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Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

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Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

Hey folks, here's a article in the national newspapers regarding a (new) unethical credit card tactic. And would you believe it, the source of this complaint is.....LUCKY PLAZA!!!

Once again to all in TA, do be careful...

================================

Beware extra credit-card charges for 'fees and taxes'

Some retailers swipe cards for amounts larger than agreed upon

UNSCRUPULOUS retailers may have found a new way to fleece shoppers - by swiping their credit cards for larger amounts than what was agreed upon.

They then refuse to budge, and claim the extra amount is for transaction fees or taxes.

Such tactics are new, according to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), which put an alert out last month urging shoppers to double check the total amount they will be charged before handing their cards over to a retailer.

Last year, 78 consumers approached Case to assist them with such disputes involving electronic products and mobile phones, the first time the association received such complaints. Of these, 73 were tourists.

Mr Roseller Villagracia, 33, was one of the victims.

The Singapore resident agreed to pay $700 for an iPhone 4S at a shop in Lucky Plaza last November. His credit card was swiped and he was given the charge slip to sign.

To his horror, he had been charged $889. The extra amount, the shopkeeper told him, was for taxes.

His credit card, which had not been returned yet, was then swiped again, this time for $498 to unlock the phone.

"The shopkeeper didn't even tell me he was going to swipe my card again," he said. "I was so angry. I told him I didn't want the phone any more."

But his request for a refund was declined. He caved in and signed both credit-card slips.

"The shopkeeper told me it was too late. The card had been charged," said the accountant, who received a full refund in January this year after taking the matter to the Small Claims Tribunals.

Meanwhile, Case has written to the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to alert them to the issue, which is more prevalent among tourists buying electronics and mobile phones here.

Most of the cases involved shops in Lucky Plaza and Sim Lim Square, which have also attracted a large number of complaints about other dubious business practices in recent years.

The new tactic, said Case executive director Seah Seng Choon, takes advantage of the current system which allows cardholders to be charged even if they do not sign the charge slips.

"This should not be the case. Banks should not be approving such transactions as they have not been authorised by the buyer," he said.

When contacted, ABS said that retailers are able to void a transaction immediately. In the instance that a retailer refuses to do so, the consumer may seek redress with their card-issuing banks.

Retailers who spoke to The Straits Times said they check the total amount with customers before charging their cards.

Mrs Katherine Chow, 48, owner of On Tai Ginseng Traditional Medical Hall, said: "No one should be doing this. It spoils the reputation of shops. It's true that even if the customer doesn't sign the charge slip, the amount is debited already... But if it is wrong, the shop can easily void the transaction."

Consumers like Ms Lisabeth Ong, 32, said the current system puts buyers at a disadvantage.

"The shopkeeper can just charge any amount and the transaction just goes through," said the accountant. "Is that fair? The charge should not go through unless I authorise it."

Edited: 02 May 2013, 02:36
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1. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

Thanks fellow gunner - most helpful.

All - we have placed warnings about Sim Lim and Lucky Plaza (the electronic shops) far too many times so if you come to this forum

with your complains - I guess there's no one else to blame except for not heeding our advice.

Additionally - Singapore's retailers in general are still by far honest and there are various channels to seek address (good idea would be to buy your electronics in the first few days you are here instead of receiving a rude shock when you are about to fly off!)

However - there are reputable and honest businesses in these places - unfortunately - I don't go there often to comment further.

Have a "safe" trip - be street smart -heed good advice and all should be fine!

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2. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

hey dover, it's a little disappointing to note that despite our best efforts, there will be some who (still) want to have a go at Lucky Plaza and Sim Lim. Now we know why these shops are still in business because there are always fresh meat for them!

Luxembourg
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3. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

253SA thank you for your warning.

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4. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

<<it's a little disappointing to note that despite our best efforts, there will be some who (still) want to have a go at Lucky Plaza and Sim Lim>>

Yes well they must have gotten bad advice from Scoot.

www.flyscoot.com/index.php/en/singapore.html

Shopping till ya droppin’

1. Lucky Plaza is one of the old Singaporean malls on Orchard, but one of the most edgy. It’s filled with a great variety of shops selling all sorts of stuff from suitcases to computer equipment and unlike other malls; the shops here are always game for bargaining.

2. If you want electronics only, go to Sim Lim Square. It may not be the sexiest shopping center, but that’s only because their one and only focus is to give great bargains on the latest electronics.

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5. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

Maybe if we could get a sticky detailing which shops to avoid and which are legit. This list will go some way to help those coming to Singapore to purchase electronic products.

Singapore
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6. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

Hi Ron,

FYI, threads on these warnings have already been put up under Top Question About Singapore in the Singapore Travel Forum page.

Singapore, Singapore
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7. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

Another case & More Reason NOT to go Sim Lim to buy Electronic stuff (especially Handphone from Non respective Brand - own Store) :

forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=66224#1

Edited: 17 November 2013, 03:17
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8. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

ABS forgets to mention that banks like MayBank charges $5.00 before they move their butts to investigate.

Jakarta
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9. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

253SA thank you for sharing... REALLY helpful and timely info!

I have to add my usual advice for any electronic purchase in SIN : pay cash and not shop in the places with bad reputation.

Edited: 17 November 2013, 07:24
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10. Re: Warning! Unethical credit card tactics in Singapore!!!!

Clearly most people that visit Singapore don't read our T.A. Forum, if they did ''Plaza'' and ''Sim Lim'' would have been out of business long since. Let hope the Singapore police DO read what so many of the good citizens of Singapore and sharp travellers write.

The problem is many of the ''crooks'' are as smart as the police and considerably smarter than many unsuspecting and all too relaxed tourists. Fools and their money are soon parted, the trick is not to be a ''fool'' in the first place. KEEP AWAY FROM SIM LIM SQUARE AND LUCKY PLAZA and/or if you must go to either of them, pay attention, but many people only do that AFTER the event.

A very small number of unscrupulous retailers spoil it for the vast majority of good and honest Singaporean traders/