Scratch-and-win contests, normally used by direct selling companies to deceive consumers into buying their goods, have been banned with immediate effect.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal, in announcing this yesterday, said the trade gimmick, which has spread to the rural areas, was banned because it was harmful to consumers, many of whom had been deceived into buying sub-standard goods.
Speaking to reporters after attending the ministry’s monthly assembly here yesterday, he said a total of 6,903 cases were filed with the Consumer Claims Tribunal in the first 10 months of this year with the highest number — 1,393 cases — being related to scratch-and-win contests, followed by 529 cases involving vehicle purchases.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the ministry today said the licences of 20 direct selling companies were revoked between 2005 and October 2007 for organising such contests.
It said the ministry would form a special task force to eliminate gimmicks such as scratch-and-win contests, get-rich-quick schemes and direct selling by companies intending to make quick profits.
The ministry would also step up consumerism campaigns, it said.
Complaints on unscrupulous trade practices could be forwarded to the ministry through e-aduan.kpdnhep.gov.my, toll free number 1-800-886-800, SMS to 32255 or the ministry’s enforcement offices nationwide.
–Bernama (bp 4.12.07)