In general, people can write any contract they want. In practice, many people agree to a contract without even reading. Even those that read carefully may miss important terms if the writers of the contract obfuscate the terms deliberately. Some scammy sellers often obfuscate some part of the contracts to make really bad deals look good.

Some samples:

  1. https://www.tnp.sg/news/sim-lim-squares-phone-scam-makes-headlines-internationally Here a seller in Sim Lim writes $1000 fee as $36 x 24. Many buyers end up paying $2k for an iPhone that usually worth $1k
  2. In United States, people sell Acai Berry. https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna38958053 Basically, people sign up for a cheap free trial not realizing that they end up subscribing to hundreds of dollars cost of products that are not working
  3. In Indonesia, mixing insurance and investment can be very dangerous. That's because the fee can be 100 times bigger than normal. The fee is obfuscated even more than the Sim Lim scam. No normal person can know such fee without being told. The companies have agents that supposedly "explain" the fee. However, it seems that most agents do not tell about the fees and instead lie or mislead customers by claiming that all money are invested. https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kaskus.co.id%2Fthread%2F5c715f134601cf268b08e4b1%2Fbeli-asuransi-di-avrist-biaya-100-kali-lipat-sampai-sekarang-masalah-belum-jelas%2F

If we follow strict standard contract policy, the customer is at fault for not reading the contract carefully.

However, I noticed that in US and Singapore such scammy contracts are punished. FTC screw acai berry scams. Sim Lim scammers are jailed.

Yet in Indonesia, large corporations keep selling their ridiculously overpriced products counting on customers not knowing about their hidden fees.

So how come Indonesia is different? Are scamming by obfuscating contracts common too in US and Singapore?

What are the difference in the laws, between Indonesia, Singapore, and US, that may explain why such scams happen in Indonesia and done by large companies?

Some of the thing that may be the case are

  1. In Indonesia, truth is not a defense against defamation. Also defamation can be a criminal case instead of just civil.
  2. Prosecuting anyone for fraud is extremely difficult in Indonesia
  3. Maybe there isn't really any differences. Similar scams exist in other countries too.
  4. I've heard in US there are rules that 80% of money must be used for reimbursement. Is this true?

So what are the differences?

  • 2
    Indonesia and all the other countries? There are 195 of them!
    – Trish
    Nov 19, 2020 at 18:24
  • Australia, Singapore, US. Some of the advance ones where things like this are not happening
    – user4951
    Nov 20, 2020 at 0:52
  • Insurance law is state matter in the US. So you have 50 frameworks for in-state insurance, and add some interstate federal framework... makes 51 applicable laws in the us alone
    – Trish
    Nov 20, 2020 at 12:47
  • I will update the question
    – user4951
    Nov 21, 2020 at 10:13
  • 1
    @user4951 Can you cite a source for your claim that "most people agree to a contract without even reading" please.
    – user35069
    Nov 21, 2020 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


According to this

Do US or Australia have laws that prevent insurance companies from racking up too much margin?

It is flat out against the law to mislead or deceive - you can’t lie, you can’t conceal salient facts, you can’t tell half truths, you can’t even tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth if that could be misleading.

So it seems that there is a big different in laws between Australia and Indonesia. Most Indonesian lawyers will simply say that it's customers' fault to not read the contract carefully even if the contract is written with deceptive intent

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