In a nutshell…please do not go to Sim Lim. I almost got cheated out of $515 today. I cried, called the police, and argued for 3 hours and by 9pm received full refund. Do not go to iGadget on 1st floor. Tomorrow I am going to the subordinate court to sue the iGadget staff who threw a calculator at my ankle.
You would not believe what happened to me. Some days in Singapore feel like emotional torture to me. I just cannot believe what people would do for money.
I’ve had so much emotional stress today that I’ll just keep this short:
1. I went to Sim Lim Square to inquire about unlocking my phone. I told the staff at iGadget that I upgraded my phone so that’s why my sim card bought by my dad wouldn’t work. I asked them if they had an upgraded micro sim for unlocking my iPhone.
2. The two salesmen at iGadget, Edward Lim and Eddy Wong, said yes. Unlock sim is $80 and they would give it to me for $60. I agreed.
3. I asked around other shops while they were unlocking. Other shops were asking for $50-80 as well. So I thought it was the market price.
4. After they unlocked it, I asked if it had been jailbroken. The white T-shirt guy named Eddy Wong said that you can’t jailbreak with a sim card (well Youtube said you can?). Eddy said that jailbreak is trickier because it’s a US phone. I just wanted to get it over with it and said okay, how much is jailbreak. Eddy answered, “$60.” I asked, “How about $100 for unlock and jailbreak. He bit his lips, slanted his head, and agreed. Whoa wasn’t I good at bargaining?
5. Hours later, I came back. Eddy and Edward said my iPhone had been unlocked and jailbroken successfully. According to them, the two Gevey sim cards my dad sent me had been spoiled, and therefore they replaced it with another one. I nodded. They asked me if I wanted to pay by card or cash. I handed them my Mastercard.
6. Minutes later, they swiped the card and told me to sign the receipt. I signed my name on the receipt, then IMMEDIATELY crossed out my signature when I saw the staggering number: $515.
I thought it was a typo. I was like, WHAT? $515? It was supposed to be $100!
The Ed brothers (Eddy and Edward) smiled maliciously and explained to me, “$100 was only software. Your original turbo sim was spoiled. So we had to replace it. So that was another $!#$#. Then the other thing would cost another [email protected]#$#. So everything would be $515.”
I felt as if I had been struck by lightening.
I tried to reason at first; then I realized reasoning would not work with this kinda scum. I grew so emotional and intense that I started yelling, cursing, and shouting about how I JUST GOT CHEATED!! that the entire floor of Sim Lim Square could hear me. Everyone started gathering around the store to see what was going on. I knew I was making a whole scene, but I didn’t care. I pleaded: SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE (I didn’t even have a phone then)! Finally the security guard called the police and told me to wait.
As I was yelling, the white t-shirt scum Eddy threw a calculator at my ankle and it smashed against my ankle. The bruises left me slightly crippled afterwards.
Bruise on my ankle
iGadget staff’s chef-d’oeuvre, thanks to his special instrument. From there our nerdy calculator became a martyr : (
Scrambling to the information counter, I dialed OCBC credit card hotline right away and reported that someone just stole my credit card and swiped off $515! Yet I was told that I could only cancel the transaction once it’d be processed, which would mean 7 days of waiting. Then I would have to show them the police report with the stated value of the transaction.
The police – one senior sergeant accompanied by a 20-year-old serving National Service – arrived finally. The two scums started firing their sophistry and rendering the whole thing like some sorta misunderstanding between us. They kept focusing on the software updates and the material they used. I said, “The price is not the issue here. I was MISINFORMED of the price. NO ONE TOLD ME it’d be $515. It was agreed upon that it’d add up to $100.”
The scums said they could give me a discount and make it $395. I got all explosive again and said, “I am NOT paying a single PENNY more than $100!”
In the end, the shop owner came and said they would only charge $100, but….I could not keep the Micro Sim. What did that mean? Without the Sim I could not unlock my phone! It was as if I were giving out free money to thieves. Lo and behold, my iPhone remains an iTouch.
The police pulled me aside and reasoned that the shop owner is taking a step back, and I should take a step back, too. He agreed that $515 seemed like a lot for that little sim card. “The shop owner, however, is not going to let you take it unless you pay that amount.”
“Can you please talk to him again?” I implored.
A veteran in sophistry, the iGadget shop owner, whose name I don’t recall, explained, “Yeah the thing your dad bought doesn’t work because it’s cheap. A lot of things in China are cheap and they don’t work. Ours cost more money but they work.”
I refuted him, “I bet your sim is *also* made in China. ALL iPhone are made in China.” It was certainly not my first time hearing salesmen in Singapore raise the perceived value or quality of the products they’re offering by disclaiming the origin of their manufacturer – China.
Cornered to a cul-de-sac by the iGadget men, I had no choice but to compromise. Meanwhile, I told each of them that my dad’s lawyer from the US would pursue the matter. I made sure to get their name card.
I also demanded, “You have to apologize too.” Agitated at my “unreasonable” request, the shop owner declared, “I already apologized and I will educate my staff. But you can’t go overboard!”
Overboard? I did not even deserve a decent apology for their deceiving and cheating foreign customers? It wouldn’t be sincere coming out of their mouth, but I still wanted to hear it.
I shot a look at Eddy and Edward and said, “*THEY* have not apologized to me.” At last, the two scums groaned “Sorry” in a whiny, ultra-impatient tone. A sign of progress in humanity?
After they refunded me $515 and made another transaction of $100, the shop owner left and let the rest settle the matter.
Surprisingly, my credit card was declined. I guess it was because of the phone call I made to OCBC credit card hotline earlier on for reporting illegitimate use of my credit card.
iGadget staff asked me if I had cash. I said no. Indeed, I had NETS but I didn’t want to use it to avoid instant debit of my account balance – that’s a handy tip that all consumers should keep in mind. Remember, as the paying party, we are vulnerable.
It was imperative for me to call the OCBC bank again to activate it. In absence of a phone that worked, I borrowed theirs and the call wouldn’t go through.
Edward finally yielded and said, “Just leave. I’ll pay for you. Give me back my name card too.” Great that was unexpected. I gave him back his name card. Nevertheless, I will never forget their faces and their full names: Edward Lim and Eddy Wong from iGadget on first floor in Sim Lim Square. This is a warning: do NOT go to them. Do NOT go to Sim Lim for any sort of service if you can avoid it. Consumer protection law is nonexistent over there, which means traps and tragedies run rampant.
Anyhow, I suppose Edward either 1) discovered his conscience at last minute 2) or scared at the charges I claimed to press at him and others for their misconduct and misleading sales tactics. Seriously, how were they any more different than thieves for charging me $515 when the agreed-upon price was $100? If you go to a restaurant and order a dish that’s priced at $10, and you receive a $100 bill in the end, how would you feel?
When I exited the store, the Edward guy yelled at me, “Crazy woman. Go see a doctor.” I shouted back and said, “My dad is a doctor. And the other guy threw an instrument at me. I will sue him.” Could anyone tolerate or condone physical violence to customers?
The police accompanied me outside and asked, “Do you still want to pursue it?”
I was a bit hesitant (after all, I got a full refund, totally unexpected), “I’m not sure…”
The police seemed shocked at my wishy-washy answer. “WHAT?! You’re not sure?!”
I thought for a second and confirmed, “Yes I want to pursue the matter, just to let that guy know the consequence of USING VIOLENCE to a customer.”
The police called the investigator to file the complaint. It was filed under criminal offence and I would have to go to the Magistrate Court tomorrow and tell the whole story again and let them decide.
The violent Eddy guy who hit me defended himself, “I threw the calculator at her foot. I didn’t aim it at her ankle. If I wanted to hit you I would’ve thrown it in your face.”
Is he getting out of this? No way. If he had repented with sincerity, I most likely would’ve let it go. Yet when you commit a crime and you don’t feel the slightest guilt, you probably should get educated and reformed.
In my leisure, I will share my experiences at iGadget, Sim Lim Square on every forum and blog available!
I try to avoid dishonest and calculative sleazebags but I just can’t! I still keep running into them! My whole Sunday has been ruined.
My Singaporean friends and colleagues have warned me that Sim Lim salesmen are very sleazy and try to add service charges. I was not aware they would actually impose service charges WITHOUT INFORMING ME. I didn’t know they would CHEAT me. Misrepresentation is a serious crime.
The police even agreed, “A couple hundred of dollars does sound like a lot for that little sim…”
I asked, “Have you dealt with this case before?”
The police replied, “Actually this is very common in Sim Lim.”
VERY COMMON?! There’s no Consumer Protection Law in Singapore? Who’s there to redress consumer grievances? I had to stand up for myself and I wasn’t even sure if I were handling the situation properly by losing my composure and balance. What about the ones forced to swallow their misfortune?
You’re not allowed access to chewing gum and not allowed to bring durian to MRT and forbidden to do so many things, and yet – it is legitimate and acceptable to DEFRAUD customers?
Fortunately, I had brought my US passport with me since I just went to JB yesterday. The police popped out a question out of nowhere, “Do your parents know anyone in the American government?”
Bewildered and unsure of why he posed such a question, I tried to keep my answer ambivalent, “My dad’s a doctor and my mom’s an accountant. My guess is that they probably don’t know anyone, but I’m not entirely sure. I’d have to double-check with them.”
He replied, “Okay. If they knew anyone there this would be a bit more complicated.”
Well, it was a grave offence. The issue at stake was not the degree of injury inflicted upon me but rather his violent gesture that could’ve led to severe ramifications.
The whole thing is upsetting and still leaves me in a state of stupor, shock, and disgust.
I bet that shop did not expect that I would make such an earth shattering spectacle in Sim Lim Square. For someone who’s highly conflict-averse, I’d been seriously provoked to the point my mind grew numb. I wonder if I should’ve treated the matter more calmly, but sometimes it is so incredibly hard to control yourself when forced to confront INJUSTICE!
One disappointing byproduct of the unpleasant incident was the crowd’s apathetic response. Although the security guards showed sympathy for me, everyone else was merely a spectator. Instead of lending a hand or a voice, many were grinning, mocking at my despair and tears. They found entertainment and comfort in my comical acts and shouts. I was the clown of the day at Sim Lim.
To me, indifference (apathy) is the cruelest response ever in the world. I did not sign up to audition for the circus. The scums provoked me to hysteria and tears!!
I suddenly recall my trip to Toronto last September where I witnessed a 40-year-old Asian lady stripping in front of everyone and setting fire on her own clothes. She must’ve been terribly provoked! Yet like many others, I was merely a spectator finding it a “unique and bizarre encounter” in Toronto!
In most cases people don’t help or can’t help OR don’t help and can’t help, and that leaves you alone in the world.
My right ankle, the spot where that dude hit me with the calculator, actually hurts now.
Sim Lim ShopI am never ever stepping a foot inside Sim Lim Square ever again, not even if I were sandwiched between two giant bodyguards. It’s not the place for the tame.
As for those who care or wish not to be scared, please find their store info to the right. If you crave challenges or curious to find out yourself, go ahead and see if you can get out of the shop without wreaking havoc on your own emotional well-being. Do not repeat my mistake, and don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you.
************AVOID SIM LIM SCAM AT ALL COST!**********
I got lucky, and I got refunded in the most unexpected way. IF you’re already a victim and didn’t get so lucky, spread the word and let’s tear down all the dishonest shops. Go to www.case.org.sg if it’s any help.