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“Scammed in Sim Lim Square”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Sim Lim Square

Sim Lim Square
Ranked #98 of 507 Shopping in Singapore
Attraction details
adelaide
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Scammed in Sim Lim Square”
Reviewed February 19, 2013

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.
Why?
"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.
Lessons learnt?
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

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
19 Thank imitch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
107 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Plenty of conmen but research extensively beforehand for good deals!”
Reviewed February 5, 2013

To keep this review concise I'm just going to give my experience as a British tourist to Sim Lim Square. Overall, Sim Lim is full of conmen and dishonest people, which, as the years have gone on have definitely increased in number over the last 15 years. Gone are the shops in the past that used to sell individual components for soldering and small computer parts; instead most of the shops sell complete computers, phones or cameras. I've bought cameras and accessories from Sim Lim twice in the last few years with no future problems. Naturally, accessories such as camera bags are far safer as they can't stop working :)

The recommendations are as follows: 1) always know the exact price of the product you are buying at other reputable stalls in Singapore e.g. Funan first and whether this is inclusive or exclusive of tax (GST), 2) start with 20 - 30% below this price and try and bargain, remembering the cost of tax and normally a 2% credit card charge if you use a card (cash has no extra charge) that they might 'forget' to mention, 3) several sellers will give you ridiculously low rates that they can't actually meet - they instead just try to keep you in the shop to sell you something else, 4) always know the exact contents of a box (from the manufacturers website) if you are buying a camera, so they don't replace the items with fake items or remove items, 5) don't bother to buy memory cards or batteries unless you know what they look like from the manufacturer, likely they're fake, 6) if you live abroad and are claiming back tax at the airport note that Singapore has a service charge for claiming back so of the 7% GST, you normally get about 5.5% back, 7) you don't take out the money before you have inspected all the goods in front of you and are convinced they're genuine, original manufacturers parts, in the original box with the correct warranty.

Overall, this seems like a lot of effort to go through. It certainly is and you have to be well prepared, but often I've been able to save 20 to 30% from the price at your average electronics store in Singapore. There is also a significant number of traders in this building, far more than at Funan where the selection of products is very limited. If you are from the West get used to bargaining and taking care from being ripped-off - Asia is full of conmen everywhere so there is no escaping them overall.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Jason F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Most unethical sales people I've ever met”
Reviewed January 28, 2013

I asked the salesman directly about the recommended retail price (RRP) of a product. He quoted me 4x the actual RRP!!! Completely unethical, stay away (focuspoint, first floor).

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank qInSing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
165 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“No bargains there”
Reviewed January 25, 2013

Do not waste your time going to Sim Lin Square if you are looking to purchase a laptop or tablet. There are no bargains to be found. Might be worth going to if you need a spare part for, or a repair made to, a laptop. Phone accessories and cameras seem to be the big selling items there.

By the way, it is a very clean complex with good toilet facilities. Just a short walk from Little India MRT or Burgis MRT

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank alkonost45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
111 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Stay away if you don't know much about the product...”
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Have been to Sim Lim Sq many times over the years and sometimes yes it can provide a relatively good purchase vs elsewhere, but it seems to get worse and worse each time i visit - i think in part due to the opening of other electronic outlets/malls in the city, and the ability to buy online. You need to know exactly what you want, and exactly how much you can get it for elsewhere if you are going here to buy something. Some of it will be the real deal and some of it will be grey products. If you can spot the difference then fine, but clearly if someone is offering something 50% cheaper than from a Harvey Norman (or the like) in singapore, then warning bells should start ringing (who you think has greater buying power? Harvey Norman or Mr Lee's 5th floor outlet?).
Also, when negotiating prices there (and elsewhere in sing (lucky plaza etc)), make sure from the outset that he is quoting you tax inclusive price. Its a dirty tactic the sly ones try on, to add it on after you agree the final price, and they cry about how that money doesnt go to them. Irrelevant, you are negotiating the price you want to pay all in. Often they then behave like a kid who didnt get what he wanted for Christmas. So be warned.
If you want to go visit Sim Lim Sq though, go for it - even just for a browse, but i would FIRST go to Funan Plaza in central city and find the product there (at a store like Challenger) so you know what the typical price for it should be. But i think you will find yourself coming back to buy it at Funan - it also gives you some comfort to know that you are buying a genuine item from Funan too, and if something goes wrong you are unlikely to have problems getting it remedied.
I certainly wouldn't though recommend to my parents to go to Sim Lim square. The high pressure sales tactics and either over priced or counterfeit/refurbished product lines are something i don't want them to get caught up in and tricked by.

An example; I needed a particular computer cable. Its uniqueness means that its about $69 SGD in most places around the world (its an Apple product). Sim Lim square vendors offered me it for prices between $29 and $100 SGD. The $29 one came in a package that had a completely different label/description on it "its the same thing, same thing..trust me..." was the sales pitch. Err, right..ok...maybe.. The $100 vendor, when i baulked at his price, said "ok, ok! how much you want to pay, what price works for you...?!!!" - it wasn't even worth a reply. He tried it on by saying a ridic price to start and so not worth my energy to engage further. Ended up getting it from an Apple Premium Reseller for $65.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank xmyass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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