SINGAPORE - Shopping for iPhones, a businessman from Bangladesh walked into a Lucky Plaza shop, where he was told that two iPhone 5s would cost $2,550.
Mr Shaikh Bashir Ahmed Mamun paid and signed a receipt.
But the 55-year-old was soon told by the salesmen of eOne Mobile Plus that he had to hand over another $7,553 before he could have the phones.
They showed him the signed receipt. To his horror, he found he had agreed to pay $10,103 for the 32GB phones and warranty packages.
After four hours of arguing, he paid another $1,730. In all, he said, he paid $4,280 for the two phones.
The same phones, at $1,088 each, would have cost him $2,176 at the Singapore online Apple store.
Mr Mamun's encounter earlier this month adds to an uptrend in complaints against errant mobile phone retailers that consumer watchdog Case, or the Consumers Association of Singapore, has received this year.
In the first half of this year, 498 complaints were made by both tourists and residents.
Projected for the year, the figure looks set to exceed last year's 799 complaints to Case.
The numbers had been falling yearly since 2008 and had hit a low of 678 in 2010.
Complaints include overcharging and being charged for items not mentioned upfront. In some instances, old mobile phones were sold as new.
This month alone, Case received two complaints against eOne.
Websites like TripAdvisor also carry posts from travellers warning others against shopping at eOne.
In fact, the two malls that attracted the highest number of complaints of all types from shoppers are Lucky Plaza and Sim Lim Square.
Lucky Plaza got 52 complaints in the first 10 months of this year, up from 40 in the same period last year.
At Sim Lim Square, the corresponding figures are 82 and 73.
Case executive director Seah Seng Choon said more than half of the complaints against the two malls are about errant mobile phone retailers.
Mr Mamun, who was in Singapore on a four-day business trip, admitted he should have been more careful.
"It was such small writing. I couldn't even read it with my spectacles, and I was in a rush. That was my mistake," he said, of the receipt that he signed.