filed, an Assessor will determine whether it is just and equitable in the circumstances of the case for the deposit to be restored or refunded. A portion of your deposit may be forfeited if expenses have already been incurred by the business.

Please access this link to view selected cases that have been determined by Assessors appointed under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.
Consumer Advisory
Gym and fitness club memberships
If you have an existing gym membership or personal training package and are unable to utilise your gym/trainings, you should contact your gym/personal trainer to understand how your contract is affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. As far as possible, you should negotiate with your gym to defer your membership contractual period or negotiate for a partial refund.
Paid TV sports packages
If you have an existing paid TV subscription where sports events are a substantial component of your subscription and are affected because many sports events have been cancelled or postponed, you should reach out to your subscription service provider to understand the various options they are offering. These options may include a temporary suspension of your subscription until the sports events resume.
Insurance
(The following information is extracted from the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s website.)

Life and health insurance
Individuals may apply to their insurer to defer premiums for their life and health insurance policies for up to six months while maintaining insurance protection. Premium deferment is available for all individual life and health insurance policies with a policy renewal or premium due date between 1 April and 30 September 2020 (both dates inclusive).

General insurance
Individuals may apply to their insurer to pay their general insurance premiums (e.g. for property and vehicles) in instalments. Policyholders can pay their premiums in smaller amounts and enjoy coverage for the paid-up period, instead of paying a lump sum premium for the entire policy period at the start.

More information can be found on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s website.
Online shopping
With more consumers shopping online due to the COVID-19 circuit breaker measures, CASE would like to offer the following advice:
  • If you receive defective goods or goods that do not conform to contract from a merchant in Singapore, you are protected by the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA). You may first request for repair or replacement. If repair or replacement cannot be done within a reasonable timeframe and without causing you significant inconvenience, you may then request for a reduction in price or return the goods for a refund.
  • If the good is found to be defective or non-conforming to contract within six months from the date of delivery, it is presumed that the good is defective or non-conforming to contract at the point of delivery. If the merchant is unable to prove otherwise, he is required to provide consumers with a remedy. This law supercedes any store policy. More information can be found here.
  • If you paid for products with a credit card, you may file a chargeback request within 120 days with your credit card-issuing bank if the products are not as described, are defective or fail to arrive. The chargeback request can be filed for purchases from both local and overseas merchants. More details on the chargeback process can be found here.
  • Save a copy of your transaction receipt and communication with the merchant in case of disputes
  • Exercise caution with international transactions, as well as for high-priced and popular items
Complaints on Essential Items
If you wish to report on unfair pricing of essential items, you can contact CASE at 6100 0315 or submit your feedback via our online channel.
Misleading Advertisements
The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) is aware that local consumer-facing businesses have been aggressively advertising various products that are intended for personal health and protection, promotions on food and beverage, and services that facilitate telecommuting and make physical isolation bearable, among others, during this trying period.

ASAS would like to remind all businesses of their responsibility to support the advertising self-regulatory system by advertising responsibly and acting ethically regardless of their size.

Members of the public who encounter advertisements for products and services that appear to be misleading can write to ASAS with a clear copy or image of the advertisement, its location and/or the URL where it may be accessed. Reports can be submitted via ASAS website or email.

For more details, please refer to the ASAS statement on advertising during COVID-19.
Contact Us
For any further query or feedback on the information here, please email marketing@case.org.sg.
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