iPhone 6 incident in Singapore goes viral, makes international headlines

“The story of a Vietnamese tourist who was allegedly scammed in Singapore while buying an iPhone 6 has made international headlines and gone viral in Vietnam,” Chew Hui Min reports for The Straits Times. “The Straits Times found at least 10 Vietnamese news sites, including the websites of prominant newspapers like Thanh Nien News, and Tuoi Tre, reporting on the plight of Mr Pham Van Thoai.”

“Mr Pham had gone to Mobile Air in Sim Lim Square to buy his girlfriend an iPhone 6 on Monday. After paying S$950 for the phone, he unknowingly signed an agreement to pay the shop an additional $1,500 for a one-year warranty for it. In a video, he was seen crying and begging on his knees for a full refund of the phone,” Chew Hui Min reports. “He eventually got back $400, but was still short of $550 – more than two months’ salary for the factory worker.

“Many have since stepped forward to offer assistance to Mr Pham. Singaporean entrepreneur Gabriel Kang started an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for Mr Pham, which has raised close to US$12,000,” Chew Hui Min reports. “While most stories in the Vietnamese media were critical of the shady business practices of the mobile phone shop at Sim Lim Square, many also highlighted the efforts by Singaporeans to help Mr Pham. A piece in Thanh Nien News even compared the reactions of Singaporeans and Vietnamese towards the incident, and asked readers to stop making fun of their own countryman.”

Read more, and see the video, in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Hans Maristela” for the heads up.]

37 Comments

    1. I used to live there…. Anyone who goes shopping in Singapore can expect to find SOME good buys but had better be aware of just how much it is like swimming with sharks…I have been all over the world and like Singapore a lot, but you are a huge target there. This poor slob either got stung very badly or it is just a scam inside of a scam seeking suckers to contribute to his supposed plight. It could easily be either one.

    1. So with all this negative publicity, I’m hoping the shop/owner get what they deserve. I’m thinking he’s going to see fewer and fewer customer. I hope everyone over there see’s it and spreads the word about this scam artist.

      1. It seems like this was totally legal – the guy signed and agreement to buy an expensive warranty. Free market at work.

        For it to be to considered “being a crook”, there would first have to be law making the practice illegal. For that law to be enforced, there would have to regulative powers to enforce to that law. And for current laws to keep up with new dishonest market practices like this, there would have to be consumer interests lobbies to guide creating new laws. Basically, the only way this is even considered a crime or gets dealt with is through a regulated market.

        This is a classic example of this limits of free market – an incredibly productive and powerful economic force, but it’s also disastrous when deregulated.

        1. Singapore is a progressive little country which in many areas leaves the most developed Western countries in the shade. But ingenious crooks can prey on the uneducated/unengaged and get away anywhere – just check on American bankers over the last few years who screwed thousands out of much more than overpriced iPhone warranties.

          One of the challenges of modern society is the “small print” problem. Most transactions these days are accompanied by either signed or unsigned multi-page contracts/guarantees/ conditions crammed with hundreds of lines of legal gobbledygook which, to begin with, requires a magnifying glass to read, and if you are able to do that, to make sense of in everyday language.

          There is a trend in some legal systems, such as the UK, for courts to fault sellers for not bringing the most important clauses in such documents to the attention of “victims” in a prominent way e.g. by highlighting those parts in some form or other.

          It’s also a myth that just because a document crosses all the Ts and dots all the Is, it can hold up in court. Oppressive clauses couched in legality don’t always stand up in court. What courts often look for is “reasonable” behavior, not the form of a document.

          1. I remember reading a case when I was in law school about Sears selling a chest freezer to a welfare recipient. The $200 freezer was sold on credit at a price of $400. The victim had paid over $500 in principal and interest when he missed a payment and Sears repossessed the freezer. The court held that the contract was overreaching (basically unfair on its face), and ordered Sears to return the freezer AND pay the victim a $200 refund.

      2. Don’t worry. Market forces will save him. /s

        Actually, “crook” is only a definition relative to LAWS against the action. I’d say this IS a nice example of “free market” — and what is wrong with the idea.

        In a really free market, there’d be nothing to complain about in the actions of Judge Koh, because there would be no lawsuit and no judge.

        Regulations aren’t the problem. I’d suggest the answer is appropriate regulations that are clear, effective, and well enforced.

    1. As I sadly have to point out every day: It’s supposed to be CAPITALISM. When it turns into parasitism, it’s no longer capitalism. It’s plain old self-destruction, that constant theme of our current era of bad biznizz.

        1. I’m no psychologist. I do my best bashing around in it, trying to fill in the huge gaps in the current science of psychology. I attempt to avoid the word ‘evil’, which doesn’t actually describe much, and find details within situations.

          At the moment, I’m bashing around with the concept of people without a conscience. That’s one basis of the concept of psychopathy. Therefore, that tend to be my focus these day.

          I also find Maslow’s Needs Pyramid to be very useful. When people get desperate, they live at the bottom of the pyramid, concerned for their safety. With regards to psychopathy: Will a person act within the need for safety with or without damaging the world around them? I constantly see ‘evil’ acts coming out of the need for safety while having no regard for the welfare of other people. That has a lot to do with greed.

          Perversity, on the other hand, is a wider subject that can get into matters of perspective, cultural norms, negative anarchy, defiance, and boredom, as well as aspects of psychopathy.

          That’s my 3:33 AM brain dump for today. 😉

  1. Excuse me, but what does God need with a starship?”” I mean, why did he sign a contract for “warranty”? I don’t sign anything without know the implications.

  2. Among Asians, Singapore and Hong Kong are infamoous for these switching scam. These small shops prey on tourists who patronize them, who are hoping to snag a bargain. Believe me, these are blatantly going on for a long time scamming tourists. It is symptomatic of a semi-totalitarian form of government and so where there is absolute power in the hands of a few, power corrupts absolutely.
    For the politically correct, I am an Asian so I know these things.

    1. LOL. That’s stretching it a bit, isn’t it? You sound like you don’t like the Singapore government, and you may have good reasons for that – I’m not Singaporean, so I wouldn’t know – but to imply that “non-totalitarian” countries all have small shops run by angels is simply out there.

      If you are in North America, for instance, every time you sign a phone/cable/internet contract, you can be sure you’re being taken for some kind of overpaid ride.

  3. Does the extended warranty at least come with 1 year of iYogi phone support? /s

    Sad thing is he isn’t even entitled to AppleCare phone support beyond 90 days.

    For those of you who do not know what iYogi is… They are a company that try to pass themselves off as Apple tech support. If you Google AppleCare their ad usually comes up first because they bid the highest to get their site to the top of the Google searches.

    1. AppleCare Phone support for 90 days and the 1 year warranty that come with the phone are two different things. The phone support is for none hardware related technical issues. If he has a hardware issue in that first year (and it’s not accidental damage) it’s covered by Apple for free.

      1. You missed my point, even with the /s

        I’ll try again.

        Yes, Apple offers 1 yr parts and labor standard and 90 days telephone support.
        AppleCare+ gives you 2 years of parts and labor and 2 incidents of accidental damage (with a deductible). It also gives you 2 years of unlimited telephone support.

        The dude got totally burnt and he doesn’t even get phone support beyond 90 days, because he didn’t purchase genuine AppleCare.

        Somehow having to spell it out isn’t as humorous. :rolls eyes:

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