S'pore woman refunded S$28,000 after man who sold her counterfeit luxury watches sued her for payment

Her friend sued her for S$16,000 after she did not pay for the second watch.

Paul Rin | July 22, 2023, 01:56 PM

Mothership WhatsApp bannerMothership Telegram bannerHaving failed to receive the full payment for a pair of luxury watches that he had sold, a man in Singapore sued the female customer for the outstanding payment of S$16,000.

However, the woman countersued on the basis that the watches were fakes and the seller was ordered by the court to pay her back the S$28,000 she had given him, along with interest.

On Jul. 19, the man — named Hon G — had his application for permission to appeal the decision denied.

A Rolex and a Hublot

According to court documents seen by Mothership, in early January 2022, Tan Pei Li agreed to buy a pair of pre-owned luxury watches from her friend, Hon G, for a total of S$44,000.

The two watches were a Rolex Datejust Diamond watch for S$28,000, and a Hublot Big Bang Unico Diamond watch for S$16,000.

On the Rolex and Hublot websites, similar models would cost S$31,500 and S$39,600 respectively brand new.

Tan and Hon entered an oral agreement where Hon would deliver the two watches to Tan, who would then pay S$28,000 immediately. The remaining S$16,000 would be paid within three months, or in monthly instalments.

Hon delivered the two watches to Tan at his salon on Jan. 6, 2022.

Tan, who had already paid S$28,000, then took the watches to an expert to verify their authenticity.

Watches were counterfeit

When the expert found that the watches were counterfeit, Tan withheld payment for the outstanding S$16,000.

Hon, seeking to claim the payment from Tan, then took the matter to court, where Tan counterclaimed for a refund of the S$28,000.

On Apr. 18, 2023, the court ruled in favour of Tan, ordering Hon to refund her S$28,000 with interest, saying that he had been “unjustly enriched”. Hon was also ordered to pay an additional S$8,000, plus disbursements and applicable goods and services tax, to cover Tan’s costs.

According to the judgement, Tan claimed that a key term of the oral agreement between the parties was that the watches had to be authentic.

Hon accepted that was the case, and also accepted that the watches the expert had seen were indeed counterfeit.

However, he claimed that the watches Tan had the expert evaluate were not the same watches he had given her.

To support his claim, Hon argued that there were discrepancies in the expert’s reports on the watches, and that Tan was facing financial difficulties at the time, providing a motive for her to provide counterfeit watches for the expert to examine instead.

However, the district judge overseeing the case found Hon’s alleged discrepancies were not actually discrepancies, and called his claims of Tan’s financial difficulties “unsubstantiated and speculative”.

The judge then ruled that due to the inauthentic nature of the watches, the oral agreement between Hon and Tan had been breached and that Tan was discharged from the contract and entitled to a refund.

Ordered to pay a further S$1000

When Hon, dissatisfied with the ruling, sought to appeal against the judge’s decision, the district judge dismissed his application and ordered him to pay Tan a further S$1,000 to cover the costs of the application.

Hon then made another appeal to the High Court.

On Jul. 19, 2023, Senior Judge Tan Siong Thye found no reason to justify Hon’s permission to appeal and dismissed it.

Top photos from Rolex's and Hublot's websites.