At least nine people have fallen victim to sham websites claiming to offer branded guitars at a 90 per cent discount, prompting the authorities to remind the public to be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.
At least two websites claim they are selling a limited number of two Martin Guitar models - which retail at $825 and $1,725 each - at just $149.
Martin Guitars are manufactured by American company CF Martin & Co, a leading guitar manufacturer of flat top guitars which can command up to six-figure prices.
One website says it is selling 94 Martin Guitars cheaper as they were involved but undamaged in a truck accident. The other claims that 100 guitars were prohibited by the Singapore Customs from being exported after failing to conform to export regulations, and were later released to be sold at "cost price" after discussions between Customs officers and manufacturers.
The websites were also promoted on at least three Facebook posts, attracting hundreds of shares and comments. The posts have since been deleted.
Singapore Customs said in a Facebook post on Jan 19 that the websites' claims are not true and advised the public not to provide personal information or make financial transactions through such websites.
Mr Joseph Siau, a spokesman for City Music, the sole distributor of Martin Guitars in Singapore, said he knows of nine people who have placed an order via the sham websites, but he does not know if any goods have been delivered.
"We strongly believe that, even if they actually deliver an actual guitar, it is going to be a counterfeit," he said, adding that the company has lodged a police report.
We strongly believe that, even if they actually deliver an actual guitar, it is going to be a counterfeit.
MR JOSEPH SIAU, a spokesman for City Music, the sole distributor of Martin Guitars in Singapore, on the websites offering the US-brand guitars for sale at very low prices.
The company has also received more than 20 queries about the legitimacy of these deals. Mr Siau said it is impossible for Martin Guitars to be sold at such a low price, given that its manufacturer "employs a mix of expert craftsmanship and state-of-the-art multimillion-dollar machinery to build its guitars".
The company is working with CF Martin & Co in the United States to decide on what legal action to take.
The police confirmed that a report was lodged. It advised the public in a Facebook post on Jan 25 to read sellers' past reviews before buying products or services online, ask for payment on delivery if possible and be mindful that not all identification provided by sellers is legitimate.