Early this afternoon, when I out surveying at a home fair in Mid Valley, I chanced upon the TPPM having a booth in the exhibition hall. I thought it would be good to read up on Consumer Rights, so I took their information pamphlet.
The TPPM, otherwise in English, known as Tribunal for Consumer Claims Malaysia, is a body established under Sect.85, Part XII, of the Consumer Protection Act 1999, and falls under the Ministry of Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs. It came into force on 15th Nov 1999.
The TPPM acts "to provide an alternative for onsumers to claim for any loss suffered in respect of any goods and services purchased in a less cumbersome & speedy manner & at minimal cost". However, the TPPM only assists in cases "where the total amount does not exceed RM25,000.00".
The beauty of the tribunal is that, regardless of whether the transaction was made by cheque, credit card, or debit card, the customer can claim for their payment back. For most people, they prefer paying by credit card, as it would be easier to pursue a "chargeback" process, which allows them to revoke their payment.
However in the past, prior to TTPM's establishment, "all disputes between a consumer and a supplier or manufacturer had to be brought before a civil court which often involves complicated procedures, high costs and is time consuming. These are some of the reasons why consumers are reluctant to pursue their claims against irresponsible and unscrupulous suppliers or manufacturers, especially when the amount claimed is small, even though presently there is in existence the Small Claims Court in every state to ehar claims involving amounts of RM5,000.00 and below".
The types of claims that may be brought by the customer before the Tribunal are cases that arise from:
a) a false claim or misleading conduct, false representation or unfair practice.
b) safety of goods & services.
c) The right against a supplier in connection with any of the guarantees implied by the Act.
d) The right against a supplier in connection with any guarantee implied by the Act in relation to services.
e) The right against a manufacturer in connection with any express guarantee on supply of goods.
f) The right against a manufacturer in connection with any guarantee implied by the Act in respect of any goods.
CRIMINAL PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY
"Any person who after 14 days fails to comply with an award made by the Tribunal commits and offence and shall on conviction:
a) be liable to a fine not exceeding 5,000 RM or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or both;
b) in the case of a continuing offence, the offender shall, in addition to the penalties above, be liable to a fine not exceeding 1,000RM for each day or part of a day during which the offence continues after conviction.
RELEVANCE TO THIS BLOGThe reason I have included this post here is that Consumer Protection is a matter that not many consumers in Malaysia are not aware of. I have spent much time (and many hours at that!) to painstakingly write letters to companies when I am not pleased with their merchandise.
The response from their Customer Service, even a well crafted e-mail without the need to go through the Tribunals has been encouraging. What more if it should happen that I were to go through Tribunals. In that note, therefore I encourage all consumers to EXERCISE your rights, and to KNOW your rights.
THE STATE OFFICE ADDRESS
The State Office of the Tribunal for Consumer Claims in Selangor:
Tribunal Tuntutan Pengguna Malaysia
Lot 03-13, Tingkat 3, Bangunan PKNS,
40622 SHAH ALAM, SELANGOR
Tel: 03-5511.8271 Fax: 03-5511.6981
For more information on lodging complaints for claims, please click on the TTPM website.
TTPM (May 2008), "Mudah Murah & Cepat- Claim Your Consumer Rights".
(CAP) Consumer Association of Penang
TPPM: Cases of Unscrupulous Home Product Providers.