During a recent one day stopover in Singapore, my wife and I visited Sim Lim Square, looking to buy a tablet. After walking around a bewildering number of stores we finally came across a Galaxy tablet at what appeared to be a reasonable price in a store on the ground floor. While negotiating the price, the salesman (I'll call him Fred) also included a keyboard, protective cover and power adapter for different countries. Seemed like a great deal.
The price quoted was just under 800.00SGD, about 600.00AUD. We paid by credit card, but when the receipt came back it was for 990.00SDG, 200.00 more than quoted. This receipt was hand written, with the credit card receipt folded inside out and stapled to the hand written one.
"Fred" said the extra amount was for tax and we could claim this back at the airport. We had limited time as we had to get back to the airport for our flight, and we were very naive and trusting so we took him at his word. However, at the airport we discovered that the tax refund was only $55.00. On closer inspection of the credit card receipt it showed the GST refund was in fact 55.00
We had been scammed by at least $150.00
We had time to contact "Fred" before our flight and after some arguing, he agreed he had made a mistake - " the machine was wrong" - and that he would refund the money by cheque to our home address.
We were very dissatisified with this, but didn't have time to pursue it because our flight was about to leave,
Luckily on our way home from Vietnam we again transited through Singapore, and we had about a 6 hour layover before our flight back home. We jumped into a taxi and went back to Sim Lim. "Fred" was very surprised to see us back and at first said that he had sent a cheque to our home address. We both said he was lying and he didn't deny this. Long story short, after more arguing and some heated discussion, he refunded us a further 140.00SGD, bringing the total price back down to about 800.00, with the tax refund already received. He also told us at this time - not at the time of the original sale - that there was a 4% surcharge for using a credit card.
All in all a very unpleasant experience especially as the price of the tablet at home was not much more than what we paid in Singapore. However, by including the bluetooth keyboard, the comparison price became more reasonable.
1. Avoid Sim Lim Square.
2. If you do decide to shop there, know exactly what you want and how much it will cost in your home country. Are you really going to save money?
3. Carefully check all receipts, especially the machine printed one for credit card payment. This will show exactly how much tax you have paid. Remember though, you will not get this full amount refunded at the tax refund at the airport.
4. Don't necessarily believe what you are being told by the "Freds" (or "Fredas"). They are trying to make a sale and may not be entirely truthful.
5. Make sure they tell you of any credit card "surcharge" before presenting your card.
6. Avoid Sim Lim Square
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