Jan 21, 2009

Beware of Sim Lim Square Scam

I WAS in Singapore for work over a few months last year. On one Friday last November, I went to a shop located on the second floor of Sim Lim Square to buy a camera. The salesman, Mr E., was very attentive, and he recommended that I get a Kodak M1033, even though my heart was set on a Panasonic LX3.

Mr E. said that if I did not like the Kodak, I could exchange it the next day for the LX3. When I returned to my hotel, I felt that I still wanted the LX3, and also realised that while the Kodak cost around US$200 (about S$300), I had been charged S$570. When he gave me the receipt upon purchase, he had asked me to sign an agreement that there would be no exchanges or refunds, but I had refused.

When I returned on Sunday to make the exchange, Mr E. said there was no stock, but that I could come back in two hours or choose another camera. When I returned at 1pm, he told me that the stock would arrive only three days later. We then agreed that my camera would be sent to me by DHL as I was leaving the country that day. As I wanted to know the DHL tracking number, I called the shop on Tuesday to enquire. I was told that Mr E. was on leave, but would be back the next day. I was given the same message over the next few days. None of the other salespeople in the shop were willing to help me.

I have raised this matter with the Singapore Tourism Board, but there has been no sign of Mr E. Is this the friendly Singapore I know? Is there any way this can be resolved other than going through the Small Claims Tribunal?

Miss Janet Yu
Hong Kong

Source of the above article: MY PAPER TUESDAY JANUARY 20, 2009

The same story went with me four years ago in mid-2004 when we bought our first handycam. Our choice was Panasonic brand however the salesman insisted on saying that Sharp one is much better performance and quality. Since we were first time buyer and also "part of our mistake" that we did not do sufficient research on the product before we shopped, we were really depended upon the infamous brand as our choice. It was around 7 pm and we were scammed to believe that Sharp model was the ultimate true choice. Salesman promised to replace the item with other model if we are not satisfied in 3 days.

But we found that it was wrong, "winning" features that was uttered by the salesman was all bluff and he quoted much higher price for this model. The next morning we went down from hotel to the shop to ask for replacement but the salesman was ON LEAVE (same trick right ?). Other shop keepers there were not helpful and threatened us to leave their store. We kept on arguing for our right and at last we decided to leave the Sharp handycam on the store. It was not what we wanted !

This case run for about 1 year since we had to travel overseas for business trip. Our credit card issuing bank was notified but they can not do anything. They deposited $1000 to our account for six months until the dispute is settled but since the transaction is legal they claimed back that amount. CASE Singapore can't help much. CASE can help to return the same goods only (no money back, no change). It was really a bad reputation for Singapore largest electronic chain to nurture such a chronic bad habit and service. FYI the shop name is Hi-V Trading at Sim Lim Square.

The scam or dirty trick is always the same. They will spot the tourists (especially those stay in the city for less than a week) or someone which is in a hurry or lack of understanding about the product (market/price/feature) and cheat them. The bad salesman can cheat on the goods itself (especially price), features, incomplete package, fake/wrong accessories, old parts etc. It may happened also to local shoppers.

So .. shoppers be alert! Do your own research first, stick to your choice, and check the complete package (box/accessories/free gift) before you leave the shop especially in Sim Lim Square and Lucky Plaza.

1 comment:

  1. I think the safest store to buy camera is on Mustafa. The store's employees were friendly & helpful if you want to ask some feature of a camera, but of course you cannot depends completely on their explanation. But the best thing is they do not force you to buy the camera.
    After comparing price with Sim Lim sellers, I think the price quite similar. The difference is, Sim Lim sellers usually sell cheaper with less package(memory,battery,etc), then they offered additional memory with additional price. While Mustafa sell with complete package and standar price. But the total price of both package is the same.
    So, finally I bought in Mustafa.