Saturday, September 8, 2012

Where Singapore scammers, scoundrels and scumbags are: Sim Lim Square

Reviews of Sim Lim Square (SLS), an electronic and IT mall at 1 Rochor Canal Road, Singapore




Sim Lim Square (SLS), an IT mall at 1 Rochor Canal Road, Singapore


A message to all tourists in Singapore: Avoid Sim Lim Square, scammer central 

Sim Lim Square, an electronic and computer mall at 1 Rochor Canal Road, Singapore, has the largest collection of unscrupulous scammers, scoundrels, scumbags and thugs in Singapore, targeting in particular unsuspecting tourists. 

Please avoid Sim Lim Square, and compare prices before buying any electronic goods in Singapore, to ensure that your experience in Singapore is pleasant.

Shoppers should also guard against scammers and scoundrels in Lucky Plaza at Orchard Road and in Chinatown, where their concentration is high.


*******************************

Welcome to Singapore, where the streets are free of touts, prices are the same for everyone, and taxi drivers always use the meter! So is Singapore truly scam-free? I’d have to say the answer is almost, but not quite. Tourists do occasionally get ripped off and nine times out of ten it happens at Sim Lim Square.
Located between Little India and Bugis, Sim Lim Square is Singapore’s largest IT mall.
Acting on the false belief that Singapore has extremely low prices on electronics, tourists flock to Sim Lim Square to snatch up the latest cameras and computers.
Some unscrupulous salespeople are unable to resist the easy sales and take advantage of tourists who assume they’re getting a great deal.   (source)
*********************************************
Blog dedicated to exposing Sim Lim Square scamshere

********************************************
Sim Lim Square Scam Tactics (source)

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.


*************************************************

Another version (here):


No pricetag scam
Most of the shady shops put their products without price tags. Obviously products without a pricetag are subjected to varying quotes from the seller. The seller normally will asses how stupid the buyer in before quoting a price. Remarks like ‘I am not familiar’ or ‘I am tourists’ will definitely result higher quote. In some instance, sellers will try to convince the buyer that the price they offer are the best by making the conversation seem secretive or uncomfortable for the seller.
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 would 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.
More unscrupulous shops will quote GST that is differ from the norm. Like 8% or 9% accounting for random stuff they make up themselves. Some shops even purposely miscalculate the amount of GST that buyer need to pay.
GST Refund scam
This scam will usually be employed together with the above GST scam. The seller will tell buyer that they can claim their GST back at the Changi Airport, Harbour Front or even Checkpoint.
Most people do not know that tourist can only claim GST back at Changi airport – not even at Harbour Front. And thats assuming the GST itself are charged from valid shops with proper GST registration number.
Counterfeit scam
This normally applies for software, but also to hardware at times in case they deemed the buyer to be stupid enough. Some Sim Lim Square 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. I do not mind if they are honest with the counterfeit, but some unscrupulous shops sell the items as original products.
Missing component scam
In this scam, the seller would quote the buyer a price that seemed awesomely cheap or too good to be true or both. After the buyer makes the purchase, the seller would then ask the buyer if the buyer would like to purchase accessories that would otherwise have been bundled with the product ranging from stupid stuff like straps to critical stuff like charger, battery and data cable.
“Top-up” scam
Many scammy shops usually do not allow buyer to test a brand new unit unless the buyer is committed to buy it. In this scam, the seller would convince the buyer to purchase something that he/she would later find to be unsatisfactory (e.g. faulty or of lower standard or incomplete set) and then offer the buyer a top-up for a pricier product.
Bait-and-Switch Scam 1
This is probably one of the most popular scams around. In this scam, the seller tries to lure the buyer into his shop by quoting a super low price for items that buyer wants – say Item A. When seller and buyer negotiate, the seller starts to make Item A sounds like a lousy products and start promoting Item B which buyer is not familiar with at ridiculous price. During the process, some shop used some ‘tweaked’ equipments to demonstrate how inferior Item A is.
Bait-and-Switch Scam 2
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 does not notice the switch before the money is exchanged, or the switch is done after the money is exchanged, the seller 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 exchange.
False Warranty 1
During negotiation the seller tries to give impression that the item is indeed covered by manufacturer’s warranty while in reality the item you are buying are grey market without official warranty. Upon payment, buyer may or may not be notified that the warranty is actually shop warranty and not manufacturer’s warranty. Which leads the seller to …
Hardselling (Extended) Warranty
The seller starts by trying to convince you on how ‘fragile’ / ‘valuable’ / ‘crappy’ your purchase is especially after manufacturer warranty expired. The seller could further comparing manufacturers warranty with piece of worthless toilet paper. This is often done after they are pretty sure you are going to buy the item (or worse… have bought the item).
False Warranty 2
This happens to some friends of mine who bought Nokia handphone from one of the seller in Chinatown. Everything looks fine until the phone broke down few months later. Upon visiting Nokia care, my friend was informed that the phone he bought was not covered under warranty and the warranty card that he owned were not for that phone – regardless whether it was an original copy or not.. Note that handphone’s warranty card usually contains IMEI number of the phone it covers (google ‘IMEI number’). Mismatched IMEI number usually results in warranty not being honored.

Oh yeah… forget about refund. No such things for shops you normally found in Sim Lim Square, Lucky Plaza or Chinatown. Thus before making payment, buyers should insist that they test the product. If it’s a product cannot 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! ps: see the above ‘False Warranty n

Sim Lim Square scam incident at the notorious United Square Cam 
(see many complaints below) where a foul-mouthed salesman 
swears at his scam victim in Hokkien (3:24) (youtube)

 
****************************

NAMED AND SHAMED
Shops with more than one complaint from December 2012 to February 2013

JW World: 12
Mobile Apps: 5
SMS Gaming LLP: 5
3Plus Mobile LLP: 5
Cyber Maestro: 4
Elite 3 Mobile: 4
Ray Technology: 3
Wee Mobile: 3
Square United Cam: 2
 
Source: Consumers Association of Singapore

_________________________________

Shamed Sim Lim Square retailers change signboards

Building management had pasted on walls and lift lobbies a list of shops that ripped off customers

AsiaOne, April 8, 2013 (source)

SINGAPORE - With apologies to the Bard, it seems that things aren't exactly smelling of roses at Sim Lim Square.

In February, the building management pasted on the complex's walls and lift lobbies a list of the shops that ripped off customers.

Now, some of these shamed shops have taken to changing their signboards to bypass bad press.

Their names, previously splashed in big type on the shopfronts, have now shrunk and are displayed on a small section of the sign board.

One of the shops that had a different name still printed its invoices bearing the old name.

In extreme cases, these errant retailers may even have gone for a drastic makeover - with a brand new name to boot. And it's perfectly legal for them to do it.

A Sim Lim Square spokesman said that shopkeepers in the complex who change their signboards simply have to alert the management beforehand and pay $26.75.

He said: "While we strive to keep tabs on the black-sheep retailers, (our hands are tied) as they are not breaking any rules by changing the signs."

And the retailers are being inventive as well.

Said the spokesman: "Last time, the shop name would take up maybe 90 per cent of the signboard. But now, some of the shops which were listed have put up signs with their names (occupying) 10 per cent of the space."

The errant ones are found mainly on the first three storeys of the complex. The majority sell mobile phones, tablets and phone accessories.

Changing signboards isn't the first attempt these black-sheep retailers have made to get around being named and shamed.

Shortly after the lists were put up, The New Paper reported how some lists were ripped off by unknown culprits.

Although the culprits were caught on camera, it was not possible to identify them from CCTV footage as it only showed the backs of the culprits.

The Sim Lim Square spokesman said the list-ripping stopped after the media reports.

Warning

This name-and-shame list is the latest attempt from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) to warn customers about errant retailers at Sim Lim Square, which has around 400 shops.

But it's not just the naughty ones - who make up less than three per cent of tenants - that get publicity.

Case and the Singapore Tourism Board have also worked with the building management to alert shoppers to retailers who give honest service through the CaseTrust accreditation and "STARetailer" schemes.

The latest list from Case shows the shops that received the most number of complaints over a three-month period from December to February this year.
 
Multi-strata

The management cannot kick these black-sheep retailers out because Sim Lim Square is a multi-strata titled building.

This means that individuals own the shops, with some owners running their own shops and others leasing it out.

A salesman at one of the shamed retailers that had changed its signboard said in Mandarin that the shop did not change hands.

"It's still the same people and same business. (It's) just the sign and the shop name that's different. The boss is still the same."

When asked why the name and sign had changed, he simply shrugged. The man added that his boss was overseas on a buying trip and would be back only next month.

At another shamed retailer, a salesman said: "When I came back from leave (last month), it was already like that." Pointing at the new signboard, he added: "My boss put it up. You have to ask him why."

His boss did not answer our many calls.

While there's nothing wrong in changing signs, Case executive director Seah Seng Choon said that those who change their business names or addresses without registering with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority may be violating the law.

Even if the business names and signboards are changed, Case can still invite the owners for a voluntary compliance agreement (where the shop voluntarily agrees not to engage in the unfair practice) or take out an injunction against them - as long as ownership remains the same.

Mr Seah added: "We would like to urge the Sim Lim Square vendors named on the list not to engage in hide-and-seek tactics but to put in efforts to improve their service to avoid consumer complaints and keep their names out of the list."

************************************
Reviews of Sim Lim Square at Trip Advisor (here)

Sim Lim Square is not a place for the uninitiated. On the one hand, it is sort of a one-stop building where you can find a wide range of electronic gadgets - some legal, some paralegal/illegal. 

Only go there if you are dead sure on what you want to get, what you are prepared to pay and the exact specs of the gadget you are getting. There are many bad reviews here on Tripadvisor but I still think that it is possible to get a good deal in Sim Lim.

One of the reasons why this place had degraded so much over the years is that there are many tourists visiting the building and looking for good deals. How they know about this obscure building in Singapore is beyond my imagination. But ill-prepared tourists make great targets for touts and cheats.

I suggest the following:

1. Do extensive research on the product that you want to get. This includes the product serial number/code, year of manufacture, place of manufacture, exact specs etc. Always ask as many questions about the product as possible. If you do not get good service from the staff - walk away. If there is a discrepancy in the specs, place/year of manufacture - walk away.

2. Know the going rate for the product you are getting so you know that you are getting a good deal. You can get a general idea by visiting the established electronic joints such as Best Denki or you can go online. Be happy if its is lower than the normal retail price BUT be suspicious if it is too much lower than the retail price (fake goods are not difficult to acquire). Enquire the details of what you are paying for - whether it includes additional charges, taxes, warranty fee, misc fee etc. In Singapore, there is Goods and Service Tax (GST) of 7%, which can be refunded if you are a foreigner. Be wary of any other "weird" taxes.

3. Do not feel pressurised to buy, even after asking tons of questions. The customer is ALWAYS right. Do not argue with the vendors/promoters/touts. If they turn rough, call for help. The number for police in Singapore is 999, not 911.

4. The price of rental for the units in Sim Lim Square is structured such that low floor units need to pay significantly higher rent. By virtue of that, ground floor or low floor units are not able to give you a better price compared to the upper floors. You can start your window-shopping at the top floors and work your way down. Of course, if what you are getting is only available at the lower floor units, you have not much choice. However, I tend to get a much better price for the same product at the upper floors.

5. If you do end up with a bad deal (rip-off, flawed/fake products, physical/verbal abuse, fraud), you can lodge a police report or make a formal complaint with the consumer watch-dog, CASE.

My personal advice to vistors is to stay away from Sim Lim Square. It is just not worth the time and effort. Best of luck if you are still keen to go!
________________________________________________-

1. They will lure and offer you with exceptional below market price quote with closing sale or moving reasons etc....

2. Haggle and bargain with you to establish his honesty or gain your trust in his service depending if you are local or tourist... and psychology they are trying to discourage you from double checking price with other store...

3. They will try to ask you for nominal deposit [even $20] to trap your commitment...Never give if you are wise!

4. Once your interest is shown, they will try to show you alternative model with negative comment of your choice or EVEN their own recommended product which has got you initially interested....Here is where their scam started...watch out!..If you have not paid deposit, use this as an excuse you are having second thought or the new product is out of your budget after their presentation...and just walk out...

5. If they do demo their newly recommended product, the best features will be quickly configured without or when you're not observing with exceptional features setting compare to the earlier or your preferred product to sway or entice you to his recommendation..Typical trick is to set camera or camcorder with different macro/close shot feature for fine print or resolution effect to be displayed on a monitor for your comparison.... [Tips: to get out of this situation, I will try to counter offer willing to purchase 2 or more unit with excuse getting this as gift for several friends BUT with much cheaper price discount per unit to make them back off.]

6. If you feel coerced, you may like to resort to conduct a on the spot product search with your smart phone through popular sites such as eBay, hardwarezone or google for latest price...subtly just to let them know you are going to know the market quote and actual product launched or info etc before you decide further on their offer...

7. When they show your choice product, make sure check the warranty card that is issued by the manufacture or appointed authorized distributors....some of the product offered are from parallel importers or obsolete product....

8. Double check the attached product manual to verify the enclosed accessories on your intent purchase....some of these unscrupulous retailers may replaced the parts with cheap alternative...

9. Always asked for new unit and to test the product on the spot before you give them your money to complete the purchase....ask for 1) official receipt, 2) ensure warranty card is endorsed, 3) read the fine print on faulty good return/exchange and never sign with any contentious clauses that is non standard.

10. Strongly advise that you do not patronize shops on the ground, 1st and 2nd floor until you've done your research, try to use your smart phone for instantaneous research if you're there...and do remember they may have other unit above 3rd floor...

11. If you are prepared to go through the above process wisely, I reckon you will enjoy your shopping there and able to engage them on their hard sell and hostile tactics... If not, you are asking for your own trouble....Good luck.
______________________________________________

I am a tourist who visits Singapore on a regular basis and on 30th April 2012, I was Beaten up, Pushed, Punched and Kicked by 4 of the Shopkeepers in Sim Lim Square. As a businessman who travels the world often, I am shocked and extremely disappointed to see this type of unruly behaviour happening in Singapore.

In short, it happened when I was trying to buy Ipad and they charged me $2000 for it, which is way overpriced (obviously a scam). When I refused to buy, 4 of them with gang tattoos stood up and started beating me. I have filed a police report that day, but so far nothing is done by the police.

I am utterly disappointed in Singaporean's police department. I am here now to tell you guys to beware of shopping in Sim Lim. As it turns out, there are 250+ scams filed per year in Sim Lim. Avoid it completely if you can.

_______________________________

Reviewed 29 May 2012

I should know better: I live in Singapore for 3 years now and clearly I missed the fact that Sim Lim Square is a place to avoid at all cost! There are 2 main places in Singapore to shop for computers and electronics: Funan and Sim Lim Square. Funan is a very decent place for foreigner and though I read that Sim Lim Square got better, it is in fact a rip off for foreigner and tourists.

Don't take me wrong, I've been living in Asia for 6 years now and I know that Asian are honest people with all. You just need to be careful with some shops.

Now my story is that I bought a camera and lens at a Sim Lim Square shop (#02-91 Camera Talk Pte. Ltd.) and I realized that the lens was not a good one, next day I return: answer goods are not returnable or exchangeable... well what can you do: in Singapore pretty much nothing... I would have gone to Funan, I know my experience would have been better.

So basically, even if you read ok reviews about Sim Lim Square: don't believe them. I think this place will not be cleaned of its questionable sales practices for years if ever... Prefer Funan...

__________________________________________

Stomp, April 12, 2012 (source)



Cyber Maestro, #02-77 Sim Lim Square

STOMPer einnor warns others against this shop in Sim Lim that charged her friend for 'software installation' without her friend's knowledge. When confronted, the shop owner smugly asked the friend to get a lawyer to sue him.

"Recently, my classmate from China bought 2 Nokia 302 phones from a shop in Sim Lim for 560 SGD.

"The shop told my friend that the phones require a software to work when my friend brings them back to China.

"The owner didn't tell my friend how much the 'software installation' was, so my friend thought that it was free as she is using the phones in China, and so she agreed to the installation.

"In the end, the bill came up to $1410.

"This is obviously a cheating case. And when my friend asked for a refund, the owner said no and proudly asked my friend to find a lawyer and sue him."


****************************************************


Scam Singapore, March 20, 2012 (source)

I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus at Sim Lim Square. I knew that the shops there can have very differing prices, so I went around to find one with the lowest price. I found it at Cyber Maestro #02-77. I made sure I was careful before I made the decision to buy, because I knew that there has been many scam cases that happened there, so I asked if the price they quoted includes everything, warranty, all accessories in the package and tax. Well everything was ok at first, but after i paid for it, the salesperson brought the phone to the counter at the back to do setups. He then told me that i needed to buy a memory card to increase the speed of the processor. I knew the phone came with 16GB of internal memory, but he said no, the programming and all will be under the external memory. After i bought the memory card and the guy did whatever programming that he claimed to do, he told me the total for the setups and programming will be 300 SGD (I can't rmb the exact amt that he quoted) on top of the 640 SGD that i have already paid for the phone itself. I was really angry cause he didn't tell me that he was going to do all those programming and that I'll have to pay some more. He also claimed that I wouldn't be able to access the internet if he did not do the setups for me. I refused to pay that extra 300 bucks and in the end haggled it down to 200. When I went home and was trying out the phone functions, I came across the storage space section and realised that the memory space on the external memory card is not used up at all! So basically, I paid 200 bucks for nothing, aside from the memory card that was totally not needed!

Then again, of course I knew that it was my fault that I wanted to find cheap deals, but it's just so dumb that i was made to pay that extra 200 bucks for nothing! And the salesperson lied that the phone will not work if he did not programme it for me.

I just want to warn people so they don't get scammed like I did.


*******************************************************

Stomp, Feb 29, 2012 (source)

"I had just returned from a shop in Sim Lim Square called Dream 2 Mobile (#02-59) after purchasing a PS Vita.

"I asked for a quotation and they said $398 so I decided to get it there. That was obviously the price before taxes. The actual price is $434. Fair enough, I paid.

"Then the person asked me whether I'd like them to register the warranty for me. I agreed. After about 25 minutes later the guy returned with another invoice of $227: $99 for extended 12mth warranty -- god knows if it's true; $39.90 registration and a whopping $85.50 for service charge.

"I flared up when I realised that I wasn't informed of this charge before hand, and because the warranty is tagged to my name and NRIC I could not refuse payment. 

"Plus they were holding on to the Vita. He wrote me a receipt of a grand total of $661 and purposely left the breakdown blank. 

"When I asked them to fill it in for me they outright refused and I only managed to get the info for the second invoice after forcefully insisting. 

"$85.50 service charge? Huh? Yes I'll go to CASE."
 

*******************************************************************
 


Many more tales of Sim Lim Square scams:


* Blog exposing Sim Lim Square scammers:  here

* Trip advisor: here

* Sim Lim Square is a den of scammers: here
_______________________________________


Sim Lim Square scam reports (source)

http://forums.gameaxis.com/showthread.php?t=1499020


http://www.sgclub.com/singapore/bad_service_sim_153590.html

http://forums.vr-zone.com/pc-console-games-garage/133146-beware-game-shops-sales-tactics.html

http://forum.gameaxis.com/showthread.php?p=21635833

The worst shopping centre in Singapore?  (here)

Is Lucky Plaza the next Sim Lim?  (here)

http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=192394

http://www.singaporeexpats.com/forum/ftopic56971.html&sid=2bb1f2a6cf6c60b558035aed8f9338eb

http://forums.vr-zone.com/world-news-singapore-affairs/418426-news-tourist-cheated-thrice-one-day-sim-lim.html

http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/1732117/all

http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/mobile-apps-pte-ltd-02-72-sim-lim-square-singapore-188504-c580285.html

http://talkback.stomp.sg/forums/showthread.php?t=28013

http://www.scamfound.com/f13/pc-geeks-simlim-square-overpriced-items-rude-staff-165699.html

http://www.moneysmart.sg/frugal-living/5-money-saving-ways-to-buy-electronics-in-singapore/



**************************************************


Reviews of Sim Lim Square at Yahoo! Travel (here)


Singapore Tourism Board - Supports Sim Lim
By A Yahoo! Contributor7/23/09

In following up on my posting below, STB has recently responded and it seems like there is nothing they can or is willing to do about the conduct of Sim Lim traders. See below. I understand that it is a free market, but isn’t there laws and regulation that exists to protect the consumer from unfair, deceptive, dishonest trade practices? If a salesmen lies to you and then shows you his fake documents to support the lie i.e. old receipts and cost sheets isn’t that against the law? I find it virtually unbelievable that in a place such as Singapore where you can be fined $1000 for riding your bike through the underpass, and yet it is also a place that openly tolerates and with your response “supports” these shady merchants. To clear up any misunderstanding, I don’t wish to be refunded for the difference. What I want is to see someone with authority policing these people, and reminding them that they can be punished for their actions. If you do a search online you can see numerous accounts of unhappy customers being deceived by this merchant yet nothing is being done. FYI: Link to this page Judging from your scripted reply I trust that neither STB nor CASE is willing to do anything about this. I am disappointed and you can be sure that I will use our correspondence and every available media avenue to warn and hopefully deter people from trading in and travelling to Singapore. Thank you for you time, 

Son -- Dear Son Greetings from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) We refer to your report on your purchase of a SANYO HD1000 digital camcorder. Before we look into your case further, we wish to share with you that In the free market conditions in Singapore, prices of electronic items can vary greatly from shop to shop and retailers are free to recommend their products to shoppers. A tourist shopping for the best bargain he can find is free to accept or reject any price or product offered by a shop. Recommended Retail Price (RRP) Since prices vary from shop to shop at any given point in time, STB in helping tourists with disputes will rely on the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) set by local distributors of electronic products. The sum total of the RRP of all items purchased would be taken and compared with the total sum charged by the shop. Any price that a tourist pays below the RRP will be deemed to be the best bargain price that the tourist can find for himself by shopping around. However, if the purchase price is above the RRP, STB can approach the shop and use it as a starting point to mediate towards an amicable settlement. If the amount that you have paid is greater than the RRP total sum, we would try to mediate on your behalf a refund of the difference only if you are agreeable to it. Please understand that STB has no legal powers to compel the shop to arrive at a settlement but can only attempt to reach an amicable settlement between both parties. We understand from the SANYO Singapore distributor that the RRP for SANYO HD1000 is SGD2299, we attached the price list for your reference. We also wish to share with you that the GST rate in Singapore is 7%, tourist can claim GST refund through refund scheme service provider, and the actual refund tourist received will be amount mines necessary administrative fee charged by the service provider. Almost of the retailer in Sim Lim Square will offer customer the price before GST, we understand some retailer will provide both price before and after GST. As in your case, the shop is under the Global Refund Scheme, the GST refund can be claimed at the airport with the GST refund form issued by the retailer. We understand the camera was offer to you at SGD900, plus the 7% GST, total amount should be SGD963. There shall be no other service fee charged in your case. We hope above information is helpful, if you need any other assistance, please feel free to contact us. Best regards Senior Officer Visitor Information & Feedback Department Capability Development Division.




CONMAN @ SQUARE UNITED CAM #02-72 Sim Lim Square
By Hwee Cheng4/25/12

sadly, i'm the latest victim of this conshop! went sim lim with the intention of buying a Canon S100 and i chanced upon this shop where the salesman (Johnny i think) quoted me S$550 (incl. of GST) for the cam.. i wanted to buy it and he went to "call his colleague" in another store to get one for me (which now i think back, could just be for show).. over the phone, he mentioned that his colleague was having lunch n he told the colleague to bring it over when he was done and he'd talk to me while waiting.. so while "waiting", he started to sell me another camera.. the Pentax Optio RZ18.. i never heard of the camera before but was wow-ed over by the gd quality photos it cld take.. and i really tot i was getting a good offer cuz the specs was much better than the S100 and the pic quality was v good, as compared to the S100.. he quoted me $680 at first and then self-lowered it to $550... i tried to google the avg price the pdt cost online on the spot (with my phone) and he kept trying to distract me from doing so.. he kept asking what i'm doing and talking even though i told him many times to give me a few mins to do my research as i'm not comfortable buying things i nv do research on first.. but he still kept talking.. which now i know why he did that.. so i ended up buying the cam cuz of the supposed discounted price and better specs.. but i still din feel comfortable so i went home to do some online research. I found tt on ebay the selling price was arnd SGD 300-400 (incl. shipping cost) and on the pentax website it was selling for SGD 320 (excl. shipping)! i even called another retailer in singapore and they quoted me SGD 220! so i went back on the same day to exchange the camera for the S100 since i haven used it and the price quoted was the same. When i went there, the salesman was talking to another customer, and i overheard the conversation and it seemed like the customer was also trying to get an exchange.. when it was my turn, i asked for an exchange and he told me No outrightly, pointing to the invoice saying there is no returns (which actually, returns is not the same as exchange i feel).. so i tried reasoning to him that we did not even use the cam and went back the same day.. after a while he said he cld exchange for me but we need to top up the difference.. and he started to sell me a more expensive camera! i said i only wanted the S100 and he said no more stock.. Told him there was still stock when i wanted to buy (2-3hrs ago) and he said he sold it already.. I totally don't believe him.. I said i wld wait for stock to come in and he said ok, but he cannot guarantee the same price and told me to be prepared to pay S$699, the retail price at the latest IT show! I got really pissed as i knew at tt point tt his aim was just to con me to buy the pentax and earn a much higher profit and never had any intention of selling me the S100 at S$550.. so i stormed out of the store.. PLS warn everyone you know of this con shop! I really hope no one else will get conned and that this store will close down soon!

Crooks and Gangsters at Sim Lim Square

Stay away from #02-72 Sim Lim Square (- SQuare United Cam). Tell all your friends about this too. Nothing but a bunch of Liars and Crooks. Just talking about it makes me mad. 1. They sold you thing that are 4 months what they are actually worthed - in my case 2. They took out the parts and claimed they have put it in - you must check piece by piece what they claimed is there. Don't take your eyes off the goods. 3. On the next day when I went back to complain that they didn't put in the memory card which I have bought an extra piece (the extra piece was outside and there was nothing inside the camera), the Gangster surfaced and talked tough. 4. Take my advice - just go to Courts, Harvey Norman and check the price before going to Sim Lim. Better still, it's no point saving $50 dollars and arguing with the Johnny and the Gangster there later. You taxi fare and time and maybe heart ache is worth more than the savings - not that I am a fan of Courts or Harvey. 5. If the Singapore Tourism Board wants to interview me, I am more than pleased. These bad people give Singapore a bad name. 6. Maybe we don't teach Honesty is the Best Policy to them when they were young. I still believe in this - Honesty pays.
United Square Cam - Sim Lim Square
By A Yahoo! Contributor12/6/11

What a horrible place - Sim Lim and equally con shop - United Square Cam, they are very charming with great selling skills. they sold me sanyo xcati cg11 for SGD 600 which is worth SGD 200!!! i was very angry. they will tell you its the latest and best camera around but it is actually two year old product. please please be aware and nerver shop at sim lim square and united square cam


SQUARE UNITED CAM Sim Lim Sq
 : I am another victim
By A Yahoo! Contributor1/4/11

By Another Unhappy Customer - A lesson Learnt., 12/Dec/10 Stay away from #02-72 Sim Lim Square (- SQuare United Cam). Tell all your friends about this too. And do not even walk near to them, you will be hooked be them by their warmness on the surface, but behind their warm face, they were having a very bad intention to rid you off and upside down. They introduce me the Sanyo CG-10 camcoder, they told me is latest model, and have warranty in my country, Penang Malaysia. I bought it for SGD 700.00. And assure me is the cheapest. I wasn't do my homework, because I am not intended to buy one. But I see it was fascinating gudget, so I bought it. And when I come back, I found out it was a year old product and almost face out. And now it only cost SGD 200.00. I was rid off SGD500. When I found out the truth, I was shock, not really angry, but rather admire his skill of sales. But I think they rid me off too much. So, I need to declare this to the world's tourist. Do not goto this shop or even walk near it. Kind of dangerous people and place. But I think their shop will be close down soon because, very soon, every people will know what they do and nobody dare to walk near. This is the power of internet. When I look for this shop in the web, I found out that many victim in the web, so I decided to add on my story. I ask all tourist that has the bad experience with this shop, please published in the web, let all people know about them. This shop is at Sim Lim Square, Singapore. Where this Square was known to have many IT product. Now, is no more bargin place. Is a place where wolves are waiting for victim to get hook.

SQUARE UNITED CAM #01-50 Sim Lim Square STAY AWAY!
By A Yahoo! Contributor9/11/10

I planned to buy a Video Camera while in Singapore. I did my homework - or I thought I did, and went to Singapore full of confidence. I went into Shop #01-50 on the ground floor of Sim Lim Square and started looking at the one I wanted. 'Desmond' was doing the selling at this stage and was pooh poohing my choice. At that moment 'Alex' the boss, comes up with a Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG88 and said "you know the camera I use at home is this one. It's the best and the latest, those other ones on your list are the old ones - a couple of versions ago" They then proceeded to demonstrate the qualities of this camera - which I hadn't seen on other camera's for less than AU$700 in Oz. Needless to say, they took me for a ride. They lied about the comparative quality of the camera, they lied about the 'newness' of the camera, they lied about the 'extras' - a tripod, which was essentially a plastic toy plus a couple of other bits, they didn't include the bundle that retailers in Australia include with this camera and they lied about Sanyo Australia honouring an 'International Warranty' (it doesn't exist) and they charged me what they said was their GST, but in fact charged me less and added $20 'service fee' instead. At the airport I ended up getting back less GST than I should have paid. I obviously didn't do my homework well enough and I didn't even consider Sanyo products and I didn't say 'no' at that point. I didn't check the quality of the 'extra's' before I left I didn't check the receipt properly and call them on it. I didn't listen to my lovely wife when she suggested we look around and come back later. Was I stupid? Yes, yes, yes, yes. RULE 1. Take a phone or computer with wireless access to Google or EBay and compare the prices on there with what they're showing you. If you don't have a capable phone or computer then RULE 2. Stick to the product you know and don't deviate from it. RULE 3. Check the 'extras'. If they're not as you expected - walk straight out - cos they're lying to you anyway. RULE4. Don't shop at Sim Lim Square in the first place, but if you do, don't go into #01-50 Sim Lim Square. If you strike an Alex and/or Desmond trying to sell you something - walk away. Did it spoil my holiday - yes it did. Something I could have paid $400 in Oz for, I ended up paying a lot, lot more for - not including the loss of sleep and total loss of confidence.
Rip-off at SQUARE UNITED CAM
By A Yahoo! Contributor12/25/07

BEWARE of this shop SQUARE UNITED CAM,shop #02-72 Sim Lim Sqaure. They will rip you off with their sweet talking salesman. Being first timer in Singapore I was sold an inferior camera for the price of a later model $380 more than other shops. When confonted them next day, they said "tough"as they do not have a refund policy.
SCAMMED AT #02-77
By YbY3/19/12

Please don't shop at sim lim square to find so called "cheap deals". There has been countless cases of scams, so unless you have researched thoroughly on the particular product that you're buying, I'd strongly advise you to stay away from that place! I've been conned there even though I'm a local. I bought my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus there. I knew that the shops there can have very differing prices, so I went around to find one with the lowest price. I made sure I was careful before I made the decision to buy, because I knew that there has been many scam cases that happened there, so I asked if the price they quoted includes everything, warranty, all accessories in the package and tax. Well everything was ok at first,but after i paid for it, he brought the phone to the counter at the back to do setups. He then told me that i needed to buy a memory card to increase the speed of the processor. I knew the phone came with 16GB of internal memory, but he said no, the programming and all will be under the external memory. After i bought the memory card and the guy did whatever programming that he claimed to do, he told me the total for the setups and programming will be 300 SGD (I can't rmb the exact amt that he quoted) on top of the 640 SGD that i have already paid for the phone itself. I was really angry cause he didn't tell me that he was going to do all those programming and that I'll have to pay some more. He also claimed that I wouldn't be able to access the internet if he did do the setups for me. I refused to pay that extra 300 bucks and in the end haggled it down to 200. When I went home and was trying out the phone functions, I came across the storage space section and realised that the memory space on the external memory card is not used up at all!! I felt so stupid for getting SCAMMED OF 200 BUCKS FOR NOTHING. So please, let my experience be a warning for potential customers of sim lim square. 1) Don't take your eyes off the product after you pay for it. 2) Ask the salesperson what they are doing to the gadget if they claim to be programming it. And if possible, ask to watch the programming process. 3) These advices are made on the basis of you having done some research on the product, be it about the price, accessories that comes as a package and the technical features of the product itself.

Ripped off by PC Geeks
By Steve2/21/12

Steve - 20 Feb 2012 I have been ripped off by PC geeks in February 2012. As a tourist I had heard good things about Sim Lim Square but i have been lied to and ripped off by PC geeks. I went to them with a part number for an HP computer, they sold it to me assuring me it was the right part when I questioned them about it. Shortly after I found that it was the wrong part and went back to them to get the part i wanted and a refund and they refused to exchange or help or to refund the money i spent. I was lied to by them and feel pretty stupid. dont let it happen to you.

We were Ripped off bigtime
By Richard6/23/11

Taken by Taxi driver to IT Digital Trading store.Took my 1yr old Canon Camera and $2000sg for a Sanyo Xacti VPC_CG10 which sells for around $400NZ.Insisted this was the latest technology and started off at $3000.The guy signed himself Steven and basicly helped himself to my money. After 7weeks travelling around Europe without aworry I was scammed in Singapore and will definitely not return.Incidently this business was GST registered.
Sim Lim cheaters
By A Yahoo! Contributor6/12/11

People watch out for Sim Lim. I had a similar experience with a salesman called Alex who cheated on me and made me buy a video camera Sanyo for a double market price. Asked me obviously when was I leaving Singapore, demonstrated how cool the camera was, didn't even hesitate a moment while informing about some international warranty, generally - impressive selling skills. His store is in the ground floor. If you need to buy some electronic devices first do some research on the REAL prices, and buy them in normal stores, I was mislead by the strong convinction that hey, it's singapore, everyone's honest in here, well stupid me, Alex is a cheater. Just wait until he shows you the postcards he gets from people thanking him for good shopping bla bla. I learned a lesson. DON'T GO SHOPPING TO SIM LIM!

SIM LIM Square... Beware of Cheaters...
By A Yahoo! Contributor2/7/11

This is a place where there are multiple floors of electronic goods. I wanted to purchase a HTC Hero for a friend of mine. I went shopping in this place as someone told me I could find electronic goods here. I went to a mobile shop in this place and the guy sold me a phone claiming it is HTC Hero. The guy gave me a box and a receipt and assuming I have been given the product I asked for, I paid the money and walked out. When I went to my hotel and opened the box, I realized that the phone this guy had given is not the model I had asked for. It is a model that is about SGD 250 cheaper than HTC Hero. He had tricked me and packed a HTC Wildfire. When I went back to the store next day, he acted as if this is the model he had sold me. When I asked about he price, he said I had agreed to pay SGD 250 more and I should not be making any complaints. Everyone in the store very well knew what they did to me becuase they were all laughing inside. I then remembered that the salesman had specifically asked me when I was leaving Singapore. I had told him that I was leaving the next day. It was not hard for me to connect the dots to figure out why he had asked me such a question. I felt very cheated. I did not have time to explore what I could do as my flight was leaving in a couple of hours. I just took the phone with me, but making a very sure commitment to myself that I will never come back to shop at SIMLIM Square. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE.

Be very carefull at Sim Lim!
By Herry7/26/10

I plan to buy some Nikon Lenses :ie 18-200Vr and 105Vr Macro. So I go to Sim Lim Square for the 3rd time (My last visit is 2008 ). Stop @ 1st shop, they offer SGD 900 for the 18-200VR, seems good price for me, so I just request more discount, but can not. So I said OK. I'll pay. Then the salesman ask me what camera I used? After my answer (D90) they took D90 and put on the 18-200VR, and asked me to take a shot. Immediately the connect D90 with the small TV on the table via Video cable, and ask me to see the photos on TV, which looks having lots of shade/blur, and salesman starts to tell all weakness about this Nikon lens while promoting other brands as much better then Nikon. he took other camera (D5000) and put on this T...n brand 18-200 and take a shot, and try to connect to TV and said "ooh it's different video connector!" Then he took other cables from drawer, then show me a very nice picture on TV. I just act that I was really newbie, no knowledge on Photography. I just tell "I only use Nikon! I want this Nikon 18-200VR!" ... Then I ask price for 105VR. Then he start telling things in a very rude way. "Why first you ask 18-200, then you ask for others? you're not listening? I have shown you this great lens... bla...bla..blaa... Seeing is believing etc." He made a lot of reasons not to sell the Nikon 18-200 to me for SGD 900. Ask me to pay other brand T...n 18-200, with unreasobnable high price. So I just told "do you think I'm so stupid?" and leave the shops. Stop at 2nd shop! They offer for SGD 950. Then really the same things at previous shop happened with D90, D5000, TV, Video cable... other lenses, add with a lot of accesories offered (wide converter, tele converter, filter, etc.). Since having experienced, not to aks other things. I just keep silent and told "I'll pay for SGD 950" and take out my SGD 1000. Then they (3 salesman) starts to talk to each other, seems can not find reasons not to sell. Finally they made the bill... I got the 18-200VR! I'm just wondering why the do this? They offer low price, but not sells and do all effort to sell other brand. I'm still thinking on picture on TV, if very high resolution pict (of D90) via video cable to very low res (old small TV) then pict will not be normal. May be they set the D5000 in very lowe res, or use different video cable. But for sure. They do the tricky things to sells other stuffs with high price. If tourist who is very new in photography then ? How they (shops) at Sim Lim do their business, needs to have attention & control from Singapore Government. They made Singapore very bad. My last share ... at other shops when claim for guarantee (D5000 of a firend, after 1 week not works)... Salesman rudely said "Do you think I'm your slave after purchasing from us?!" Then I just go to Nikon Singapore to fix it. Hope can help others who plan to shop at Sim Lim.

Beware, Beware, Beware
By jim7/9/10

I negotiated for a 16gb card, reached a fair price, and was handed a 8gb card in my bag. When I returned to complain, I was pretty much just laughed at. The salesman said I may have been asking for a 16gb, but he was thinking 8GB, and that the price was fair anyway. It was not. In truth, it was just less than double the price in a half-dozen shops in the same complex. If a man named Robin at FOCUSPOINT on the first floor tries to sell you anything - run away fast. Odds are he is lying.

Another bad experience at Sim Lim Square
By A Yahoo! Contributor4/25/10

Watch out for the shop #02-11 at Sim Lim Square. I was there with a friend to buy iPhone batteries, and after asking at the shop, the salesman quoted $120 for 2 batteries. I was still shopping around, so I said we would look around first (I had a bad experience buying a highly-quoted handphone at Sim Lim before, so I make sure I shop around to compare prices first). The salesman then started to become threatening, saying he'd already quoted me $120, so I should buy it from him. I kept saying 'relax, relax' but in the end we decided to walk out instead of buy from him. On the way out, he was insulting us. BTW we found same batteries at $58 for two on the 5th floor. My advice - avoid shops with rude salesmen like #02-11, and compare prices first. Don't buy just because of their pressure tactics.

Avoid Yaomin Digital Pte LTD
By Weron7/9/09

They operate on 4th floor (#04-20) but there is a stall near escalator at 3rd store. Later I will write more but think twice !!!! before you buy anything from them.

Royal Plus: 1st Floor in the centre. Avoid.
By Harry2/16/09

I won't waste as much time tearing into this sham of a shop as I ought to, but suffice to say that they appear to be incapable of the most rudimentary customer service standards. My Nintendo Wii, which I paid $100 to have serviced, took weeks to be returned and appears to have been temporarily lost. The individual responsible, Jason Chong, unfailingly let me down by not calling me back, not honouring his word to reimburse me 50% after missing another promised deadline and repeatedly not delivering when promised. As I write this at 18:20, he is 20 minutes late, after I practically shouted at him twice in one day and demanded he deliver it by 18:00. Unable to get hold of him on two occasions, I spoke to his colleagues there who refused to be at all accountable, indignantly blamed him for my problems and made extracting any kind of apology from them or understanding of my anger almost impossible. Of course, they too did not call me back when promised and did not get their manager to contact me as I requested. I’d advise never to use this shop for anything, especially if you are unaccustomed to dealing with humans of sub normal intelligence. I am astonished that in such a competitive trading environment as Sim Lim Square, a company would make so many elementary mistakes in handling a customer.

Stop Shopping at Meyer Electronics on 1st Floor
By A Yahoo! Contributor2/12/09

First they offer a Sanyo Xactic VPC-CG9 at $1999, but after trade-in the price went deep down to 1200, to make it more attractive, after discount it becomes $700 with some freebies. I only know that we got ripped after I checked the pricing with other shops and online price. I also notice that their company stamp is call Square United Cam. A bunch of old bengs. Their sales tactics are great and they have ways to stop you from looking at other branded models. Cant blame much but ourself for not doing research before purchase... called CASE but the chance is very small.
Beware of IT Digital Trading #01-35/37
By Russ6/1/08

Beware of this store! I went to buy a digital camera in this shop and the salesman is very cunning and tricky. He is the salesman who wears an earing with two rings in his hand. He wears a hat at that time. His trick is that he asks you to pay first and then he will ask you to buy another "supposedly" better model. When I insisted that I want to get the model that I wanted, he was giving me the display set and he did not want to give all the freebies anymore under promotion. Then he did not want to give back my money until I told him that I call the police.

Careful at Hi-V!
By A Yahoo! Contributor8/24/07

I was duped at this shop into buying a camcorder where I was lied to about the feature and the resolution. The trick works in that they allow you to buy what you want to buy and then persuade you of another model with apparently better features (most of which isnt true), including a demonstartion on a rigged monitor to portray different camcorders. Care advised!

Worst Tourist Experience Ever
By A Yahoo! Contributor8/4/07

I would like to warn visitors to be very careful of Hi-V Trading on the ground floor - a camera shop on the corner as one enters the centre from Rochor Road. Not knowing what time the centre opened I arrived at 9:30am - the centre was dead quiet as I discovered most shops only opened at 10:30am. In Hi-V Trading I believe I was hypnotised as I ended up using my credit card to purchase a camera I had seen the previous day and hadn't even liked. I cannot account for over an hour - the centre was quiet one minute, and a noisy hustle bustle the next when I was walking out with my purchase. I have no idea how I came to a decision to make this purchase, and all my friends back home are completely surprised as it is not at all in keeping with my character on a number of counts. Firstly in 25 years of marriage I have never bought something like this without my husband's approval, and secondly, I am normally a careful shopper who will go from store to store weighing up all the options before making a choice - I never buy even cheaper items without first shopping around. So how did I buy a camera I didn't even like?

*********************************************************************



1 comment:

Miguel Angel Agil said...

Cyber maestro tried to pull a fast one on me, I was buying a samsung tab 3 and finally agreed with the price, when i was paying they say you need to register it online for the warranty, so i say can you help me out, which he say ok. Then he tried to have me sign a document, (not going to sign a document blindly so i read it). The document, once you signed, says that you agreed to pay another $700 dollars for the activation and services they are doing for your new purchase. Item only cost $250 and they want you to pay another $700 for services. I took my money then went out fast from that shop