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Over USD11,000 raised for iPhone 6 scammed tourist

Recent news about a Vietnamese tourist who was scammed by a Singapore mobile store over an iPhone 6 has been making headlines for the past few days.

If this is only news to you now, here is what you’ve missed so far as told by Tech in Asia:-

Last Monday, a Vietnamese tourist by the name of Pham Van Thoai, 28 visited a local IT shopping complex in Singapore, Sim Lim Square with the intention to buy a new iPhone 6 for his girlfriend as a birthday present.

The stores in Sim Lim Square are known for their bad reputation of tricking buyers and manipulating them, but the Vietnamese tourist is not aware of this.

So, Pham who is a mere factory worker with USD200 (RM600 plus) income per month, paid USD730 (RM2,434), an amount which he had saved for months, to buy an iPhone 6 for his beloved girlfriend at the now infamous mobile phone store, Mobile Air.

Mobile Air (Photo Source: todayonline.com)

When he was asked if he wanted an extended warranty, he agreed to it thinking that it was complimentary, but it turns out he was tricked, because taking the warranty required him to pay an extra USD1,200 (RM4,000).

Pham then quickly refused and asked for a refund, but was rejected by the staff, he then got down on his knees and begged the staff for his money, but they had only laughed and mocked him. 

After much back-and-forth deliberation, Pham was then given a partial refund of USD320 (RM1,333) with no phone in hand.

Shop owner of Mobile Air (Photo Source: straitstimes.com)

A video of Pham begging and kneeling has since been widely shared on the Internet and had immediately gone viral on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The video angered many Netizens and one of them, Gabriel Kang started a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo with a noble mission of buying the poor Vietnamese victim an iPhone 6 and some side gifts such as bak kwa and kaya jam.

“This is not OK, this is not right. We are NOT a nation of thieves and cheats,” wrote Kang on the Indiegogo page. “We need to raise at least USD$1,000, but hopefully we would raise a bit more to cover express shipping and pay for a goodie bag to help alleviate their suffering. But if we do fall short, I will personally cover the rest.”

According to Asia One, the campaign has thus far accumulated over USD11,000 (RM36,663) with the participation of more than 1,400 donors.

The reason Kang went through all this trouble was because he felt sorry for Pham and he wanted to set things right for him.

"I feel that Mr Pham was dealt a great injustice by the legal system and while we cannot undo those traumatic and humiliating scenes he has had to endure, we can try to make things right. Let's give the man an iPhone 6!" said Kang.

However, Pham had previously commented to Lianhe Zaobao (a Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper) that he will accept nothing more than the amount that he has lost, “I lost USD550 (RM1,833). So I will accept only USD550 donated by kind people. Nothing more. I’m grateful for all your kindness but I do not want to take more than what I’ve lost.”

After this incident, more complaints have been made and the reputation of Sim Lim Square has been badly ruined (though it was already bad before). Apparently the said shop has said to be closed for the past few days now.

Anyway, it is good to know that there are still kind-hearted people in this world.

 (Photo Source: tnp.sg)

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