Feb 17 2011
Welcome to Singapore, where the streets are free of touts, prices are the same for everyone, and taxi drivers always use the meter! So is Singapore truly scam-free? I’d have to say the answer is almost, but not quite. Tourists do occasionally get ripped off and nine times out of ten it happens at Sim Lim Square.
Acting on the false belief that Singapore has extremely low prices on electronics, tourists flock to Sim Lim Square to snatch up the latest cameras and computers.
Some unscrupulous salespeople are unable to resist the easy sales and take advantage of tourists who assume they’re getting a great deal.
Most of Sim Lim’s vendors are reputable, but you can defend yourself from the rip-off artists by following these tips:
Before you make a major purchase it’s a smart idea to check the price at other local shops and even in your home country. Prices on new brand-name electronics really don’t vary that much and Singapore is definitely not the cheapest place to shop. I got a much better deal on my DLSR camera in Canada and the warranty is longer!
Information is power
It’s easy to use the internet to check a product’s suggested retail price and even print out information about what you plan to buy. S$400 may seem like a great price for a digital camera with accessories, but not when you later discover it’s an old model and suggested retail price is now S$300.
Confirm the total price
One of the most common complaints is salespeople who add surprise ‘unlocking fees’ to the bill for phones and video games. These fees are often a scam.
Be wary of fakes
I don’t recall Apple launching an iPhone nano, but I have seen one at Sim Lim Square! Though police raids have made them rare, fakes do exist.
Don’t be charmed
The shops on the first floor are known for specifically targeting tourists. Anyone who shouts at you across the mall about special deals ‘just for you’ probably doesn’t have good intentions.
If the worst-case scenario happens and you feel you have been ripped off, you can contact the police or the Consumers Association of Singapore.
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