I was punched by customer: Salesman

A salesman at a mobile phone shop in Bukit Merah was allegedly assaulted by an angry customer on Saturday over a faulty Bluetooth device, Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

The customer had gone to the shop at Block 116 Bukit Merah View at about 3pm on Saturday with his wife to ask about a Bluetooth device they had bought from the store nine months ago.

The salesman, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chen, told Shin Min that the couple looked like they were in their 40s or 50s and visited the store thrice in one day to ask about the Bluetooth device.

The device had been selling for $70 but they had bought it for a discounted price of $48.

The 22-year-old salesman said that the couple were friendly at first, despite saying that the device was damaged and complaining that the warranty period was only three months.

"The third time they came to the shop, they turned aggressive. They said that other cellphone shops offered one-year warranties but our store gave only three months'," said Mr Chen, who started working at the shop just half a year ago.

"They said that even though I did not sell it to them, I still had to bear responsibility. The wife then hit the glass counter forcefully," he said.

The couple started to create a scene and the man challenged him to settle the dispute outside the store, said Mr Chen.

"I didn't want to go at first, and staff from nearby stores tried to stop me. When I went outside, I saw the woman picking up a plastic tray from the floor, which she then handed to her husband," the salesman said. "He started hitting me with the tray about 20 to 30 times."

Mr Chen used his left arm to shield himself from the blows and tried to grab hold of the man, but was instead punched twice in the face. The two men fought till they fell to the ground.

"I managed to hold him down but passers-by pulled me back and in the end, the couple managed to escape," he said.

He added that he had shouted for bystanders to call the police when he was tussling with the male customer, but the wife pointed fiercely at the bystanders and warned them against doing so.

Fortunately, the owner of a nearby store called the police and about eight policemen arrived on the scene a few minutes later, but the couple had since fled.

Mr Chen told Shin Min that he had bruises on his left arm, back and the back of his head. He added that his back still aches.

One of the lenses in the salesman's glasses had fallen out during the fight. He tried to chase the couple but did not cover more than 100m as he could not see clearly.

"I was beaten for no good reason and I feel so wronged. I hope that the couple will be found, with the help of the media," he said.

Mr Chen tried to retrieve footage from the closed-circuit television camera installed at the entrance of his store, but realised that it was damaged. The receipt from the couple's previous transaction also did not contain their names or contact details.

According to a report on citizen journalism website Stomp on Sunday, the assailant is about 45 to 50 years old, with a chest tattoo and short black and white hair.

A police spokesman confirmed with Stomp that the police received a call at 5.29pm on March 14 requesting for assistance.


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