Singapore mall tainted by retailer scams

A Singapore electronics retailer has been taken to court over a string of complaints from tourists.

And the store’s landlord says it is frustrated by “black sheep” tenants “scamming and cheating” customers.

The High Court granted a permanent injunction against Cyber Maestro, an electronics wholesaler at the renowned Sim Lim Square electronics mall, after a raft of complaints from tourists to the Singapore Tourism Board. Customers cited  over-charging, exerting undue pressure or influence to enter into a transaction and misleading consumers about prices and availability of goods.

Cyber Maestro had the highest number of complaints lodged against it by shoppers at the Sim Lim and People’s Park Complex centres between July and September.

“These complaints did not cease despite repeated notifications issued by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and request by STB for CM to resolve the complaints amicably and refrain from further unfair trade practices,” the STB said in a media statement.

The injunction restrains CM and their employees and agents from engaging in several unfair practices within the meaning of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.

Sim Lim Square management office told Channel News Asia the retail complex had been cast in a negative light in the eyes of the Singapore public and foreign visitors.

“The management council has always been greatly concerned over the problem caused by a few recalcitrant errant retailers in Sim Lim Square,” it told CNA. “Instances of unethical business practices, such as cheating, over-charging and taunting customers, are almost a daily sight, affecting the shoppers, especially tourists, at Sim Lim Square.

“Business is still as usual for the black sheep in Sim Lim Square and… scams and other dishonest practices are still common.”

Meanwhile, the STB urged consumers to take necessary measures to protect their interests, such as researching products, conducting a comparison of prices, clarifying return policies, checking receipts or invoices for accuracy and verifying coverage of warranties before agreeing to the purchase.

“STB takes a serious view of errant retailers who besmirch the reputation of Singapore as a premier tourist destination. Besides raising greater consumer awareness of such errant practices, STB would also encourage consumers to report such unfair practices.”

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