Category: Current Affairs
Published on Friday, 14 November 2014 00:00
Sim Lim Square is back in the news of late after a spate of cheatings came to public attention. We thought it would be handy to talk about what you as a consumer can do to avoid being taken advantaged of by unscrupulous merchants at Singapore's most infamous mall.
1. Do your research: Do your home work before heading out to get the electronic gadget you're eyeing. The online forums are a fount of information about which retailers at Sim Lim Square are reliable and you might sometimes find price lists for you to compare prices between stores. But don't just solely rely on online price lists because most of these lists tend to be outdated. Make sure you walk around the mall and hit up a few different stores to get up to date prices on the item you want.
2. Look for the list of black listed shops: The management of Sim Lim Square have started posting regularly update lists of blacklisted shops at various locations in the mall. The very first thing you should do when you arrive at the mall is to seek out these notices and make a note of the names and locations of the shops named on that list and avoid them like the plague. Tourists end up being on the short end of the stick of these notices because they are written in English and not everyone who comes to shop at Sim Lim Square is fluent in the language.
3. Never go shopping at Sim Lim alone: Safety in numbers. Bring a friend or two so they can act as your wingmen and witnesses if anything goes wrong when you shop at Sim Lim. They can also act as cameramen and video the scene if things turn ugly.
4. If the deal offered to you sounds too good to be true, it probably is: Don't get too excited if you think that you found an awesome deal on the item you're looking for. Most of the errant shops at Sim Lim favour the bait and switch technique in finding pigeons to fleece. Be vigilant. Always ask what's the catch. If the store assistants start to get defensive or evasive and tries to prevent you from reading the product's packaging or relevant documents, walk away. If they try to get abusive and stop you from leaving the store call the police. That is borderline criminal intimidation and it is illegal for them to try to detain you at the store if you have not done anything wrong. Make sure you use your phone to video the proceedings if this happens.
5. Never sign anything that you haven't carefully read: This is how the errant shops at Sim Lim hook unwary consumers. They hand you warranties or receipts for you to sign hoping that you wouldn't bother to read the hidden clauses or charges within the documents. You should insist that the store gives you the time you need to read whatever they are asking you to sign. Any honest store will be ok with you taking your time to read what you are about to sign. If the shop assistant tries to pressure you into quickly signing the agreement to close the deal, refuse to do so and walk away. As long as you did not sign their "contract" you aren't liable for any scam they try to pull on you. This is why the police and CASE are unable to intercede in most of the cases involving Sim Lim Square scams because people tend to just blindly sign whatever is put in front of them.
6. If you can help it, just don't shop at Sim Lim Square: People get ripped off because they go to Sim Lim Square thinking that they can save money by going there to get a good deal. There are many outlets selling electronics in Singapore so you really do have choice on where you go to buy your gear from. Sometimes it is better to pay another store a little more for piece of mind instead of having to put up with any potential grief you would have to go through after being cheated.