CASE to probe Sim Lim mobile shop after coin incident

CASE to probe Sim Lim mobile shop after coin incident
Miss Zhou said the staff threw the bag of coins on the floor and told her to count them on the floor.

SINGAPORE - The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) is investigating Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop Mobile Air for possible violations of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.

The shop has allegedly been involved in several cases of improper marketing practices recently, by forcing customers buying the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to fork out an additional sum for an insurance policy for the phone, reports Lianhe Zaobao.

Between July and September this year, CASE has received a total of 14 complaints against the shop.

CASE executive director Seah Seng Choon said that it was re-investigating all complains it has received against Mobile Air, and plans to invite the store to sign a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA).

According to Lianhe Zaobao, CASE can bring the business to court or obtain an injunction, should it engage in unfair trading practices after signing the agreement. If the shop refuses to sign the VCA, CASE will still be able to apply for an injunction to put a stop to the unfair trading practices.

Mr Seah explained that mobile phone shops can charge an additional fee if they provide additional warranty services, but must make it clear prior to customers' purchasing mobile phones.

"It is improper if the business did not inform the customer in advance, and then withhold the phone if the customer refuses to pay the warranty fee," he said.

The Mobile Air phone shop first came to attention on Tuesday, when the shop, which had been ordered to refund $1,010 to a woman, paid her back the amount in coins.

The New Paper reported that the woman, Ms Zhou, had alerted the police, claiming that shop assistants had thrown a bag of coins, weighing 18kg, onto the floor and forced her to count the coins there.

The woman had first bought an iPhone 6 Plus from the shop for $1,600, but after she signed the contract, the staff asked her to fork out an additional $2,400 "insurance fee".

She had haggled down the price to $3,000, but remained dissatisfied and filed a complaint with the Small Claims Tribunal, which ruled that the shop refund her $1,010.

According to The New Paper, the shop's owner, Mr Jover Chew, claimed that the Chinese national and her aunt were difficult customers.

He claimed that Ms Zhou's aunt, Ms Liu, had turned up at the shop three times to collect the money on her behalf, but the shop had refused to refund the money without Ms Zhou in person.

When he was asked why he had paid in coins, he evaded the question, and said that Ms Zhou and Ms Liu could have rejected the coins if they did not want them.

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