In the spotlight: Other malls with rogue retailers

In the spotlight: Other malls with rogue retailers
Tele Infinity is among the People’s Park Complex retailers blacklisted by Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).

The recent antics of rogue retailers in Sim Lim Square have cast the spotlight on other malls such as People's Park Complex in Chinatown and Lucky Plaza in Orchard Road, which are also no strangers to complaints.

People's Park Complex may not have racked up as many reports of rip-offs as Sim Lim, but it has more than its fair share of cases involving mobile phone shops preying on customers.

A sales executive at a tourism agency there said he sees disputes between phone retailers and upset customers almost weekly, sometimes every two or three days.

 "Affected customers are mostly tourists and migrant workers from China," said the 30-year- old, who declined to be named as he feared repercussions from the retailers in question.

"Human traffic has dropped quite a lot since these shops started operating around 2011."

Mr Gunasekaran, 54, a senior security officer at People's Park who goes by one name, said of the disputes: "Some customers cry, some quarrel, some get violent.

"We help them call the police, but there is nothing much the management can do as these are all private shops."

A 25-year-old shop assistant at Mobile Alliance in People's Park Complex, who declined to be named, estimated business has fallen by 70 per cent following reports of Sim Lim's errant dealers.

Mobile Alliance has had five complaints in the past three months, according to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case). Two others, Tele Infinity and S Team Mobile, have had seven and four complaints, respectively.

Asked about Mobile Alliance's blacklisting by Case, the assistant said: "Sometimes there is miscommunication between cultures when we deal with foreign customers."

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon thinks malls can do more to warn customers about unfair practices. At People's Park, notices of shops blacklisted by Case are put up at entrances.

He cited Lucky Plaza, which was "problematic" 11/2 years ago, as a mall which cleaned up its act. "So far, we have not had complaints for them this year," he said. Shop owners at Lucky Plaza's basement, where most of the unsavoury tenants used to operate, say it is quieter now that these shops have closed down.

A 52-year-old shop owner who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said the rogue shops closed as they could not do business. "I think their Visa machines got confiscated because they had too many complaints - they tried to borrow ours,"he said.

This article was first published on Nov 8, 2014.
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