Many Suggested That FairPrice Shouldn’t Refund Shoppers Who Panic-Bought Excess Goods, Says CEO

FairPrice CEO Says It’s Standard Policy That Shoppers Get No Refunds For Items Bought In Excess

UPDATE (29 Feb): A previous version of this article indicated that FairPrice CEO had sternly insisted that shoppers won’t be refunded. We’ve updated to reflect that the move was also suggested to him by many people. And that he agrees, saying “it’s standard policy”.

If you have floor-to-ceiling piles of basic necessities lying around your house since your panic-buying spree more than 2 weeks ago, listen up.

FairPrice won’t be taking any of them back, in case you plan to return them to the store for refunds.

The group CEO Seah Kian Peng made that clear during a Parliamentary session yesterday (26 Feb), which you can watch on Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

People have excess items after 7 & 8 Feb panic-buying

Around the end of Jan and start of Feb, a large rise in local Covid-19 cases saw Singaporeans go on high alert.

Long queues for masks and hand sanitisers surprised many, but no one anticipated what was to come next.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) raised the outbreak alert or DORSCON to orange on the evening of 7 Feb after confirming 33 cases, sending many Singaporeans into a buying frenzy.

Many rushed from home or work to wipe supermarket shelves clean of essential items like rice, canned food and toilet paper.

But judging from their overflowing baskets and trolleys, they probably took way too much.

And now staring at their equally jam-packed store rooms or cupboards at home, they’re probably realising that too.

No refunds for items hoarded from FairPrice

Sadly, there’s no way to get refunds for the items, even if they’re non-perishables like toilet paper.

Mr Seah emphasised this at the Budget 2020 debate on Wednesday (26 Feb) after sharing suggestions he had received from the public.

Many of them suggested to me, that when this episode is over, that FairPrice should not allow people who stocked up to return their excess goods to get a refund.

He then added that this is “standard policy“.


Indeed, most stores give customers a maximum 7-day window to return unused items, and it’s way past that now.

To help customers with excess items, Mr Seah suggested donating them to Food Bank or Food From The Heart instead.

He even offered to set up collection counters, perhaps at FairPrice outlets to make the process more convenient.

Be responsible consumers & citizens

At the end of all this, the main takeaway is that panic-buying won’t benefit anyone.

You end up with more than what you need, and likely deprive others who may need those items more.


Mr Seah concluded with the hope that Singaporeans who are facing such consequences will learn to buy responsibly in the future.

Let’s be more considerate of others, think rationally before we act, and remember not to panic when there’s no reason to.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.

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