ACRA announced on 4 Feb 2015, that DATA REGISTER, a private company formerly known as COMPANY REGISTER, has been issued with 1,000 fresh charges for issuing business documents without stating its company name and registration number.
This is on top of the 104 charges issued a year ago. Each breach of the requirements carries a maximum fine of S$1,000.
As reported in various press articles, about a year ago, DATA REGISTER sent mass letters to local firms stating that an online company register had been set up. The firms were instructed to verify their details via the website, failing which their firm’s data would be deleted.
ChannelNews Asia reported that “from November 2013 to January 2014, ACRA said it received over 2,000 queries from companies in relation to the correspondence.” Apparently members of the public were calling ACRA thinking that DATA REGISTER was a government agency. Many of our own clients also called us querying with regards the same matter. In fact, we received the mass letter too.
It was clear that the public were fooled into thinking these were official letters sent by the authorities, when in fact they were sent by a private company.
Firms were instructed to verify their data online. Once verified, firms were reportedly told to pay an annual subscription fee of SGD 490. As reported by ACRA, DATA REGISTER did not state it’s name or company registration number on it’s business correspondence.
Under the Companies Act, all firms are required to include their company name and registration number in any document they issue to clients and members of the public. This is to ensure that the public knows who they are doing business with and to prevent a case of mistaken identity, said ACRA. It also allows the public to check whether a firm is a private company or a government agency, added ACRA.
Helen Campos, MD of HC Consultancy Pte Ltd, said that, “We take a serious view of such dubious business practices. We advise all our clients to seek professional advice and assistance in operating their business. A simple infringement of the prevailing laws can prove to be a costly affair. Always be mindful of adopting best practices in their business transactions.”
HC Consultancy helps clients with company incorporations, professional corporate secretarial services, contracts and agreements.