Another Sim Lim incident: Student reduced to tears after being charged $1,000 for warranty fees for iPhone 6

The interior of popular computer mall, Sim Lim Square. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The interior of popular computer mall, Sim Lim Square. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Shops at Sim Lim Square may have made more than one customer cry.

A 19-year-old undergraduate was reduced to tears at Mobile 22, after being told she had to pay $1,000 on top of the $999 she had paid for an iPhone 6.

This comes after a Vietnamese tourist cried and knelt down to beg the staff of another shop, Mobile Air, for a refund after he was told to pay an additional $1,500 as warranty fees for an iPhone 6.The Consumers Association of Singapore has received 10 complaints against Mobile 22 between August and October this year. There were 25 complaints chalked up against Mobile Air in the same time period

The international student, who did not want her name or school to be revealed, said that she went to the shop located on the first floor of Sim Lim Square on Oct 9 after checking many other shops round the island. She agreed to pay $999 for the phone.

The salesman told her that the warranty would cost $39.90, an amount she found reasonable. But she got a shock when she was charged $1,000 on her debit card for warranty fees alone.

"There was an 'x' between the 39.90 and 24 months that the seller had very strategically covered with his finger while urging me to sign the document," she said in an email to The Straits Times.

"I'm a middle class student from India, I barely had money to buy the phone let alone pay for this," she said.

When the staff said they would not return her the money, she started begging them and burst into tears as the money was meant for her school tuition fees. They ignored her and even yelled at her, she said. Eventually, they charged her $551 instead of $1,000.

The incident has left the student broke, and she is surviving on meals that cost between $3 and $4, she said, adding that she did not know of any way she could seek redress.

"That day still haunts me. It was my worst experience in this country for I was told that Singapore was a safe city and incidents like these don't occur," she said.

When asked about the incident, an employee at Mobile 22 said that she was not free to to answer questions from The Straits Times, and added that the shop owner was not around.  

Mr Stephanus Titus Widjaja also shared a bad experience his friend had with now infamous Mobile Air.

His friend, a Malaysian who was visiting Singapore, had gone to the shop on Oct 24 to get an iPhone 6. She agreed to pay $1,150 for it, excluding GST, but she was later asked to pay an additional $1,048. She was told it was for warranty. She eventually left without her phone, after paying $1,088. She only managed to get a screen protector which she paid for. Staff even tore up her receipt so she could bring it back, she told Mr Widjaja. Mr Widjaja reported the incident to the police and to Case on behalf of his friend. On Monday, after his friend returned to Malaysia, he managed to get a $308 refund from Mobile Air on her behalf.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg