Sim Lim Square management seeks help in cracking down on errant retailers

SINGAPORE - The management committee of Sim Lim Square has appealed for help in tackling the issue of errant retailers at the mall.

The plea comes a week after a shop in Sim Lim Square, Mobile Air, was reported to have tried to refund a customer $1,010 in coins.

The customer eventually went home with about $550 in coins after the shop owner agreed to pay the rest of the amount in notes when reporters showed up, The New Paper said.

Mobile Air is being investigated by the Consumer Association of Singapore (Case) for possible violations of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, according to a Lianhe Zaobao report last Friday.

The management of Sim Lim Square said in a statement on Monday that it has "always been greatly concerned over the problem caused by a few recalcitrant errant retailers", acknowledging that instances of unethical business practices, such as cheating, over-charging and taunting customers, are almost a daily sight.

It added that, over the years, it has put in its utmost efforts to try to curb such practices and to reverse the negative impact of bad publicity on the businesses of honest retailers.

The management said: "In this regard, we have also sought assistance from the police, Case and Singapore Tourism Board. With the help of Case, we have generated, displayed and distributed numerous posters and flyers which clearly set out the business names and unit numbers of the known errant retailers.

"We have also created a STARetailer initiative, whereby retailers who give honest and satisfactory services would be identified by a STARetailer sticker on the floor at the shop-front and a poster displayed in the shop."

Currently, there are about 300 STARetailers at Sim Lim Square, the management noted.

Despite these efforts, and although law enforcement officers can be sighted in Sim Lim Square almost every day, the errant retailers are "completely undeterred".

The management said: "The authorities appear to lack 'teeth' to take them to task. Frequently, it would be the retailer who calls the police and accuses the aggrieved customer of causing a scene at the shop."

Pledging to cooperate, the management urged the authorities to look into this issue seriously and urgently, and to take a tough stand against the errant retailers.