Lim Shi Yue had dreamed of having her own nail salon for the longest time.
So, one can imagine how excited she was when she finally found a suitable unit at Far East Plaza.
Her dream, however, turned into a nightmare of sorts after this 29-year-old and her business partner said they lost over $20,000 in that venture.
Lim told AsiaOne that she and her partner Barry Tay, 32, had come across an advertisement for the shop unit on Carousell in December.
Excited about their find, they expressed their interest to the owner of that shop, a Thai woman residing here.
Apart from owning the nail salon, Lim said that this woman also owns several Thai food stalls in Singapore.
The business partners said they met this woman in December, paying her $18,000 in two separate transactions to take over the store unit — $13,000 and $5,000.
They added that they also paid $1,800 for the levy and room rental of two of this woman's employees from Thailand, who were supposed to work under Lim.
Additionally, Lim said she paid the woman $3,500 for to cover the unit's rental in January, agreeing that the change of tenancy will be done by the end of last month.
Workers not permitted to work at shop
However, two weeks later, when Lim had already begun operating the shop, the police and officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) paid the shop a visit, she said.
She said she then discovered that the two Thai staff hold migrant domestic worker passes and are not permitted to work at that salon.
"Upon finding out that she lied to me about the two Thai workers [being] legal workers, I told [the seller] that she is being dishonest and would like to have my takeover fees [refunded]," Lim told AsiaOne.
But the woman allegedly told Lim that "this is not her issue anymore" and that the two Thai workers she originally hired were "not her problem".
She even insisted Lim and her partner pay her another $7,000 for the shop's deposit to the mall owner, on top of other expenses.
Locked out of her own shop
Lim said she agreed to pay the $7,000 deposit but despite so, the salon seller did not transfer the shop tenancy to her and even told her that she found another willing buyer.
Later on, Lim also found out that the woman had engaged a property agent to list the unit on PropertyGuru and refused to refund Lim the $18,000.
And to Lim's horror, when she returned to the nail salon on Tuesday (Feb 7), she found out that the lock had already been changed and all her belongings were stuck inside the shop.
"We did not expect her to lock the shop without any notice nor consent," said Lim, adding that she feels shocked, angry and cheated by the woman.
"This is [me and Barry's] first venture together and first opening of [a] nail salon because I really love doing nails and beauty things. But we are very unlucky to [have] met this Thai owner," Lim told us sadly.
The partners said they have since made a police report.
AsiaOne has reached out to the salon seller for more details.
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