Monday, January 31, 2011

Tourists to Singapore beware: Singapore's Sim Lim Square is a den of scammers.

Singapore's Sim Lim Square is a den of scammers. And United Square Cam, with a foul-mouthed salesman, is amongst them.

Read about it here (YouTube here) and here.

More horror stories from the scam victims here.

You can find scams and tricks employed by the Sim Lim Square scoundrels collected here.

The web is where the scammers and fraudsters can now be permanently named and shamed in front of the entire world.

This is the power of the web and global communication in action, and I am using it.


ps. JW World Pte Ltd,  #01-42 Sim Lim Square,  is apparently another scumbag, as evidenced by the following incident (source):




Customer Service
Apple Pty Ltd

Re: JW World Pte Ltd - #01-42 Sim Lim Square Singapore
- Reseller of Apple Products

 Dear Sir/Madam:

On 30th April 2012, we went to Sim Lim Square to buy a Mac Air and Ipad 3.

We bought the Mac Air from an Apple authorised reseller and the service was excellent.

Unfortunately they don’t have Ipad 3 so we went to a few stores to compare prices. JW World Pte Ltd quoted us SG$ 535 for a 16 GB Wifi Ipad 3. We asked why are they cheaper from the shop next door who quoted a SG$658 price with international warranty. They said they are a wholesaler. We asked if it covers international warranty and were told that it will cost SG$49. At this stage, there was no mention of the SG$49 being for one month warranty only. He then filled up a form with SG$49 on the form where it says “Registration/International Warranty”. The shop attendant asked my cousins (Edna/Raul Mariano) to sign the form which Raul did. We agreed with the price and he asked for the payment of the Ipad 3 so we gave them SG$535. He then opened the box and we were advised that he will do the activation but it will cost another SG$19. We were becoming a bit suspicious but we gave them the benefit of the doubt that we are not being conned. One of the shop attendant then opened the box and turned on the Ipad 3. He then said, he has to go out of the shop to register the international warranty.

My cousins and I were looking at each other as our instincts are telling us something is not right. Since the shop attendant already took the SG$535, we were a bit uneasy. He then came back and took the form that my cousin signed and then wrote the amount of SG$588 and told us that we need to pay additional SG$588 for the 12 months warranty. We were shocked and that is when it dawned on us this is a set up. We told them that no way we are paying that much for warranty for a gadget which is only SG$535. We told them that we don’t want the warranty anymore. They said, they cannot cancel the registration of international warranty as it has been upload in the “server”. Me and my cousins are in our 50’s and we are not very technical in regard to new gadgets. We argued and argued for almost 3 hours and they refused to give us the money back nor the Ipad 3 untill we pay the SG$588.

While my cousins were arguing, I rang Apple Singapore Customer Service and advised them of our dilemma. The Apple Customer Service guy asked me to give the Serial Number of the Ipad 3 to check or authenticate the unit. While reading the serial number, the shop attendant suddenly took the box from me but I still managed to give the serial number. The Apple guy confirmed the serial number from the system. I was also advised that it is covered with 12 months international warranty already. I asked the Apple guy to talk to the shop attendant but the shop attendant was not interested in talking to him and he kept saying the line is dropping. During this time, the manager of the shop came and started to argue more that they will reduce the warranty from 12 months to 3 months, so we have to pay SG$210 extra for them to release the unit. He then told us that when the 3 month warranty expires, some of the applications will not work e.g. Safari, You Tube, App Store, etc. So my cousins said, we will take the risk as we just want to get the unit we paid for. The shop manager then took the Ipad 3, turned it on and did something, which we were not able to see what he was doing on the unit.

We went back to our hotel after almost over 3 hours and we were really exhausted. My niece opened the Ipad 3 to try and test the unit. Lo and behold the following apps are missing:
Safari, YouTube, Clock, Stocks, Utilities, App Store, Itunes, etc.

The shop manager deleted all the foregoing applications. It was just a shocker. This was a gift for her by her mother and we went through so much. We rang Apple Customer Service again and was advised to go to Apple Centre when we get back to the Philippines.
I took a photo of the shop (as per ABOVE). The two figures on the right are my cousins who were very exhausted with this unfortunate experience.

To prove that they have been doing these to others, they issued a Cash Sale receipt without company details. When my cousin showed me the piece of paper, I went back to the shop and advised them that we need a proper Tax Invoice so we can get the GST refund from Singapore Customs at the airport. They were a bit hesitant to give us the Tax invoice but I showed them a GST refund receipt we got when we bought the Mac Air. That’s when he was forced to hand over the GST refund receipt with the proper Tax Invoice.

When my cousins went back to Manila, they took the Ipad 3 to iStudio-Authorised Apple reseller and was that the applications originally loaded have been deleted. — at JW WORLD @ SIM LIM SQUARE SINGAPORE.


More Sim Lim Square scam reports (source)


Sim Lim Square Scam Tactics (source)

Many shops in Sim Lim Square resort to scam tactics to reap higher profits. The unwary shopper might fall into the traps of unscrupulous sellers.

No pricetag scam

Products without a pricetag are subjected to varying quotes from the seller. The seller will judge how the buyer approaches them before quoting a price - usually higher than stores displaying pricetags. Sellers will also try to convince the buyer after a bargaining session that the price they offer are the best by making the conversation seem secretive.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) scam

In this scam, sellers would first quote potential buyers a price and then just before the buyer makes the payment they'd tell the buyer that they'll need to pay 7% GST on top of the quoted price. Most people would take this as something that they have no choice but to pay for. However, this is not true.

GST registration is not mandatory for all shops in Singapore; GST registration is only mandatory if the turnover of a business entity exceeds S$1m annually. A proper GST registered retailer is also required to quote prices inclusive of GST during a sale and at the same reflect their GST registration number prominently on the sales invoices along with the exact amount of GST paid.

Missing component scam

In this scam, the seller would quote the buyer a price that seemed either unbelievably cheap or very reasonable. After the buyer makes the purchase, the seller would then ask the buyer if he/she would like to purchase an accessory that would otherwise have been bundled with the product.

For example, if a buyer is making a purchase for an Apple iPod, a seller using this tactic may inform the buyer after a purchase transaction that they'd have to buy the USB data cable. Without the data cable, the buyer can neither charge nor sync the iPod and is thus forced to make the purchase.

Counterfeit scam

This largely applies for software, but also to hardware at times. Earlier this year, some SLS shops were busted by the police for selling counterfeit copies of Microsoft Windows.

Many stores are also selling counterfeit copies of the popular Apple iPod music players. They have the same packaging, material, shape and even colour choices. But what's inside of these chinese "MP4" players are nothing like a real iPod.

Top-up scam

In this scam, the seller would convince the buyer to purchase something that he/she would later find to be unsatisfactory (e.g. faulty) and then offer the buyer a top-up for a pricier product.
Note that SLS shops usually do not allow the buyer to test a brand new unit unless they commit to buy it.

Also, unlike large stores like Harvey Norman, most SLS stores do not have a refund policy. In fact, it is almost impossible for these small shops to honour a refund policy due to the way their business operates with cash stock. So before making payment, buyers should insist that they test the product. If it's a product that can't be tested (such as RAM or hard drive), make very sure that it's covered by a manufacturer's warranty, not the store's own warranty!

Bait-and-Switch scam

In this scam, the seller and buyer negotiate for one item, but the seller delivers another. For example, the buyer is seeking a 16GB memory card, but is handed an 8GB card. If the buyer doesn't notice the switch before the money is exchanged, or the switch is done after the money is exchanged, the buyer will pretend that the negotiation was always for the inferior product. Even if the buyer has not yet left the store, the seller will refuse a return or echange.


Sim Lim Square sets up complaint kiosk
23 June 2012 (source)

In the first six months of this year, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) received 113 complaints against Sim Lim Square retailers.

This compared with 183 complaints for the whole of 2011.

To better manage disputes between retailers and shoppers, the consumer watchdog and the shopping mall's management committee have set up a counter near the information booth on level one at Sim Lim Square.

From July, consumers who are unhappy with their shopping experience at Sim Lim Square can lodge their complaints to CASE online, with the help of the customer service officers who have been trained by CASE.

President of Consumers Association of Singapore Yeo Guat Kwang said: "Through this initiative, we hope to promote fair dealing practices at Sim Lim Square and weed out errant retailers who deceive or mislead consumers."

This initiative is a three-month long pilot programme. CASE said it could be rolled out to other shopping malls in future if it's effective.


Lalamao said... have more info on this case.

Helluo Librorum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helluo Librorum said...

Thanks for the link, where a blog on the Sim Lim Square scams can be found. I've linked to the blog from my post above.

Anonymous said...

Exactly the same thing happened with us.
We bought Samsung Galaxy Note from this Bastard(JW World Pte Ltd in SIMLIM),and he cheated us by selling us stupid international warranty for 250$.
We had to catch our flight and he took advantage of that.
He is doing this with so many people but Singapore govt.or SimLim Authorities are doing nothing about it.
Its really sad that Singapore doesn't have any customer grievance center,but GOD will definitely punish him for his sins.
He took away our really really hard earned money,we saved all our money for this trip..
God will definitely punish u for this.
I would never recommend JW World Pte Ltd in SIMLIM to anyone.
Guys Please Be aware for this Shop.

Anonymous said...

J W WORLD pte ltd store Simlim sQUAre please beware!, same thing that happened to us. Copy paste from what i read to this blog. We purchased galaxy s3. such a scammer! Don't buy in J W WORLD PTE LTD!,

Anonymous said...

Yes beware buying device in sim lim. I have cheated from them hope one day they will get the punish.

Anonymous said...

Samething happened to m when I was trying to buy Samsung Galaxy S 3 last month. Luckily, when I was trying to call 999, they felt a little bit scared and returned my money back. But be aware that never go to this shop!!! They are really bad!

Anonymous said...

I was conned by #02-72 guy name cedric, knowing their nature, not sure it was his real name. When I called police and went upstairs with them they closed the shop. It was before 8 pm. I plan to go to small claims court. I never in my life conned this way. It is not only certain units. Most of 1st and 2 nd floors are scammers. Never, ever go to that place.