Shop charges S$118 to set up new phone for 60-year-old S'pore man, eventually refunds it

A representative from the shop claimed that the matter was a 'misunderstanding'.

Nigel Chua | March 11, 2021, 10:34 AM

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A 60-year-old man visited a phone shop in People's Park Complex looking for a new phone, and managed to pick one out.

"Ridiculous" charge

The man apparently thought that it would be more convenient to have the shop staff help him set up the phone, and agreed on a price of S$118 for their services.

His grandson, however, felt that the prices were extortionate, as it appeared that the charges had been incurred for the service of setting up a Google Play account and little more.

The grandson then went down to the shop to confront its staff.

Speaking to Shin Min Daily News (SMDN), the grandson said a staff member at the shop told him that his grandfather had in fact paid the S$118 for a year's worth of after-sales service from the shop, which he thought was "ridiculous".

The grandson was, however, able to procure a refund of the sum for his grandfather.

Shop representative says the matter is a "misunderstanding"

An SMDN reporter visited the shop in question on Mar. 9 and spoke to a 35-year-old representative of the shop, surnamed Li.

According to SMDN, Li said that he had clarified the facts with the shop staff and concluded that the matter was a misunderstanding.

Li said that the elderly man had visited the shop together with his wife, and wanted help to install mobile apps and set up the relevant accounts. The shop's services, priced at S$20 to S$30 each, were explained "one by one" to the customer, who had agreed to pay the total bill.

Li added that he had already explained the situation to the grandson, and, decided to issue a refund as he believed there had been a misunderstanding.

List of services displayed in the store

Another shop assistant, who is 56 years old, told SMDN that a list of the services offered, and their respective pricing, was displayed in the store.

This list included services priced from S$10 to S$35, such as:

  • Downloading apps
  • Downloading music
  • Transferring files and photos from an old phone to a new phone
  • Setting up an account with Google or Apple
  • Setting up a Google Play account
  • Configuring anti-virus settings on the phone

The shop also offered the service of cutting a SIM card (probably to a smaller nano-SIM card size) for S$3.

In addition, the assistant claimed that in providing these services, their usual practice was to explain the charges to customers and recommend that they seek help from their children.

He also said that it was not common for customers to opt for the shop's setting-up services.

Meanwhile, staff at another phone shop in the vicinity told SMDN that they would hardly ever charge customers — who are mainly from an older demographic — for such services. Even if they did, these prices would be close to S$10, since setting up an account for a customer only takes five minutes.

Top image via Rafael Navarro on Google Maps