Monday, 10 November 2014

Errant retailers' tactics in Sim Lim Square


Update 17 Nov 2015: 3 years' jail sought for Sim Lim cheat Jover Chew
INFAMY: Jover Chew shot to international notoriety after allegations of his shop fleecing

PROSECUTORS called for the boss of a now-defunct electronics firm to be given a three-year jail sentence yesterday after he admitted to conning his customers.

Jover Chew Chiew Loon, 33, the "brains and architect" behind Mobile Air, pleaded guilty to 12 of 28 charges against him - including abetment by conspiracy to cheat and criminal intimidation.

On one occasion, when ordered by a Small Claims Tribunal to reimburse a customer $1,010, he gave her a bag containing $547 of the sum in coins - then dropped them on the floor of his Sim Lim Square shop and filmed her aunt picking them up.

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Vietnamese tourist kowtows and begs for refund at Sim Lim Square shop
A Stomper sent in video footage showing the Vietnamese tourist kneeling down and begging for his refund at the Sim Lim Square shop making headlines recently, Mobile Air

The tourist, who earns $200 a month as a factory worker in Vietnam, was asked to pay an additional $1,500 for a warranty package on top of a payment of $950 which he had already made for an iPhone 6.


He had intended to purchase the mobile phone for his girlfriend as her birthday present.


In the video, a man, presumably the shopkeeper, is heard asking the tourist how he is "going to settle (his) money".


related: Vietnamese tourist kneels down tearfully begs for iPhone 6 refund at Sim Lim Sq


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Man weeps in plea for refund from Sim Lim Square shop

TEARS: After paying $950 for an iPhone 6 for his girlfriend, Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai was made to pay an additional $1,500 by Mobile Air for the phone's warranty. Staff members refused to refund him when he asked, even after he begged them in tears. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Less than a week after it refunded a customer $1,010 in coins, Mobile Air, a mobile phone shop at Sim Lim Square, is back in the spotlight.


This time, it was for charging $1,500 for the warranty for an iPhone 6 that it had sold to a Vietnamese tourist for $950. When Mr Pham Van Thoai, 30, was told about the $1,500, he dropped to his knees and pleaded tearfully for a refund, but to no avail.


He finally settled for a $400 refund after the Consumers Association of Singapore and the police intervened.


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Vietnamese tourist kneels down and tearfully begs for iPhone 6 refund at Sim Lim Square shop

A Vietnamese tourist was left in tears after a nightmarish ordeal when buying an iPhone 6 for his girlfriend at Mobile Air, a shop in Sim Lim Square

Mobile Air made headlines recently for refunding a woman $1,010 in coins, which included one-cents and five-cents. According to a report in Lianhe Zaobao, the Vietnamese tourist was on holiday with his girlfriend in Singapore and after some research, he found out there was ready stock for the phone in Sim Lim Square.


He is reportedly a factory worker with a monthly income of $200 and took months to save up for the phone as his girlfriend's birthday present.


The report states he was quoted $950 for the phone at Mobile Air and he excitedly made payment in cash. Thinking is was safe to shop in Singapore, he did not scrutinize the documents closely.


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Tourist kneels and begs tearfully for refund at Sim Lim Square shop


The girlfriend decided to call the police in the end.


When the police arrived, Mobile Air showed them the signed invoice and offered to refund the couple $70. Officers from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) were called in subsequently and the couple got back a refund of $400.


The tourist said he accepted the $400 refund because he had to return to Vietnam in two days and he was not sure if Case could help him get back a full refund.


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Vietnamese tourist in Sim Lim Square incident says he is not accepting any more help

While offers of help have been growing by the minute, Mr Pham Van Thoai was quoted in Lianhe Zaobao on Nov 6 saying that he has accepted $550 from a businessman, and bought a phone with it. He said he will not be accepting any more help. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

By 9am on Thursday, almost US$10,000 (S$12,938) has been raised for a Vietnamese tourist who came here on a holiday and left feeling cheated by a mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square.


A campaign was started on crowdfunding site Indiegogo on Nov 4 to raise funds for factory worker Pham Van Thoai, 28, who went to Mobile Air to buy an iPhone 6 for his girlfriend. The story of how he knelt, cried and begged staff for a refund went viral, prompting Singaporean Gabriel Kang to start the project. Mr Pham lost $550 to the shop, and left without a phone.


While offers of help have been growing by the minute, Mr Pham was quoted in Lianhe Zaobao on Nov 6 saying that he has accepted $550 from a businessman, and bought a phone with it. He said he will not be accepting any more help.


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Over $14,000 raised for Vietnamese tourist scammed in Sim Lim Square


A crowd-funding effort initiated by Singaporean Mr Gabriel Kang has raised over $14,000 as of noon on Thursday for Pham Van Thoai, the Vietnamese tourist who was scammed by electronics store Mobile Air in Sim Lim Square while purchasing an iPhone 6 on Nov 3.


With the raised funds, Mr Kang intends to purchase a 128GB iPhone 6, and put together a goodie bag which may include local delicacies bak kwa, kaya jam and spice packs, to send to the traumatised tourist as a gesture of goodwill. Mr Pham has since left Singapore.


On his crowd-funding page on Indiegogo, Mr Kang wrote: "We are not a nation of thieves and cheats." He also said: "I feel that Mr Pham was dealt a great injustice by the legal system and while we cannot undo those traumatic and humiliating scenes he has had to endure, we can try to make things right. Let's give the man an iPhone 6!"


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Singapore targets scam shops after humiliation of Vietnamese factory worker

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will investigate the retailers who have tarnished the city state's reputation as a shopping destination, an official told  news website Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon (Saigon Times) Wednesday.

Glenn Koh, STB's area director for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, made his comments after a Vietnamese tourist was allegedly cheated by a mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square, a large retail complex, during his holiday in Singapore.

Local media reported that Pham Van Thoai, a 28-year-old factory worker, went to Mobile Air shop to buy an iPhone 6 as a birthday gift for his girlfriend on Monday.

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Manpower minister Tan Chuan-Jin shocked by behaviour
CASE said 25 complaints had been lodged against Mobile Air from August to October. PHOTO: CHANNEL NEWSASIA

The Government should explore how to “strengthen or adjust” the laws to deal with cases where individuals face hurdles in seeking resolution, said Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin in a Facebook post today (Nov 6), as he shared that he was “shocked at the behaviour shown” in the Sim Lim case.

“Some are disputes that may fall short of violating any laws or regulations, but they clearly assault our sensibilities!” said Mr Tan.

Recently, a Vietnamese man was filmed begging for a refund for his mobile phone purchase at Sim Lim Square, but he only recovered S$400 of the S$950 he paid to the shop, Mobile Air. The retailer had also tried to pay another customer S$1,010 in coins after being ordered by the Small Claims Tribunal to make the refund. Other people have since reported being scammed at the mall.

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MPs call for stiffer laws to tackle errant retailers
Two Members of Parliament are pushing for stiffer regulation and stronger powers to deal with errant retailers who bully and cheat consumers

They are doing so after a series of reports of retailers at electronics mall Sim Lim Square using unsavoury sales tactics on customers.

Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa slammed the actions of the retailers, calling the situation unacceptable.

"I find the current situation unacceptable. I believe more can be done to improve the practices and ultimately the image and reputation of our retailers," said Mr Liang, who is also the chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry.

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iPhone 6 incident at Sim Lim Square goes viral in Vietnam, makes international headlines


The Straits Times found at least 10 Vietnamese news sites, including the websites of prominant newspapers like Thanh Nien News (above), and Tuoi Tre, reporting on the plight of Mr Pham Van Thoai. -- SCREENGRAB: THANHNIEN.COM.VN

The story of a Vietnamese tourist who was allegedly scammed in Singapore while buying an iPhone 6 has made international headlines and gone viral in Vietnam.

The Straits Times found at least 10 Vietnamese news sites, including the websites of prominant newspapers like Thanh Nien News, and Tuoi Tre, reporting on the plight of Mr Pham Van Thoai.

Mr Pham had gone to Mobile Air in Sim Lim Square to buy his girlfriend an iPhone 6 on Monday. After paying S$950 for the phone, he unknowingly signed an agreement to pay the shop an additional $1,500 for a one-year warranty for it. In a video, he was seen crying and begging on his knees for a full refund of the phone. He eventually got back $400, but was still short of $550 - more than two months' salary for the factory worker.

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Sim Lim Square's bad reputation goes beyond Singapore
The bad reputation of Sim Lim Square, which has been driven by the dubious sales tactics of some of its tenants, is apparently not confined to Singapore

The mall's bad name has gone international, with travel website TripAdvisor giving it bad reviews and a rating of two out of five stars.

The six-storey mall at Rochor Canal, which specialises in electronic gadgets, was recently in the news after a retailer tried to give a customer more than $1,000 in coins after it was ordered by the Small Claims Tribunal to give a refund. The retailer is now being investigated by the Consumers Association of Singapore.

Out of the 213 reviews on TripAdvisor, 112 rated it "terrible". At least 50 of the negative reviews were from Singaporeans warning tourists against going there.

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SHAME HSIEN LOONG! China warns citizens to beware of fraud when shopping for electronics in S'pore

Chinese tourists heading to Singapore have been warned to be careful when buying expensive electronic products such as mobile phones here.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs put up a notice from its Singapore embassy on its consular services website on Wednesday, urging tourists who plan to buy expensive electronic products to look out for warning notices in the mall about certain retailers, and to avoid the retailers that have received complaints.

The notice refered to "multiple cases of Chinese tourists defrauded last year", and advised Chinese citizens to be cautious of fraud. Electronics malls Sim Lim Square has been in the news recently after a mobile phone shop there tried to refund a Chinese customer $1,010 in coins

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Chinese and Vietnamese tourists warned to be careful when buying electronics in Singapore
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs put up a notice on their website on Wednesday saying that there had been many reports of incidents of fraud faced by tourists here who purchased mobile phones and other electronic products. -- PHOTO: CS.MFA.GOV.CN

Tourists from China have been warned to be cautious when purchasing electronics here.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs put up a notice on their website on Wednesday saying that there had been many reports of incidents of fraud faced by tourists here who purchased mobile phones and other electronic products. The notice reminded them to be careful of merchants which have had complaints made about them.

This follows media reports this week about errant retailers in Sim Lim Square and incidents such as a shopkeeper trying to give a China citizen a refund in more than $1,000 worth of coins.

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CASE: 25 complaints had been lodged against Mobile Air


The recent spate of bad press spotlighting allegedly unethical retailers at Sim Lim Square has spurred the mall’s management to take action

Channel NewsAsia understands that the management is planning to gather the mall’s landlords to vote on a rule, in which granting or renewing a tenancy lease will take into account the performance and reputation of a tenant.

This would be a fairly unusual course of action for a strata-titled mall like Sim Lim, where shop units are owned and rented out by individual owners.

"Because each of the units are owned by individual owners, there is lack of control and generally a lack of cohesiveness,” explained Ms Ong Choon Fah, Chief Operating Officer of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA). “So it is pretty much to each his own, and each individual landlord is basically quite at liberty as to who he wants to rent it to, what kind of rent, the tenant, and what kind of trade he wants it to be."

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Buyers should be savvy too, says Case
Shoppers should exercise their rights to prevent errant shopkeepers from bullying them into transactions, said the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case)

While the dishonest and aggressive sales tactics of some stores at electronics mall Sim Lim Square have been in the media spotlight and flamed online over the past week, consumers should take precautions to ensure they do not fall prey to them, Case said.

Said Seah Seng Choon, executive director of Case: "We hope that consumers will be able to stand firm and say 'no' to pressure sales tactics. Their money is in their wallet, and they can choose not to sign the sales agreement and pay the money."

Some incidents of overcharging occurred partly because shopkeepers concealed certain figures on receipts with their hands when showing it to customers, or added extra charges on invoices.

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Sim Lim case: Citizen action may be against the law

A tee-shirt with an expletive was found outside the premises of Mobile Air at Sim Lim Square on Nov 6. (Photo: TODAY/Don Wong)

As the netizen-led campaign against Sim Lim Square shop owner Jover Chew continues, lawyers warned that such tactics – in part driven by frustration over ineffectual action on unscrupulous retail practices – put perpetrators at risk of running afoul of the law.

There are provisions under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act which could apply in the case of Mr Chew, whose identity card number, address and mobile number have been dredged up and shared online by members of the public over the past few days.

Lawyers also pointed out that online anonymity could pose a challenge to police investigations.

related: 
Only 10 black sheep out of almost 500 retailers: Sim Lim Square management
Still keen on shopping at Sim Lim Square? One retailer offers consumers tips
STB reaches out to Vietnamese tourist who lost hundreds to Mobile Air


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Sim Lim iPhone scams: Let law take care of errant retailers, say experts
SHUTTERS DOWN: Mobile Air was closed when The New Paper visited Sim Lim Square yesterday. TNP PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Mr Jover Chew, who owns mobile phone shop Mobile Air at Sim Lim Square, has been in the spotlight after reports of foreign customers' bad experience surfaced in mainstream media.

Despite the bad publicity, he has showed no remorse, and continued the shop's daily operations. Infuriated netizens took things to the extreme - on Nov 4 , they started naming and shaming not just Mr Chew, but his wife as well.

It seems Mr Chew has succumbed to pressure from the bad press and angry online vigilantes. The store has gone quiet. When The New Paper went down on Nov 5, Mobile Air was closed.

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Only 10 black sheep out of 500 retailers: Sim Lim Square management
The mall’s management held a press conference today (Nov 7), after a week of bad press about the mall’s allegedly unethical retailers

There are over 500 retailers at Sim Lim Square, but just 10 black sheep among these, said Sim Lim Square’s management at a press conference today (Nov 7).

That means the errant retailers, some of whom have attracted a barrage of bad press over the past week, form less than 2 per cent of the total retailers, said the management.

The management added it had sought legal advice to see if they can sue these black sheep, but cannot proceed as the bye-laws do not give them the right to do so.

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Place warning signs in front of Sim Lim’s errant shops

Just as the police use crime alert signs at locations where crimes have occurred, the management of Sim Lim Square could place similar signs at the common area in front of blacklisted shops.

These could state: “Shopper alert. (Shop name, unit number) has had X number of complaints in (time frame). Be cautious when carrying out any business transactions with this shop.”

I believe this would legally be all right if they are placed at the common area and the facts are stated. The sign could be in black and white or in red.

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Sim Lim Square's complaints kiosk a hit

At Sim Lim Square's complaints kiosk, shoppers can talk to Case staff or log on to file a complaint to Case.
SIX months after Singapore's first complaints kiosk for shoppers at Sim Lim Square was launched, grievances against retailers at the popular electronics mall have spiked.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) told The Straits Times that it received 288 complaints about shops in the Rochor Road mall last year, up from 183 in 2011. It attributed the increase to the ground-floor kiosk for complaints, which was set up last July by Case and the management corporation of Sim Lim Square.

Aggrieved shoppers can speak to Case staff manning the counters or log on to computers there and make a complaint directly to the association, which can offer advice or step in to mediate.

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

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Why is Sim Lim shop still in business?

THE shop Mobile Air at Sim Lim Square has already been involved in a number of complaints lodged with the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).


And yet, the same shop made headlines once more for its appalling treatment of a Vietnamese tourist ("Black sheep and unwitting lambs"; Wednesday).


Earlier, staff at the shop also reportedly attempted to refund a customer a sum of more than $1,000 in coins ("Mall gets 2 to 3 complaints daily"; Wednesday).


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Sim Lim Square retailers speak up against bad reputation
Shop owners at Sim Lim Square said that sales have been affected after reports of retailers cheating and overcharging customers, but not all sellers are out to scam

Sim Lim Square is known as the go-to place in Singapore for electronic gadgets, but is also notorious for bad service and dubious sales tactics

The mall has been making headlines in recent weeks after reports of cheating and overcharging involving shops there.

The management committee at Sim Lim Square released a statement on Monday appealing for help in weeding out the errant retailers at its mall after many years of futile attempts, including seeking help from the police, the Consumers' Association of Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board.

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Sim Lim Square store's practices draw furious response from the public

Outraged by reports of unscrupulous business practices at Sim Lim Square, members of the public have taken matters into their own hands to dish out justice.


Personal data of Mr Jover Chew, the owner of Mobile Air – the Sim Lim Square retailer which, when ordered by the Small Claims Tribunal to refund a customer, tried to pay the customer S$1,010 in coins – were exposed via a campaign by satirical Facebook group SMRT Ltd (Feedback). Posts featuring addresses of his various businesses, photos of him posing shirtless, his IC number and mobile number, have received thousands of likes, with some calling for pranks to be played on him.


Another campaign was launched on Wednesday (Nov 5) to raise funds via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to buy an iPhone 6 for Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai, a Mobile Air customer who reportedly went down on his knees to beg for a refund for the S$950 phone but recovered only S$400.


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18 complaints against Sim Lim Square's Mobile Air this year: CASE

Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop Mobile Air was served with a letter by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) on Tuesday (Nov 4), which invited the store to sign a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA).


Mobile Air has been in the news for trying to force a Vietnamese tourist who bought an iPhone 6 to fork out an additional sum for a warranty package. The store had also been ordered by the Small Claims Tribunal to refund S$1,010 to a customer, which it then tried to do by giving her 18kg worth of coins.


CASE Executive Director Seah Seng Choon, told Channel NewsAsia about the latest action taken against the store during an interview on Singapore Tonight. He revealed that CASE had received 18 complaints about Mobile Air from Jan to Oct this year, although the store had attracted no complaints in 2012, and only two complaints last year. “If they sign the VCA, they have to stop the unfair practices,” said Mr Seah. “Otherwise we can proceed with an injunction.”


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Netizens expose personal data of Sim Lim Square mobile shop owner
CASE said 25 complaints had been lodged against Mobile Air from August to October. PHOTO: CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Outraged by reports of unscrupulous business practices at Sim Lim Square, members of the public have taken matters into their own hands to dish out justice, as they called for more action by the authorities.

Personal data of the owner of Mobile Air — the Sim Lim Square retailer which, when ordered by the Small Claims Tribunal to refund a customer, tried to pay the customer S$1,010 in coins — were exposed via a campaign by satirical Facebook group SMRT Ltd (Feedback) yesterday (Nov 4). These posts featuring addresses of his various businesses, photos of him posing shirtless, his mobile number, have received thousands of likes, with some calling for pranks to be played on him.

Another campaign was launched by Mr Gabriel Kang raised funds via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to buy an iPhone 6 for the Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai, a Mobile Air customer who reportedly went down on his knees to beg for a refund for the S$950 phone but recovered only S$400.

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Sim Lim scams: Student reduced to tears after being charged $1k for iPhone warranty
Just a day after it was revealed that a Sim Lim Square shop reduced a customer to tears over an overpriced phone, another customer has stepped forward to tell her own similar experience at the infamous

A 19-year-old undergraduate, who did not wished to be named, told The Straits Times that she burst into tears after she was told she had to pay $1,000 on top of the $999 she had paid for an iPhone 6.


She told The Straits Times in an email that she had gone to a shop located on the first floor of Sim Lim Square called Mobile 22 on Oct 9.


She agreed to pay $999 for the phone and $39.90 for the warranty. However, she was charged $1,000 on her debit card as the shop keeper neglected to tell her that the $39.90 warranty was only for one month.


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Mobile Air boss Jover Chew gets chewed online for bullying Vietnamese tourist
Jover Chew, owner of Mobile Air, a mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square which has been blacklisted by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) for its unfair practices. -- ST PHOTO: AARON ENG

Sim Lim Square retailer Mobile Air and its owner Jover Chew have achieved notoriety overnight for allegedly scamming their customers. The story of how Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai went on his knees to beg for his money back, and how the shop refunded a woman more than $1,000 in coins has set the Internet abuzz.


Most netizens decry Mr Chew's actions, but some netizens also questioned if the authorities could have done more to lick the issue of such scams. Many have also pointed out that the incident has tarnished Singapore's reputation as a shopping destination.


But not all the comments were negative. Some Vietnamese lauded Singaporeans for coming to the aid of tourist Pham Van Thoai.


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Wife of Sim Lim Square shop owner Jover Chew insists they run separate businesses

The wife of the man who allegedly overcharged a Vietnamese tourist at Sim Lim Square has been on the receiving end of prank calls and online harassment, and even had her personal details splashed on the Internet.

But despite the attacks, she does not blame her husband and continues to believe that he is a good man who mixed with the wrong company. Ms Winnie Koh, 31, who is married to Mr Jover Chew, 32, also runs a mobile phone business.

But she insists that her business, J2 Mobile, is separate from the one he runs at Sim Lim, though he was listed as J2's owner until 2012 when his name was removed and she assumed sole ownership of the company.

related:
Sim Lim Square saga: How mobile phone sellers scam customers
Exercise your rights against errant shops, shoppers told by Case
iPhone 6 incident @ Sim Lim Sq goes viral in Vietnam makes international headlines
Wife of Sim Lim Square shop owner Jover Chew insists they run separate businesses
Manpower Minister says laws may be reviewed to better protect consumers


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In Sim Lim Square phone shops, the sting's in the CONtract
EXPOSED: A screen grab of a video on The Real Singapore website which allegedly shows Mr Jover Chew (in black shirt, facing camera) and another shop assistant trying to scam a tourist in Mobile Air. The video was uploaded by a person who claimed to have worked at Mobile Air. PHOTO: INTERNET By: RONALD LOH

A former mobile phone shop owner in Sim Lim Square has revealed the secrets behind the unscrupulous sales tactics of some shops there.


"The Vietnamese man who cried after losing $550 to a shop - that's just one of the many people I've seen in tears as they are leaving Sim Lim Square," said the former owner who wanted to be known as Marcus. "The shop owners have no heart, no remorse. It's time that people's perception of that place changed."


Marcus said the sting is in the contract that customers are asked to sign after they have paid for the phone.


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Errant Sim Lim Square retailer hit with permanent injunction
The Cyber Maestro store at Sim Lim Square. The Singapore Tourism Board applied for a permanent injunction against the retailer after receiving several complaints about its trade practices (Photo: TripAdvisor / Marine-Negombo)

The High Court has issued a permanent injunction against errant electronics store Cyber Maestro, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in a statement on Monday 2 November.


"The injunction restrains Cyber Maestro and their employees and agents from engaging in several unfair practices within the meaning of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act," STB reported.


The board acted against the store after receiving several complaints about its trade practices, including over-charging, pressuring consumers and misleading them about the prices and availability of goods.


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High Court grants permanent injunction against electronics wholesaler Cyber Maestro in Sim Lim Square
The interior of popular computer mall, Sim Lim Square. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The company continued with these practices despite repeated warnings from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), and requests from STB.

"STB takes a serious view of errant retailers who besmirch the reputation of Singapore as a premier tourist destination," it said in a statement, adding that it encourages consumers to report unfair practices.

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Court order against Sim Lim shop
Singapore Tourism Board applied for injunction against Sim Lim shop Cyber Mastero, after complaints against its trade practices. Photo: SPH

The High Court of Singapore has granted a permanent injunction against an electronics wholesale company, Cyber Maestro Pte Ltd, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said yesterday.


The injunction restrains the company and its employees and agents from engaging in several unfair practices, under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act. STB had applied for the injunction in response to complaints against the company's trade practices.


The complaints against Cyber Maestro included overcharging, exerting undue pressure to enter into a transaction and misleading consumers about prices and availability of goods.


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5 recent infamous incidents at Sim Lim Square
A man standing at the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) complaints kiosk for shoppers at Sim Lim Square Information Counter Level 1

Malaysian diver blamed iPhone dispute for poor performance (Date reported: Oct 2014)
Mr Ooi Tze Liang, a 20-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medallist from Malaysia, was overcharged by more than $2,000 for two iPhone 6s at Sim Lim Square. His coaches had expected him to perform well at the Singapore Fina Diving Grand Prix 2014 finals last month, but he came in fifth in the men's 3m springboard. They said the iPhone dispute had led to his poor showing.

Shopping trip led to injury (Date reported: July 2014)
A customer claimed that a salesman had pushed him roughly after he had asked to exchange a product, resulting in a hand injury. The salesman denied this and said that the customer had lost his balance and fell.

Shop theft led to violent brawl (Date reported: June 2014)
A man turned violent when he was confronted by a store assistant for theft. He took off his T-shirt and attacked an onlooker before others joined into the fight. When the police arrived, they arrested the man for theft and three others for rioting.

Retailers swiped extra charges on credit cards (Date reported: May 2013)
Extra amounts were charged to customers' credit cards under the guise of transaction fees or taxes.

Shops tampered signboards & names to hide bad reputation (Date reported: April 2013)
Sim Lim Square's management had put up lists of recalcitrant shops in the mall to warn shoppers about them, but these stores either shrunk their names on their signboards or removed them completely. Other dubious tactics included changing their name, renovating the shopfront or moving away.

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Police conduct raid at Mobile Air in Sim Lim Square, documents seized
Plainclothes police investigators leaving Mobile Air at Sim Lim Square with boxes and equipment. -- PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Police raided the errant Sim Lim Square retailer, Mobile Air, on Sunday and seized documents and products from the shop.

According to Shin Min Daily News, eight plainclothes officers were at the shop for more than two hours. They left with four large boxes of documents and products. They also took with them three computer monitors, said the report.

The mobile phone shop has been under fire for the last few weeks over its unethical sales tactics. It re-opened for business on Friday, but apparently under a new owner.

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Govt looking into enhanced laws, stronger enforcement against errant retailers

The Government is looking into "enhancing our laws, strengthening the enforcement process and continuing with our engagement efforts" with regards to errant retail practices, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck on Monday (Nov 17), after meeting with Sim Lim Square's Management Council.

His meeting with 10 members of the Management Council came after they had sent a letter to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), requesting that authorities look into the problem of a handful of errant retailers at Sim Lim Square.

A press release from MTI said that during the meeting, the Management Council shared challenges they faced and reiterated their hopes that the laws could be strengthened to give such retailers harsher penalties.

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Only the signboard is different: Sim Lim Square spokesman

Mobile Air, the Sim Lim Square shop notorious for its unfair trade practices, is apparently no more.

In its place is a new mobile phone shop, which will be called HJ Mobile, said a man who identified himself as a partner in the new business.

When The New Paper visited the shop yesterday, Mobile Air's name had been removed from the space next to the shop's signboard where it used to be.

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Sim Lim Square shop pays $1,010 refund in coins
Miss Zhou said the staff threw the bag of coins on the floor and told her to count them on the floor

She went to the mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square to get a refund. After all, the Small Claims Tribunal had ruled in her favour. The shop gave her the money.

The only problem was that all $1,010 of it was in coins. The consumer, who wanted to be known only as Miss Zhou, said the shop's action angered and shocked her.

She also claimed that the shop employees verbally abused and taunted her after forcing her to count the money on the floor. Some even took pictures and videos of her with the coins. She said her ordeal on Tuesday afternoon lasted about three hours.

related:
Vietnamese tourist kneels down tearfully begs for iPhone 6 refund at Sim Lim Sq shop
Sim Lim Square shop owner can't explain why he paid in coins
Sim Lim scams: Student reduced to tears after being charged $1k for iPhone warranty
Sim Lim Square retailers speak up against bad reputation
Sim Lim shop in coin case faces probe

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Remembering Sim Lim Square 森林商业中心

From a wood business to an electronics hub
Sim Lim Square, now an electronics hub, first started as a timber business - ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Mr Soon Peng Yam in 1998. - ST FILE PHOTO
Sim Lim 50 years published by Sim Lim Investments Limited, The Straits Times

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Errant Retailers and Rogue Traders
The heat has been turned up on the Sim Lim Square shop formerly known as Mobile Air after the police raided it on Sunday

The shop and its owner, Mr Jover Chew, had become notorious for unfair trade practices, including coercing mobile phone customers to buy in-house warranties at inflated prices.

Mr Chew had apparently sold his business, which reopened last Friday supposedly under the name HJ Mobile, under new management.

But that did not stop police officers from spending several hours there going through documents before carting away four large boxes.

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related:
TODAY: Police raid former Mobile Air
AsiaOne: Police raid Sim Lim Square's Mobile Air
AsiaOne: Teo Ser Luck meets with SLS management council on errant retailers
TODAY: Teo Ser Luck, management council discuss errant retailers at SLS
CNA: Gov looking into enhanced laws,stronger enforcement against errant retailers
Straits Times: Police conduct raid at Mobile Air in SLS, documents seized
AsiaOne: Blacklisted phone shop in People's Park Complex to close
AsiaOne: Only the signboard is different: Sim Lim Square spokesman
AsiaOne: Blacklisted Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop reopens
AsiaOne: Memories of Sim Lim

tnp: Sim Lim Square shop refunds woman $1,010 in coins
mothership: Coin-giving Sim Lim shop has tourist begging on his knees
straitstimes.com: Case investigates Sim Lim mobile shop which paid in coins
yahoo: CASE investigates Sim Lim shop which refunded customer
stomp: Watch how Mobile Air shopkeepers in Sim Lim made
singaporeseen: Sim Lim Square mobile shop owner can't
asiaone; Tourist kneels and begs tearfully for refund at Sim Lim
Channel News Asia: Sim Lim Square store's practices draw furious response
AsiaOne: MPs call for stiffer laws to tackle errant retailers
TODAYonline: Are phone warranties that shops sell allowed, valid?
TODAYonline: Place warning signs in front of Sim Lim's errant shops
AsiaOne: Errant retailers' tactics equivalent to daylight robbery
Online Citizen: Sim Lim Management says less than 2% of shops are black sheeps
Straits Times: Sim Lim managers say current laws do not give enough control
CNA: Errant retailers' tactic: Pile on costs after payment made, says CASE
TODAYonline: Only 10 black sheep out of 500 retailers: Sim Lim management
CNA: Only 10 black sheep out of almost 500 retailers: Sim Lim management
CNA: Still keen on shopping at Sim Lim? 1 retailer offers consumers tips
inSing: Chinese embassy issues warning about Singapore to shoppers
Straits Times: Exercise your rights against errant shops, shoppers told by Case
AsiaOne: Sales assistants working for errant shops can earn '$10000 to $20000'
Channel News Asia: Sim Lim case: Citizen action may be against the law
Asia1: Buyers should be savvy too, says Case
Asia1: Sales assistants working for Sim Lim's errant shops can earn up to $20000
AsiaOne: Mall gets 2 to 3 complaints daily
Tech in Asia: Don't get scammed: best places to buy mobile, gadgets & computers
TODAYonline: Place large signs near lifts, escalators to warn consumers
TODAYonline: STB 'ready to help' Vietnam tourist
TODAYonline: Help other victims of Sim Lim Square cons
Straits Times: Mobile Air boss Jover Chew gets chewed online for bullying tourist
Straits Times: Too easy for errant retailers to do business
Straits Times: Why is Sim Lim shop still in business?
Straits Times: Get tough on rogue Sim Lim retailers
Straits Times: MOM Minister says laws may be reviewed to better protect consumers
Daily Mail: Singaporeans aid Vietnam tourist victim of phone scam
ChannelNewsAsia: Crowdfunding organiser wants to get in touch with Vietnam tourist
Straits Times: Indiegogo fundraiser wants to sponsor trip for Vietnam tourist bullied
TODAYonline: Sim Lim: Manpower minister Tan Chuan-Jin shocked by behaviour
ChannelNewsAsia: STB reach out to Vietnam tourist who lost hundreds to Mobile Air
AsiaOne: Vietnam tourist scammed in Sim Lim Sq may receive all-expenses paid
Straits Times: The Straits Times' News In A Minute: Nov 6, 2014
AsiaOne: Things to know about Singapore's Consumer Protection Act
Straits Times: Remembering Sim Lim Square
AsiaOne: China warns citizens beware fraud when shopping electronics in S'pore
AsiaOne: Ex-employee reveals dubious tactics used at Sim Lim Square shop
Straits Times: China & Vietnam tourists warned to be careful when buying electronics
TODAYonline: Chinese Foreign Ministry posts advisory on buying electronic in Spore
AsiaOne: Sim Lim Square shop owner's particulars used to order pizza in prank
The Online Citizen: Recalcitrant retailers – spotlight falls on CASE
ChannelNewsAsia: Chinese embassy urges caution when buying electronic in Spore
Straits Times: Netizens expose details of Sim Lim Sq mobile shop owner who bullied
Straits Times: Over $12000 raised for Vietnam tourist allegedly scammed in Sim Lim
Straits Times: Vietnam tourist in Sim Lim Sq incident says he's not accepting any more
AsiaOne: Sim Lim store owner laughs as tourist begs for iPhone refund
The Online Citizen: The economics behind Sim Lim scams
Tuoitrenews: Breaking news
AsiaOne: Thousands raised to aid tourist in iPhone scam
AsiaOne: More needed to police black sheep
AsiaOne: Over $12700 raised for Vietnamese tourist scammed in Sim Lim Square
ChannelNewsAsia: Sim Lim store's practices draw furious response from the public
Yahoo: Sim Lim Sq Scammed Vietnamese Tourist Says: “I Will Not Accept Anymore
Malaysia Chronicle: SHAME HSIEN LOONG! China warns citizens beware of fraud
Malaysia Chronicle: Ex-employee leaks video of staff SCAMMING another tourist
Malaysia Chronicle: Bully shop owner's DISGUSTING habits exposed to shame him
Yahoo: China warns tourists to be careful when buying electronics in Singapore
Malay Mail: Sporeans raise thousands to help Vietnam tourist victim of phone scam
Thanh Nien: Spore targets scam shops after humiliation of Vietnam factory worker
inSing: Online drive to buy iPhone for tourist in Sim Lim Square saga
TODAY: Netizens expose personal data of Sim Lim Square mobile shop owner
TODAY: Outraged Singaporeans rally against Sim Lim retailer Mobile Air
malaysiandigest: Well Done, Kind Souls Come Forward To Help Vietnamese
ChannelNewsAsia: Should reputation count in granting renewal of a lease? Sim Lim
malaysiandigest: Vietnam Tourist Tearfully Begs For iPhone Refund @ Mobile Shop
Malaysia Chronicle: Student weeps after being charged $ 1K for iPhone warranty
Channel News Asia: Mobile Air attracts more complaints, sparks online campaigns
Straits Times: Donation drive raises >$3000 for Vietnam tourist who kneels & begs
AsiaOne: Video shows Vietnamese man kneeling and begging in Sim Lim shop
Straits Times: Man who took part in fight at Sim Lim Square fined $5000
Straits Times: Another incident: Student reduced to tears being charged $1000
GlobalPost: Netizens donate funds to help scammed Vietnamese tourist in Spore
Financialbuzz: Sim Lim Square Scams and Social Media Vengeance
AsiaOne: Sim Lim Square retailers speak up against bad reputation
Straits Times: Vietnam tourist kneels and begs for refund of iPhone 6 at Sim Lim
Straits Times: Sim Lim Square gets 2 to 3 complaints daily: Management
Tuoitrenews: Sporean raises fund to support Vietnam victim cheated by local store
New Paper: Sporean raises >$7500 through crowdfunding to help Vietnam tourist
Yahoo: Sporeans Show They Give A Damn About Unjust Sim Lim Square Scam
inSing: Sim Lim Square's Mobile Air slapped with warning
Techgoondu: Commentary: black sheep give Sim Lim Square a bad name
New Paper: Man fined $5000 after he & 4 others hurt alleged shoplifter at Sim Lim
Yahoo: Vietnamese tourist left in tears after begging for refund at Sim Lim shop


related:
Remembering Sim Lim Square 森林商业中心
Errant Retailers and Rogue Traders
Paying & Being Paid in Coins