Errant shops finding ways to mask reputation
Some resort to changing name on storefront or removing it altogether
Errant shops have come up with new tactics to mask their dubious reputations.
Their latest tricks include shrinking the shop's name to a small section of their main signboard, or simply removing it. Others even change the name. In more extreme cases, they register a new company, renovate or move to another mall.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), which flagged this trend to The Straits Times, said these tactics are more common in Lucky Plaza, Sim Lim Square and People's Park Complex. A few shops at these places have a reputation of ripping customers off. But there are also isolated cases in other malls like Peninsula Plaza.
"Doing this helps errant companies wipe the slate clean," said Case executive director Seah Seng Choon, who said these new tactics are more common in Sim Lim Square because of a list the mall put up in February.
Alarm bells should ring when...
- You see that a store's invoice has a different name from the one on its signboard.
- The shop's signboard is bare, save for a small name in the corner. Or the shop has no name displayed.
- The vendor refuses to write down the price in black and white to confirm the total when you request that he do so.
- You are moved from one store to another.
One victim said that a woman at a store agreed on a price with him but took him to another shop to pay. She then walked away. The buyer ended up paying more than what had been agreed, with the second store claiming it did not know the woman.
COMPLAINTS TO CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE:
January - December 2012
- Lucky Plaza: 47
- People's Park Complex: 41
- Sim Lim Square: 100
January - July 2013
- Lucky Plaza: 8
- People's Park Complex: 35
- Sim Lim Square: 40