E-mail: Where NOT to get your cellphone

Hello Friends,

I just want to share with you a terrible experience we had when we traded-in my mother-in law cellphone at the CYBER JIN Pte Ltd (Lucky Plaza #B1-81,near 7-eleven) this weekend.

The story goes like this; my Mom wanted to trade-in her old cellphone to buy a brand new N70. We accompanied her to the Lucky Plaza hoping we could get a good bargain. Then we found this store that agreed to buy my Mom’s cellphone for $220 and would charge us only $550 (net) for an N70 under the condition that we do both transactions (buy and sell) with them. So far, this store offers us the best bargain compared to other stores from the rest
of the building.

We agreed to their transaction proposal as we were then in a bit of a hurry (she was only a tourist and would stay in Singapore for only 4-days). However, when we were about to pay, the salesman suddenly told us “Why do you want an N70? This is a very bad phone. In fact this is one of the most problematic phones of Nokia.” He immediately caught our attention and in fact gained our trust (imagine a salesman telling you that a product you are about to buy from him is not worth the money you are paying it for). He then proceeded to make his presentation about why we should not buy an N70 and even said “If you really want it I can sell it to you but please know that we’ve heard a lot of complains about it”. Afterwards, he brought out an N6280, which he said was by far a better phone than the N70 at almost the
same price (he even gave another short presentation of its advantages). Of course, since he already gained our trust, we found his presentation very convincing. We bargained for the phone and he said “I can give it to you at just $555 (net)”.

After being impressed by a convincing presentation, my Mom agreed to trade-in her old cellphone for $220, and buys the brand new N6280 for $555(This means that she just would have to shell out another $335). We told the salesman that we would pay by Nets and we gave him our card. While paying, he tried to sell to us a 64Mb mini-SD Card for $20. We said we did not want it (as my mother wouldn’t use it anyway). We proceeded with the transaction, got our phone and asked for the receipt. The salesman said that the Nets certificate would be our receipt. Should we encounter any problem, we just look for him and he would be happy to assist us. Since we are in a hurry, we took our phone and nets certificate and left. While we were leaving, he handed us the 64Mb mini-SD Card and said “Take this as a free gift from me”.

Aftr a long day of sight seeing and a little shopping, we finally got home and my mom finally had her first chance to test her new cellphone. To her surprise, the supposedly brand-new cellphone had contact numbers (some even had photo-contacts) of some people in its phone memory (meaning it was used and wasn’t brand new!). We then checked the phone’s serial number (IMEI#) and again to our dismay, we found out that the phone’s IMEI# doesn’t match the IMEI# listed in the box. We did a research to see what other things the salesman tricked us into believing and we found out that the 64Mb SD Card that he was trying to sell us for $20 was in fact part of the phone’s original package (some other things listed as part of the original package as seen from brochures were also missing). Not just that, we checked the
Nets certificate, and learned that he charged $355 instead of just $335 (so sneaky, we didn’t even notice!). Worst of all, we found that the price of the N6280 from neighboring stores is just $450(net) while he sold it to us for a total of $575! (Including the extra $20 we did not notice that he charged us through Nets).

Imagine how disappointed my Mom would be after knowing that she bought a cellphone that is not just $100+ overpriced but is also isn’t brand new as we were made to believe (plus the fact that some of the components from the original package were removed and the that salesman charged more than what we had agreed).

The next day, we went back to the store to complain and get a refund. The salesman said that he couldn’t give us a refund. What he can do is to buy the cellphone we bought from him a day ago for $575, and give us ONLY $300 (does he think we’re that stupid!!!)… We did not agree and insisted a REFUND; during our discussion one of his colleagues shouted, “Give them a new box so that they would leave!!!” (He’s so rude!) I don’t know how stupid these people think we are if all we came for was to get a new box…. I told them that if they wouldn’t refund our money, we would report this matter to the police. They just gave an insulting grim and said “Go ahead, we’ll see you in court” and then one of them lit a cigarette (inside the shop), and smoked in front of us and along the hallways of the mall (while wearing that
insulting smile) as if telling us that he is not scared of the police. In fact, he can smoke in a “No Smoking Zone”.

While we were leaving (to complain to the police) we came across an Indian couple who owns souvenir shop nearby and told us that this (our incident) happens almost every week. The Indian lady said that this store always gets complains from tourists but are always able to get away with it because tourists usually would just go away. She also said that this store avoids
(if they can) giving receipts to unsuspecting customers to cover their fraudulent transactions. She suggested that if we can, we should complain these people to the authorities because they make Singapore look bad. We went to the security department of Lucky Plaza and the security people helped us contact the police. The Lucky Plaza security people also admitted
that this always happens but it’s just not their jurisdiction so they really cannot do anything about these incidents other than making a report to the police. The security people also advised that it is illegal for a store not to issue a proper receipt detailing all transactions to a customer. This means that the Nets certificate that we have (although having the store name and address) is not a valid receipt after all.

The police came, talked to us and told us to wait for them at the security counter of the mall while they went to the store and talked to these people. We told the police that we want a refund because we were cheated and do not trust these people or any of their products anymore. We also reported that the store did not issue a proper receipt. The police went to the store, talked to the manager and came back to tell us that the manager’s suggestion was to give us a new N6280 (one that matches the IMEI of box and the unit!!!) so that all of these would be settled. We told the police that we want a refund and we don’t want to do any business with them. Then, the Police suggested that we file our complaints to CASE, because they are not the right person for these kinds of situations.

As of now, we are gathering all evidence we can that could help when we file our complaint to CASE. We are hoping that the Nets certificate that we have will suffice as one of our evidences. We are no longer interested of the refund, what we want now is to teach these crooks a lesson so that they will stop cheating other people.

Let this email be a warning to you and your friends. Always check a product very well (research if possible) before buying and always make sure you get a ‘detailed receipt’ of all your transactions.

Never fall prey on these predators waiting for unsuspecting customers.

Of course. What were they thinking? The worst phone ever, Nokia 6280?

2006-09-18

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