Maid gets full refund for $145 screen protector

EZ Advance Trading at Lucky Plaza had reportedly pressured a maid into paying $145 for a screen protector.
EZ Advance Trading at Lucky Plaza had reportedly pressured a maid into paying $145 for a screen protector.

The woman in the middle of a $145 screen-protector spat with a cellphone store at Lucky Plaza has received a full refund, marking an end to a dispute that went viral online in the past week.

Ms Denise Han, whose maid was reportedly pressured into paying $145 for a screen protector, posted on Facebook on Friday that EZ Advance Trading Enterprise had given a full refund.

When The Sunday Times called the store yesterday morning, a worker confirmed that the refund had been given.

Ms Han, 37, said that on Feb 18, her maid went to Lucky Plaza to get a phone screen protector, expecting it to cost $20 at most.

It was only when the protector was placed on the helper's Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus that the store employee told her she needed to pay $145, reported Chinese-language evening daily Lianhe Wanbao on Feb 19.

Ms Han said the maid was pressured into forking out the money because the store employee said everything was captured on a closed-circuit television camera.

When The Sunday Times visited Lucky Plaza last Friday afternoon, operators of shops there said they had not heard any complaints about EZ Advance Trading.

Phone store U-First Tel manager Steve Yee said his most expensive screen protector was $48, for the iPhone X. Another store manager, who did not want to be named, said her screen protectors cost $20 at most.

EZ Advance Trading's manager, who gave his name only as John, had told the media earlier that his screen protector cost $145 because of its high quality and a one-year warranty.

When asked why other stores were selling screen protectors for much less, he said: "They are my competitors, they would say that their prices are much lower than mine."

However, he said he was willing to give a full refund to Ms Han's maid because he wanted to close the matter and move on.

Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) executive director Loy York Jiun said another consumer wrote in to provide feedback about a similar experience with the same shop in 2016.

The staff revealed the price of the screen protector (at $139, inclusive of a one-year warranty) only after pasting the screen protector on his phone.

"The consumer eventually paid $69 for the screen protector after forgoing the one-year warranty," Mr Loy said.

He added: "Case would like to advise consumers to always shop around and compare prices when shopping. They have the right to say 'no' if they do not wish to buy the item.

"Exerting pressure on a consumer to enter into a transaction is an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, and consumers can seek recourse under the Act."

For Ms Han, the refund finally brought closure to the case. She told The Sunday Times: "We are so grateful for all the advice and help received from netizens."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 25, 2018, with the headline 'Maid gets full refund for $145 screen protector'. Print Edition | Subscribe