Sim Lim shop owner can’t explain why he paid customer’s $1,010 refund in coins

The owner of a Sim Lim Square shop who refunded a customer $1,010 in coins, gave his side of the story yesterday.

The New Paper reported yesterday that a student, who wished to be known only as Ms Zhou, was refunded $1,010 in coins and that shop staff members taunted her and her aunt, Ms Liu, as they counted the money.

Mr Jover Chew, owner of Mobile Air, however, claimed that the Chinese national and her aunt were difficult customers, and that he and his workers had tried to handle the situation as best they could.

On Sept 24, the women visited the shop to buy an iPhone 6 Plus but after signing a “contract”, they were shocked to find out they had to pay another $2,400 for 2 years of insurance, bringing the price of the phone to $4,000.

This “insurance” meant that if the phone was damaged, the customer could exchange it for a new one.

There were also freebies such as phone accessories and a 24-inch flat screen TV included in the “bundle”, Mr Chew claimed

Asked if he had told this to Ms Zhou,he said he did not have a chance to do so.

Despite the price being lowered to $3,000 after haggling, Mr Chew claimed the women still called the police.

“One woman (Ms Liu) wanted to take a chair and smash my counter in front of the police,” he claimed.

After Ms Zhou lodge a complaint with the Small Claims Tribunal the next day, the shop was ordered to refund Ms Zhou $1,000. An additional $10 was for administrative fee.

Mobile Air was ordered to pay up by Oct 17.

Mr Chew claimed that Ms Liu turned up at the shop “twice before Oct 17”, but without Ms Zhou.

“How can we just give her the money like that? Then, on Oct 17, she came with an ‘authorisation letter’ in Chinese. This is Singapore, you know. All our official documentations are in English,” he added.

On Oct 28, Ms Liu returned with Ms Zhou, but Mr Chew said the notes had been changed to coins by then.

When pressed thrice on why he had paid in coins, Mr Chew evaded the question and said Ms Zhou and Ms Liu could have rejected the coins if they did not want them.

“There was no need to be rude and use vulgarities,” he said.

He showed TNP a six-second video on his mobile phone where Ms Liu could been seen tussling with a shop staff member over the bag of coins, her voice raised.

In two other videos of similar length, Ms Liu could be heard arguing with the shop staff member in Mandarin. In one, she is seen leaving the shop with the bag of coins before tossing it on the floor outside the shop.

“When we do business, we need to make a profit, of course. If you don’t want people to earn your money, then don’t buy.” Mr Chew said.

He added that customers were free to walk out and make complaints at any time. The shop eventually gave Ms Zhou about $550 in coins and the remaining amount in notes.

When asked to verify Mr Chew’s version of events, Ms Liu admitted to tossing the bag of coins on the floor.

“But I wouldn’t have dont it if the shop hadn’t done it first,” she said.

Ms Zhoul had earlier told TNP that the staff member had thrown the bag of coins on the floor in the shop and asked her to count them there.

Ms Liu said: “I wanted to claim the money because I live here and I know my rights. Look athow they treat me when they are in the wrong.”

She revealed that she had changed the $550 in coins at a bank yesterday.

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