Beware extra credit-card charges for 'fees and taxes'

Beware extra credit-card charges for 'fees and taxes'

SINGAPORE - Unscrupulous retailers may have found a new way to fleece shoppers - by swiping their credit cards for larger amounts than what was agreed upon.

They then refuse to budge, and claim the extra amount is for transaction fees or taxes.

Such tactics are new, according to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), which put an alert out last month urging shoppers to double check the total amount they will be charged before handing their cards over to a retailer.

Last year, 78 consumers approached Case to assist them with such disputes involving electronic products and mobile phones, the first time the association received such complaints. Of these, 73 were tourists.

Mr Roseller Villagracia, 33, was one of the victims.

The Singapore resident agreed to pay $700 for an iPhone 4S at a shop in Lucky Plaza last November. His credit card was swiped and he was given the charge slip to sign.

To his horror, he had been charged $889. The extra amount, the shopkeeper told him, was for taxes.

His credit card, which had not been returned yet, was then swiped again, this time for $498 to unlock the phone.

"The shopkeeper didn't even tell me he was going to swipe my card again," said the Filipino. "I was so angry. I told him I didn't want the phone any more."

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