For many tourists a visit to Singapore is an excuse to indulge in some serious retail therapy. After window shopping for luxury brands on Orchard Road and browsing cheap souvenirs at the Chinatown Street market, the next stop on the Singapore shopping spree is usually Sim Lim Square to check out the latest electronic gadgets.
I’ve blogged before that electronics really aren’t any cheaper in Singapore, but if you’re planning to buy a new camera or computer anyway here are some tips to make sure you don’t regret your purchase.
Firstly, compare prices. If you plan to make a major purchase always check the price at a few stores and in your home country. Saving S$100 by buying your laptop in Singapore may seem smart at the time, but not when you’re thousands of miles away with a broken computer.
Next up: Make sure it has a warranty. And not just any warranty, but an international one. The salesperson should be able to confirm this and show you the warranty card.
There’s a good reason you see locals testing their new phones and laptops before they pay. No-questions-asked refunds and exchanges are not the norm in Singapore, even if you bought the item on the same day. This is especially true at smaller independent stores. This means you, too, should try before you buy.
Before you fork out your cash, confirm your Tourist Tax Refund. Visitors to Singapore who spend S$100 or more at one shop are eligible to have the 7% GST refunded when they leave the country. Any legitimate electronics store will provide you with the paperwork and the refund is processed at the airport.
Our last tip: Don’t shop at Sim Lim Square. It may be the biggest electronics mall in Singapore but Sim Lim also has a bad rap for taking advantage of tourists. Most malls have a big chain electronics store like Harvey Norman with very competitive prices and straightforward return policies. Another great choice is Funan Digital Mall near City Hall MRT, which has all the variety of Sim Lim Square but more reputable stores.
By Tanya Procyshyn
Last updated on 15th November, 2014.