Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sim Lim Square under a bad light again (this time involving coins)

Sim Lim Square is under bad press once again. It is due to a bad shop at Sim Lim Square that caused bad publicity for other shop owners operating under the same complex/building. According to The Real Singapore, the shop mentioned was Mobile Air Pte Ltd (Reg. number 201327396H; ACRA). What happened was that a woman shopper was tricked into opting-in for in-house warranty for iPhone product, which cost SGD2400 (for a two year warranty) whereas her phone only cost SGD1600. She wanted a refund and failed to get it. She went to Small Claims tribunal for help and the shop was supposed to refund her the money owed. To her surprise, the shop employee handed her a bag full of coins of different values. The customer had to spend hours counting the coins and all the time enduring harassment by the staffs.

A snapshot taken from The real Singapore. For more pictures, visit the New Paper too.

A check at Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority Singapore (ACRA) Bizfile showed that there are two shops with "Mobile Air" business name, e.g.
  1. MOBILE AIR PRODUCTS (SINGAPORE ) PTE. LTD (Reg number 197200673H) at Penang Rd that was no longer active
  2. MOBILE AIR PTE. LTD. (Reg number 201327396H) at 1, ROCHOR CANAL ROAD, #01-41, S188504 (at Sim Lim Square) which was active

 There are two entities with "Mobile Air" business name.

To find out the business owner, you have to fork out minimal SGD5.50.

To find out who is the owner of the business, one has to pay SGD5.50 (which is not expensive but not cheap if consumers need to check multiple companies belonging to the same owner). The information (or business profile) is not sufficiently informative and relevant. I'm saying this because, although the name of business owner is available in the business profile, there is no mention of other business names registered under that particular/same person (or am I wrong?). Furthermore, the online search form does not allow search by individual/owner's name. The only option is to search by business name or registration number.

There is no search option to find out how many other business names a particular business owner owned/registered.

For example, if a "Wong Ah Kiew" registered ten business names, and one of them, e.g. "Mobile Shitty Service Pte Ltd" was currently under bad press, consumers would be unable to shun (or avoid) the nine other businesses under the same "BAD" MANAGEMENT. Also, if the owner can swiftly change multiple business names at ease, it would be difficult for consumers to keep track, esp. considering that updating such information would require frequent purchasing of business profiles (from ACRA) that lacked information regarding other business names the same owner registered. If I'm Wong Ah Kiew, I would register several backups (if it's not too hassle). If that's easy, no wonder business owners can afford to be shitty, no?

I believe, if ACRA helps to list down businesses owned by an individual, that person will have to think extra hard before smearing his/her business with shitty services (because it would be easy to find out all other businesses he registered). Alas, for the time being, owners are able to change names whenever they fancy and consumers have difficulty keeping track of these changes. Probably that's a major motivation for businesses at Sim Lim Square having the audacity to roll out shitty services.

Just a thought.


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