It's time for payback - with coins

Above: Ms Zhou counting the coins she was given by a mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square, which had been ordered to refund her $1,000 as well as a $10 administrative fee, in October 2014. Right: An employee of car dealer Exotic Motors collecting the
Above: Ms Zhou counting the coins she was given by a mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square, which had been ordered to refund her $1,000 as well as a $10 administrative fee, in October 2014. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Above: Ms Zhou counting the coins she was given by a mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square, which had been ordered to refund her $1,000 as well as a $10 administrative fee, in October 2014. Right: An employee of car dealer Exotic Motors collecting the
Above: An employee of car dealer Exotic Motors collecting the coins that had been dumped on the showroom floor by one of Mr Lester Ong Boon Lin's workers. Mr Ong had been ordered by a court to repay the car dealer $19,000.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Some individuals have used coin payments to harass payees. Payees are not obliged to accept payment in coins beyond the legal tender limit. Here are two cases.

PHONY CONTRACT

In October 2014, the owner of Mobile Air, a cellphone shop in Sim Lim Square, refunded a customer $1,010 in coins.

The customer, who wanted to be known only as Ms Zhou, had bought an iPhone 6 Plus at the shop the month before.

After signing a "contract" and forking out $1,600, staff told Ms Zhou to pay an additional $2,400 for a two-year insurance policy, a "contract" clause she was not aware of before payment.

After confronting the owner Jover Chew, Ms Zhou launched a formal complaint with the Small Claims Tribunal, which ordered the shop to refund the customer $1,000 and $10 for an administrative fee.

When she returned to collect her refund in mid-October, she was presented with a large bag of coins in every denomination.

FISHY BUSINESS

In November 2014, Mr Lester Ong Boon Lin, a customer of car dealer Exotic Motors, left $19,000 worth of coins in the car showroom.

Mr Ong, 34, supposedly the son of a famous nasi lemak franchise owner, had been ordered by the court to repay the car dealer, who had paid his insurance and road tax.

According to surveillance footage, one of Mr Ong's workers delivered the coins in a styrofoam box and poured them out onto the showroom's carpeted floor, leaving a pungent smell of fish.

Speaking to Chinese paper Shin Min Daily News, Mr Ong said he made the payment in coins to show his dissatisfaction with the court's judgment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2017, with the headline 'It's time for payback - with coins'. Print Edition | Subscribe