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More than S$4000 Raised to Buy iPhone 6 and Bak Kwa for Vietnam Tourist Conned at Sim Lim Square

More than S$2500 has been raised to buy a new iPhone 6 for a Vietnamese tourist who was scammed in Sim Lim Square recently.

Amounts ranging between US$1 and US$100 have been pledged by about 200 people for the Nov 5 online project on crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

All this, to buy him an iPhone 6, and even a goodie bag containing quintessential Singaporean products, like Bak Kwa, kaya jam, and chilli crab sauce mix.

Mr Pham Van Thoai, 28, had gone down to Sim Lim Square to buy his girlfriend an iPhone 6 on Monday but the event turned into a nasty standoff with the Vietnamese factory worker in tears.

Mr Pham had agreed to pay S$950 for an iPhone 6 at Mobile Air, an electronics shop that has been blacklisted by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) for its questionable sales tactics, when the sales person asked him for an additional S$1,500 for warranty expenses.

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The Story

Mr Pham is reportedly a factory worker with a monthly income of US$200 and took months to save up for the phone as his girlfriend’s birthday present.

He excitedly made payment in cash. Thinking is was safe to shop in Singapore, he did not scrutinize the documents closely.

In addition, he was not fluent in English. When he wanted to leave the shop with the phone, staff members from Mobile Air then asked if he wanted a warranty package of one or two years.

He decided to take the one-year package, thinking it was complimentary.

To his surprise, he was asked to fork out another S$1,500 for the one-year warranty package. He was told that he did not pay up, he could not leave with the phone.

Not knowing what to do, he knelt down and tearfully begged for a refund.

He said staff members at Mobile Air laughed at him and no passers-by were willing to help him.

Mobile Air subsequently agreed to refund him S$600, but his girlfriend refused to leave the shop S$350 poorer. Staff members at the shop also told her they will retract their offer of S$600 if she called the police.

However, his girlfriend decided to call the police.

When the police arrived, Mobile Air showed them the signed invoice and offered to refund the couple S$70.

CASE officers were called in subsequently and the couple got back a refund of S$400. The tourist said he accepted the refund because he had to return to Vietnam in two days and was not sure if CASE could help him get back his full refund back.

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