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5/17/2006

unfair trading practices by banks

While NTUC Coop is restructuring their business model to cut the cost of selling insurance products, it did not count on the 'hard sell methods' of banks to get customers. When banks use hard sell or unfair tactics to improve sales, should this be questioned? And this is what Tan Kin Lian is doing. Then there is also the new Fair Trading Acts coming into force soon which is supposed to level the playing field and prevent unfair trading practices. For those who advocate a laissez faire environment, they may say it is ok. Any organisation can leverage on their strength to gain market share, like hard sell method' or 'dumping' or undercut the competitors by unfair pricing or inducements. The selling of insurance by high pressure tactic as mentioned by Tan Kin Lian is one of such examples. Another example is for banks to offer below the market commission to retain, attract or capture new customers. This is exactly what some banks are doing, selling some products by underpricing the market and make their profits from their main products. Are such practices ethical and tolerable under the Fair Trading Acts? What would happen is that such practices will destroy the jobs of those businesses with dedicated professionals or agents, and thus causing job loss. It will in the long run also destroy the market as well. This is an area which the govt can do to prevent job loss and curb the Levianthan in the banks. It is the muscling out of small players by big boys and has nothing to do with efficiency and professionalism. And the govt has a duty to protect the small guys from such unfair practices. Unless the govt sees the destruction of jobs as a good thing and authorise or encourage the banks to keep doing what they are doing.

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