Slight change at People's Park Complex

Shops at People's Park Complex have been attracting a reputation for ripping off customers.

After the problem was highlighted six months ago, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) tried to tackle it by posting a note at the entrance of the Chinatown mall listing stalls suspected of operating scams.

These include asking a customer to sign a sales invoice, then asking them to fork out more for warranties once they have handed over their money.

If they want a refund, they are then told they will not get the full amount unless a warranty is taken out.

Last October, there were 17 complaints about errant retailers, and the list appeared to have been working when the number fell to just eight last December.

But last month, the figure trebled to 24 - though Case executive director Seah Seng Choon put this down to a seasonal rise in the number of shoppers. "We believe the situation has improved slightly," he said. "More consumers are now aware of the retailers they should look out for. Consumers can refer to the list and exercise due care before entering into a transaction."

There were 57 complaints about electronic products last year, up from 41 in 2012 and just 11 in 2006.

Customers told The Straits Times that Case's list has raised awareness. "I'm more careful when I shop here," said chemist and mall regular Lawrence Teo, 43. "I don't buy the products so readily. I will just ask about the price."

Construction worker Gu Jianhe, 50, who was cheated of more than $700 when he bought a mobile phone at the mall last year, said: "If the list was up then I wouldn't have been cheated."

Other retailers, however, feel more needs to be done to tackle the root of the problem.

An electronics shop owner, who declined to be named, said merely naming the shops does not do this. "The shops are still here after all," said the 45-year-old.

"They can't be taken to task unless the customer decides to take further action, but most don't because it's too troublesome."

Mr Seah said Case will "come down strongly" on recalcitrant retailers and is in talks with the relevant authorities to improve the situation at the mall.

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