Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My tour of NTUC Fairprice Warehouse

Level 3 of NTUC Fairprice's "Warehouse Club"
After hearing about the opening of this first ever Costco-like supermarket, I finally managed to find my way there over the weekend to NTUC Fairprice's Warehouse - Joo Koon.

I called before heading out there to enquire if exploring the warehouse was possible without a membership, and unlike Costco in Australia, it is possible. Entry is free and you are welcome to explore and view their offerings. If you do wish to purchase something, then you will need to purchase a membership (available on level 2).

Overall, the offerings are vast and they do sell many items like Costco (from what I have seen from Costco Australia). Items sold off pallets, in large quantities, and the like. Though it feels much smaller than expected, even though it is on two levels (it seems smaller than the big hypermart Giant Tampines and Ikea Tampines).

The prices and deals really vary though, and depends what you buy often, and how many you would normally buy. Personally, I found otak (grilled fish cake), yogurt, CP wantons are some items in my opinion to be quite cheap, although other basic items such as 30xEggs are priced relatively the same as you would find in your normal Fairprice supermarket. So it's worth checking it out if you have time to see what suits works best for you and your family.

Opening hours: 
10.00 AM - 9.00 PM (Mon - Fri)
09.00 AM - 9.30 PM (Sat & Sun)

Membership fees:
$35 SGD for NTUC Union Members, $50 for non-NTUC Union members annually. Membership is only required to purchase items, you are welcome to explore as you like first before deciding.

Address: 1 Joo Koon Circle,
Levels 2 and 3,
Singapore 629117
Phone: +65 6552 2722
Website: www.warehouseclub.com.sg
Delivery: Delivery is available.
From their FAQs on their website under the "Shopping at our store" section, "Delivery is available for all items including electronics and groceries, and excludes fresh, chilled and frozen at a fee of $20 in a single receipt of less than $300 or 7% of receipt value in a single receipt of more than $300.
WHC does not deliver to outlying islands and restricted areas".
Nearest public transport: Joo Koon MRT (it is right across the road from the East-West MRT - Green line)

Here are some pics of the warehouse.
Level 2 - long life items, clothing, and electronics

Level 2
Escalator that lets you go from level 1 and 2
Level 3 - Fresh food and vegetables, wines, check out registers
Level 3
Level 3

Level 3
Level 3
Level 3
Level 3
Level 3
Level 3 - Singlong Nasi Lemak Sambal Chilli 2.5kg ($19.90 SGD each)
Level 3 - Singlong Nasi Lemak Sambal Belachan 2.5kg ($19.90 SGD each)

Hope this helps give you an idea of what to expect and what's available there. Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Where to buy Wholesale Meat, Seafood and Cooking Supplies in Singapore

Getting ready to buy heaps of meat and seafood for the big celebration or holiday season coming up?

Here's a list of some great places to buy fresh meat and seafood in Singapore at a wholesale price. If you're planning for a big event, these places may be worth the effort in going out there to purchase their items.

Fassler Gourmet Pte Ltd - Seafood Wholesaler
This is a great place to buy fresh salmon, sashimi, smoked duck and salmon and other seafood products. They often sell fresh mushrooms, and soups.

Opening hours:
Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 to 5:00 pm and on
Saturdays from 8:00 to 1:00 pm.
Closed on Sundays.

Address: 46 Woodlands Terrace, Singapore 738459
Phone: +65 6257 5257
Delivery: Delivery is available
Public transport : Bus 964 from Admiralty or Woodlands interchange MRT. Stop at "Woodlands link" or "Woodlands avenue 9 - opp. Spectrum".
Websitehttp://www.fassler.sg/ and http://www.fasslergourmet.com/

Price examples from Fassler:
$12.00 Mushrooms a box - 00096
$ 9.44 Saba Mackerel 8885007800301
$12.00 Smoked Dusck
$ 7.00 Salmon tail
$ 6.00 Salmon shreds
$14.00 Fish maw


There's another place right next to Fassler that sells great cooked meat as well. Pork ribs and other bits and pieces.

Q.B. Food Trading Pte Ltd 
For great fresh and affordable meat, seafood, and spices. I like heading here to pick up Brut sausages as they are generally a few dollars off each set compared to your everyday supermarket.

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 9:00 to 6:00 pm and
Saturdays from 9:00 to 1:00pm

Address: 8 Chin Bee Crescent, Jurong, 619893
PhoneFor Online Orders: +65 6261 6410 and Other Enquiries: +65 6261 6120
Fax: +65 6265 9698
Delivery: Delivery is available
Email Address: [email protected]
Website: www.qbfood.com.sg and www.qbfood.com.sg/path/specials.php

Song Fish Dealer (Song Fish Dealer Pte Ltd)
Song Fish Dealer sells fresh fish and seafood.

Address: 19 Fishery Port Rd, Singapore
Phone: +65 6777 3939
Delivery: Delivery is available
Email Address: [email protected]
Website: http://www.songfish.com.sg and https://www.facebook.com/SongFishDealer/

MMMM - Meats (Meats, marinates, and much more) (BH Fresh Food Pte Ltd)
They have outlets around Singapore, with outlets at Novena Square 2, West Coast Plaza and Changi City Point, but heading out to the warehouse will give you their best prices.

Opening hours:
Mon to Sat 9am - 5pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays

Address: No. 6, Chin Bee Crescent, Singapore 619892.
Delivery: Delivery is available but with normal non-wholesale pricing (order online via their website)
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.mmmm.com.sg/

ZAC Meat & Poultry Pte Ltd - Wholesale Meat & Food Supplies
Address: 16 Woodlands Terrace,
Singapore 738441
Phone: (+65) 6284-5979
Fax: (+65) 6289-4762
Website : www.zacmeat.com.sg

Cooking supplies
Sia Huat Pte Ltd
A great place for quality and affordable kitchen items.

Operating hours:
Mon - Fri: 8.30am to 6.30pm,
Sat: 8.30am to 5.30pm,
Closed on Sunday and public holidays

Address: No. 7, 9 & 11 Temple Street
Singapore 058559
Phone: Tel: (65) 6223 1732 and Fax: (65) 6223 4630
Email address: [email protected]
Website: http://www.siahuat.com

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Consumer protection in Singapore - CASE and the Lemon law

If you're new to Singapore or not aware, there are consumer protection organisation called CASE that manages and allows you to lodge complaints that you may have with Singaporean businesses. There is also a lemon law that protects consumers in Singapore.

Firstly, what is CASE?
Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that is committed towards protecting consumers interest through information and education, and promoting an environment of fair and ethical trade practices.

The type of work they do are: Campaigning and/or lobbying, Consumer Advice, Consumer Legislation, Dispute Resolution, Networking, Product Testing

Is it free? No. 
It does cost money to lodge complaints ranging from $10.70 to $53.50 SGD depending on the monetary value of the claims. You also need to be a CASE member in order to have them advocate on your behalf, otherwise, the most they can do is only help you draft a letter to the retailer where you have the dispute. The membership costs range from $8.55 SGD per annum depending if you're a student, family, or ordinary member. Lifetime CASE memberships are available too at $428 SGD (inclusive of GST).

Membership Fees
 Types of membership
 Amount (GST inclusive)
 $26.75 per annum
 Associate (Family*)
 $32.10 per annum 
 Associate (Student**)
 $8.55 per annum 
 Range of claims
 Administrative fees (GST inclusive) 
 Below $5000
 $5000 to $10000
 $10001 to $20000
 Above $20000 - 
 every $10000 or part thereof
* - Eligible to family members of a consumer who sign up as an Ordinary member first
** - Students must be above 12 years of age
Administrative Charges

For updated fees and details, check https://www.case.org.sg/complaint_lodgeacomplaint.aspx

What is the lemon law?
The lemon law is quite interesting, it allows you as a consumer to make a claim for a defective product sold to you within 6 months of purchase.

As described on the CASE website, the Lemon Law came into effect on 1 September 2012. Provisions of the Lemon Law have been added to the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, with related amendments to the Hire Purchase Act and Road Traffic Act.

The Lemon Laws is a consumer protection law that provides remedies against defective goods (colloquially known as “lemons”), which fail to conform to the contract at the time of delivery, e.g. do not meet standards of quality and performance, especially after repeated repair. Such laws obligate sellers to repair, replace, or refund or reduce the price of those defective goods.

I am not a lawyer, but it's good to know that a law like this is around. After first learning about this, I would sometimes mention it when buying items at Singaporean retail stores. As it helps when they try to push completely unreasonable terms like no refunds and exchanges, when they know there is some layer of consumer protection. So it's good to know and do some more research around this so you can protect yourself as well.

Lemon Law Infographics (from CASE - https://www.case.org.sg/consumer_guides_cpfta.aspx)
Website: https://www.case.org.sg/consumer_guides_cpfta.aspx

Further resources:

Going through Malaysian Customs in Johor fast with Iskandar Malaysia's Automated Clearance System (MACS)

If you're frequently passing through Johor-Singapore, you may not have realised but there is a pass you can apply for that allows you to skip the normal immigration and go through a different automated immigration called, "MACS".

MACS stands for Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS). Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS) has been developed to cater for fast-track immigration clearance for non-Malaysian investors, business persons and professionals.

It is basically like the automated clearance system that you use at the airport (if you're a Singaporean Citizen, Singaporean Permanent Residents or a Singaporean Employment Pass holder). The only downside as I have seen it so far, it is only available in Iskandar (Johor Bahru, Johor) Malaysia.

MACS used to be available only to applicants who are involved with the development of Iskandar (Johor) Region Projects. For the past few years it has been expanded and now is available to all Singapore citizens, Singapore Permanent Residents and holders of Singapore Long Term Visit Pass (including Employment Pass holders). 

Where to apply?
I have been using this for the past couple of years and applied on the Malaysian side of immigration (the immigration at the causeway crossing at Woodlands-Johor). It is called, "MACS One Stop Center", so if you ask around on "where to get MACS", they will show you.

About the MACS pass:
Each pass only lasts a year. It's useful only really if you travel from Johor-Singapore often a this saves getting immigration stamps in your passport, and instead using the RFID (Radio-frequency identification) details in the MACS pass placed into your passport. It takes about 15-30 minutes to process, depending on the queues. 

Note - this just fast tracks immigration but doesn't replace Visa requirements:
MACS is simply a form of fast-track facilitation and does not act as an immigration pass or visa. Visitors are still required to obtain visa (if applicable) and will be issued with relevant immigration pass. Singaporean Frequent Travellers are still required to obtain the relevant long term immigration pass.

Happy travelling!

Further resources: