Came across this about banning stuffs in Malaysia. Apparently, there’s a scratch and win scam going around, whereby people were approached to scratch and win some stuffs, but in order to collect them, they need to buy more stuffs, usually expensive stuffs.

What I find perplexing is that people actually take loans to find these expensive stuffs just to collect the prizes, which is usually a car. Doesn’t this sound suspiciously like that happens in Singapore? Except that they don’t tell you that you’d won a car – probably something less expensive, but they want you to buy into their timeshare s*ahem*c*cough*a*ah-choo*m…

KUALA LUMPUR – MALAYSIA has banned scratch-and-win contests after thousands of people complained they were duped and did not receive the promised prizes, an official said.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry has made it illegal to hold such contests, said ministry Enforcement Deputy Director Iskandar Halim Sulaiman on Tuesday.

In scratch-and-win contests, consumers are given paper cards with an area coated with coloured plastic that can be scratched with a coin to reveal whether a prize has been won.

Mr Iskandar said direct sales staff often duped consumers at supermarkets or at their doorsteps with cards that showed they had won cars or other expensive items. However, to get the prizes, consumers were asked to first buy the company’s products, and in the end ‘never get the car’, Mr Iskandar said.

Almost 1,400 complaints were filed in the first 10 months of this year, with many people claiming they lost thousands of ringgit in the scams, often used by direct marketing companies, Mr Iskandar said.

Companies found illegally conducting such contests risk a fine, up to three years in prison and a loss of their business licenses, he said.

The Star newspaper quoted a 42-year-old civil servant, Ms Satilah Mahmood, as saying she lost RM27,000 (S$12,000) in a scratch-and-win scheme this year.

The home theatre system and massage chair she bought – to be eligible for more prizes – broke down within weeks, the newspaper said. It said the people who lured her with prizes moved out of their rented office.

‘My family is now saddled with debts,’ it quoted her as saying. — AP

Article obtained from on 4th December 2007

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