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A domestic helper who was charged $145 for a Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus screen protector has received a full refund from EZ Advance Trading Enterprise, the Lucky Plaza shop where she made the purchase.
The incident which happened on Sunday afternoon (Feb 18) was first brought to light after Facebook user Denise Han, the employer of the helper, found out about it and posted it online.
In an update on Friday (Feb 23), Ms Han said that the shop has given a full refund.
Ms Han, 37, wrote:
“Thanks all for your concern and advice.”
The Straits Times called the store on Saturday morning (Feb 24) and spoke to a worker who confirmed that a full refund has been made.
On Feb 18, the helper had gone to Lucky Plaza to get a phone screen protector and remit money back to her hometown.
Ms Han said that her helper had expected the protector to cost a maximum of $20, and did not ask further about the price, nor did any store employee clarified it.
Only after the protector was installed was the helper informed that she needed to pay an eye-watering $145.
The helper was pressured into paying as an employee told her that everything had been captured on closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, reports Shin Min Daily News.
Reporters later visited Lucky Plaza on Friday afternoon (Feb 23) where many shop operators said that they had not heard about any complaints concerning EZ Advance Trading Enterprise.
A store manager of U-First Tel, Mr Steve Yee, said that his most expensive screen protector was for the iPhone X and costs $48.
Another store manager who declined to be named said her screen protectors cost $20 at the most.
The manager of EZ Advance Trading Enterprise, who identified himself as John, said that his screen protector cost $145 due to its high quality and a one-year warranty.
Asked why the other stores sold their protectors at much lower prices, he said:
"They are my competitors, they would say that their prices are much lower than mine.”
John, however, said he was willing to give a full refund to the helper as he wanted to close the matter and move on.
Mr Loy York Jiun, the executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), revealed that another customer had written in about a similar experience with the same store back in 2016.
Apparently, the staff only revealed that a screen protector cost $139 after pasting it on the customer’s phone.
Said Mr Loy:
"The consumer eventually paid $69 for the screen protector after forgoing the one-year warranty."
"Case would like to advise consumers to always shop around and compare prices when shopping.
“They have the right to say 'no' if they do not wish to buy the item. Exerting pressure on a consumer to enter into a transaction is an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, and consumers can seek recourse under the Act."
As for Ms Han, she is thankful that the matter has finally been resolved.
“We are so grateful for all the advice and help received from netizens.”