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Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

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Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby Elington » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 2:31 am

Hello guys and gals,

So you may have heard of this wonderful place that has almost all of your IT needs, Sim Lim Square (SLS).

Well, it really is a place where you can get almost everything you need about computers and gadgets, it's a heaven for those that are familiar with it, while it can also be a nightmare where tourists and people that are unfamiliar with it pay much more for what they thought was a good deal:

- Previously Owned/Used gadgets which was sold as New, seal wrapped/ official merchandise tape, all are possible to be faked

- Paying for a 'One time offer' or 'last piece', where stocks are actually abundant.

- Success negotiation, actually SLS is highly syndicated as in, you may think that you're going around negotiating with different shops for a same item and eventually got a nice deal where, behind the scenes, they are actually working for the same boss.

- Signed something seemingly harmless/paid before you checked the goods, there are many unscrupulous merchants that prey on the unknowing victims


YES so please do take note of what you're getting into before heading to Sim Lim Square. It is not a place for the faint hearted.

Here's what you SHOULD DO BEFORE HEADING to SIM LIM SQUARE:

1. Research/Homework - of what you intend to buy:
Make a online research, check out with a Tech Savy friend, Amazon, Qoo10, Lazada. Online Price Guides or Pricelists of previous IT Shows. There are forums filled with friendly people more than willing to share such as Hardware Zone of VR-Zone Forums. They do sell 2nd hand goods too. If you choose to be educated by the information provided by the shop sales person, do take them with a pinch of salt. DO NOT TRUST blindly even if they seemed really nice.

Go to Google: Enter Pricelist Singapore <RAM/SSD>/<ITshow>/<PCshow>/YEAR


2. Remember 4W1H, WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN HOW:
If you bought something, REMEMBER, WHO dealt with you, WHAT did they say, WHERE did they go off to when taking your money or items, WHEN did they return and in what state did they bring it out to you, HOW did they show you your item. After you paid, they can pretend that they have never met you. Inspect the box and items. Seal wraps can be faked. Brand tapes can be bought. E.g. Lenovo Taped box, they tear it open in front of you, but really the contents are not exactly new.

In a place as such, I could say you can even consider wearing a microphone for evidence.


3. Tourist Trap - 1st and 2nd Level, but still applies to all levels as long as you are not familiar:
Most of the time the first 2 Level are full of pretty lady, polite gentleman. They offer a discount/package "just for you". No really it's just a sales pitch. Don't feel bad that you have to buy from them just because they seemed nice. They are after your wallet's contents. They have a laugh about it behind your back with their colleagues.

While the first 2 levels may look all bright and sleek. It's usually a pretense.


4. Bait and switch - Another annoying method of sales
So you've seen the pricelist, seen the huge promotion XX% off what you needed. Great deal, Ima get it. "Sorry this item is currently sold out as it is so popular. But we do have an alternative which is also a great deal!" Yes, while it may be true that some items do run out. DO NOT be distracted by their offers. Check out for what you came for. If else compare their offer with everywhere else. There can easily be a $20-30 difference from personal experience.


5. Clear and concise - Ask about everything and confirm the details before paying:
Is it a local unit, is it brand new unused, is it unlocked and usable overseas, where to claim the warranty, is there GST rebate, is the price GST inclusive etc literally ask all you want. And make sure of everything before you hand over your money. If you were asked to sign any documents, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING.


6. Smartphones/Laptops - Not an ideal place to get from
iPhones, Samsung Galaxy whatnot, you should not need to get them from SLS because the prices should be the same everywhere else. Laptops, well prices should be the same as well, though they may offer different freebies. But REMEMBER, the freebies are most of the time a bunch of items you don't need.


7. Bring a savy friend
They should know what you need and what to watch for, in the event that, the sales person tries something funny. They pull a quick one pretending even if they don't know what you need and they are good at it. You end up buying something completely useless to you.


8. Bargaining and saving:
So you are familiar with the above 7 points. You are fearless. Now you want to strike a bargain on what you intend to buy. Here's how you bargain:
i. RULE NUMBER 1 OF BARGAINING - NEVER REVEAL YOUR BUDGET
ii. Buy everything (or almost all on your list) you want from 1 store
iii. Mention you are paying by cash
iv. I don't need the freebies, is there more discount if I don't take them?
v. For Tourists: Ask for GST rebate

Ask for your discount, mention that it's a friend's budget, they only have this much. Ask them to round down the figure to the next 5 or 0.

Depending on the purchase amount it's possible to shave off savings of $50-100

Example Cases:

http://mothership.sg/2014/10/sim-lim-sq ... s-example/

Personal (6 months working experience):
1. I have worked at a laptop shop with 5 different named outlets. A customer buys a NEW Laptop at outlet A. Sales person goes to outlet B to pack one of the display units into the original box, tapes it up with the Branded Tape to make it look like a sealed unit when they open it up in front of the customer. The laptop doesn't even boot into what a total brand new Laptop should. No setup etc. Just into Windows. I do warn customers that I engage if there's no one around.

2. Friendly gentleman D sitting on a booth selling phones. Sells 4 ' Original iPhone's to a tourist A. Ensures to A that it is the real iPhone, original, sealed, warranty unregistered. What Tourist A actually bought is a fake iPhone usually sold to tourists or others at $150-200. Tourist A paid $700+ for each of them, total $2800 of garbage they paid for. After completing the transaction, gentleman D packs up his booth for the day, disappears for at least a week before showing up again.

Other sites to read:
https://www.travelfish.org/sight_profil ... apore/2611
https://zitseng.com/archives/6821
http://thebudgetgeek.blogspot.sg/2014/1 ... quare.html

Thank you very much for your time and patience, I hope the post is useful for you should you decide to venture to Sim Lim Square. Please do use the contents as you please but do not claim credit as your own. At least credit Singapore Expats as the source for hosting.

I visit the place as and when I need items or family members need my help with certain things. Do feel free to ask if you have any questions! I will try to answer to the best of my abilities.

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Re: RE: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby ecureilx » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 8:35 am

Elington wrote:
I visit the place as and when I need items or family members need my help with certain things. Do feel free to ask if you have any questions! I will try to answer to the best of my abilities.


Suggesting the IT shops as scammers is not right.

There are shops there doing computer accessories for more that 20 years, and they don't scam. How do they survive if they been scamming as you insinuate ?

The mobile phone and such stuff ran riot but not the IT shops.

And I never heard of the MO you mentioned by IT shops, like bait and switch, wrapping old items as new ...

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Re: RE: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby ecureilx » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 8:46 am


- Signed something seemingly harmless/paid before you checked the goods, there are many unscrupulous merchants that prey on the unknowing victims


That's the MO of the scamming mobile phone shops ...

You may change it to 'fewer and fewer ...' instead of many ...

They do sell 2nd hand goods too.


Oh.no.

2. Remember 4W1H, WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN HOW:
If you bought something, REMEMBER, WHO dealt with you, WHAT did they say, WHERE did they go off to when taking your money or items, WHEN did they return and in what state did they bring it out to you, HOW did they show you your item. After you paid, they can pretend that they have never met you. Inspect the box and items. Seal wraps can be faked. Brand tapes can be bought. E.g. Lenovo Taped box, they tear it open in front of you, but really the contents are not exactly new.


Not nice.

I know lot of customers insist on opening the box before purchase - and they have no intention to purchase - and leave an open unit. Who absorbs the cost ? Just asking - about such scenarios ...

3. Tourist Trap - 1st and 2nd Level, but still applies to all levels as long as you are not familiar:
Most of the time the first 2 Level are full of pretty lady, polite gentleman.


Not nice.

Ask for your discount, mention that it's a friend's budget, they only have this much. Ask them to round down the figure to the next 5 or 0.

Depending on the purchase amount it's possible to shave off savings of $50-100


Most computer accessories are under control price SRP.

Asus, TP link and all even publish their price. So how does bargain and discount work ?

How do you shave off 50-100 $ on a 100$ router ?

Just asking. ..

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Re: RE: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby Elington » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:08 am


- Signed something seemingly harmless/paid before you checked the goods, there are many unscrupulous merchants that prey on the unknowing victims


That's the MO of the scamming mobile phone shops ...

You may change it to 'fewer and fewer ...' instead of many ...


While the situation may have improved sometimes. I'd just pretend that it's just a jungle and be vigilant at all times than to be sorry in the end. I don't exactly view them as fewer, the numbers seems to fluctuate at times. Generally having seen and interacted with the booth salespersons, I do not engage in transactions much with them.

Even up to recent months in 2016, I've had local friends that went in, still get ripped off the same way like tourists because they seemed like good preys and didn't do their homework. While yes this post may have some impact on our friends here visiting Sim Lim Square, I'd always rather everyone be safe than sorry.

Ultimately, by doing your homework and research. You will know how much truth or lies a sales person begins with.


They do sell 2nd hand goods too.


Oh.no.


Items sold in VR-Zone or Hardware Zone kind of forums that are previously owned should be specified as per their status. Do not engage ambiguous sellers on the forums as well. There are plenty of reputable and pleasant sellers too.

2. Remember 4W1H, WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN HOW:
If you bought something, REMEMBER, WHO dealt with you, WHAT did they say, WHERE did they go off to when taking your money or items, WHEN did they return and in what state did they bring it out to you, HOW did they show you your item. After you paid, they can pretend that they have never met you. Inspect the box and items. Seal wraps can be faked. Brand tapes can be bought. E.g. Lenovo Taped box, they tear it open in front of you, but really the contents are not exactly new.


Not nice.

I know lot of customers insist on opening the box before purchase - and they have no intention to purchase - and leave an open unit. Who absorbs the cost ? Just asking - about such scenarios ...

It sounds like you have been in either positions :D Honestly speaking, the only products that I would let that happen is that if I can exchange it with the original product provider due to their policy of product satisfaction guarantee.

A proper salesperson does not open the sealed box even if they don't have a display unit. It is their own cost to bear if they open it before the customer pay for the item. When you open a new item, it should be for the customer to check before they bring it home AFTER having already paid. Not all customer are right.


I've seen my colleagues pressurize a customer to buy because they opened the box for them. It was unfortunate event, the customer has all the rights not to buy with whatever reason they wish to provide. But that was a case of the sale person knowingly pressurize a customer that seem like they give way easily. It was in the fault of the sales person opening the box. No sales is completed without transaction (e.g. money paid)


Ask for your discount, mention that it's a friend's budget, they only have this much. Ask them to round down the figure to the next 5 or 0.

Depending on the purchase amount it's possible to shave off savings of $50-100


Most computer accessories are under control price SRP.

Asus, TP link and all even publish their price. So how does bargain and discount work ?

How do you shave off 50-100 $ on a 100$ router ?

Just asking. ..


Yes prices can be published. There are items that you can push for a discount, if you bought them together. You don't shave of $50-100 on a $100 Router, it's just not possible. Basis of bargaining is just about reducing the 'commission' and bring the 'retail price' closer to the 'cost price'. While personally I do not know what are the cost prices of each items. As a bundle of goods, it's more a distributed reduction of 'commission', some consumers perceive it as getting discount on one item that they asked for. Most likely in the case they play the discount by the following example:
1. You bought items A, B, C and D. You feel that C is a little expensive.
2. You ask for a discount for C since you bought so many.
3. Hesitantly, after a few rounds of exchange, finally the sales person gives in and gives you discount on the said item. "One time only" "Just for you".
4. You feel good about it. Well basically they just reduced the excess off the bundle even if C is non-discountable.

From my experience, there's plenty of listed prices that I ended up with some overall discount. But really it depends on what you buy. If NOT ONE shop gives in, it's probably an item that's not possible to discount. Ask for discount on your other purchase items instead. I do some shopping there for family and friends at times when it's not for personal consumption

Your goal is to save money for overall expenditure. Not asking for ridiculous prices. Yeah you may even know their item 'cost price'. NOBODY in the world other than a friend/family will let you have an item at the cost price they bought. They have to pay wages and rental. I don't see myself or any veterans being able to shave $50-100 on a single item even if it was a $1000 router, let alone $100. Hence the recommendation to group the things you need to buy in one trip and one transaction.

You won't be able to bargain if:
1. You buy 1 item or less each time you visit.
2. On one trip, you're buying 5 items. But you bought 3 and paid. Then you saw the next item you forgot, wanna buy that too. Paid. Then the next, oh crap that looks nice too, buy it. It is unlikely that you will be able to get a discount off the subsequent items. You're almost like a new customer walking in to buy the single items hence no bargaining power.
3. Your purchase amount is like measly of $100. Don't expect much of a discount aside from a maximum I can see of $5. Again, depends on the sales person.

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Re: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby x9200 » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:24 am

Nothing to do with SLS. The SLS "problem" is only about high population of small consumer electronic shops. Dirty tricks (better say, problems) may happen even in big chain stores.

I've never had any problems shopping in SLS but among top point on my commandments list there are:
a) find a reputable store (very few)
b) if you buy expensive stuff don't try to make sh**ty savings

The above translate to, if I buy a camera on-line worth $700, I rather pay $680 in a reputable store, than $650 in some random one.

And...
c) if you buy on-line, pay with Pay Pal - you will be able to recover the many in case something is wrong.

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Re: RE: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby x9200 » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:56 am

ecureilx wrote:
Elington wrote:
I visit the place as and when I need items or family members need my help with certain things. Do feel free to ask if you have any questions! I will try to answer to the best of my abilities.


Suggesting the IT shops as scammers is not right.

There are shops there doing computer accessories for more that 20 years, and they don't scam. How do they survive if they been scamming as you insinuate ?

The mobile phone and such stuff ran riot but not the IT shops.

Yes, I second that opinion. I buy (or TBP, used to buy) tons of PC components/accessories from SLS and hardly recall many issues in 15y. But then, it's sort of a specific thing.
You would need to know the opinion of people buying whole systems like laptops or custom-built desktops. Only such people are the potential target, and I recall some stories about laptops' sellers doing some wrong things. Fortunately, it's a margin.

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Re: RE: Re: RE: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby ecureilx » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:02 pm

Elington wrote:Yes prices can be published. There are items that you can push for a discount, if you bought them together. You don't shave of $50-100 on a $100 Router, it's just not possible. Basis of bargaining is just about reducing the 'commission' and bring the 'retail price' closer to the 'cost price'. While personally I do not know what are the cost prices of each items. As a bundle of goods, it's more a distributed reduction of 'commission', some consumers perceive it as getting discount on one item that they asked for. Most likely in the case they play the discount by the following example:
1. You bought items A, B, C and D. You feel that C is a little expensive.
2. You ask for a discount for C since you bought so many.
3. Hesitantly, after a few rounds of exchange, finally the sales person gives in and gives you discount on the said item. "One time only" "Just for you".
4. You feel good about it. Well basically they just reduced the excess off the bundle even if C is non-discountable.
.


Can you guide me which shops still resort to this commission based salary and hence adding price and pretend discounting ?

There are lot of shops who have the Star Retailer award, and those are majority.

I still don't know what you are on, with you insinuation of syndicates (read =gangsters=thugs) maybe you are a magnet for scammers.

No wonder, I know a few IT shops just refused customers who insinuated the stuff are old/recycled/demo units.

Just last week i had the privilege of hearing a customer insist a shop demo a new SSD drive since he'd been told there are scammers.

The frustrated shop guy printed out the Samsung contact center number and told the customer to verify if the serial number is valid and if not call the cops for sale of fake stuff. And no, the shop doesn't want that customer business.

There was no threat but that's the outcome of questioning a 15 year business' integrity.

Educating is one thing. Fear mongering quoting anonymous sources like "I worked there for six months ... " is called cari makan.

No comments.

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Re: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:13 pm

For somebody with No comments, you sure are commenting a lot.

My two words for both SLS & SLT are much the same. Caveat Emptor

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Re: RE: Re: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby ecureilx » Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:33 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:For somebody with No comments, you sure are commenting a lot.

My two words for both SLS & SLT are much the same. Caveat Emptor

The funny thing is, with few having an axe to grind against SLS, the enterprising scammers have moved to city hall, Lucky plaza and Toa Payoh and such Heart lands and doing roaring business having diversified into laptops, Tablets and such. And the trusting public are paying through their nose - and have no clue as it's not Sim Lim Square ....

Yeah, it should have been "no further comments ... " ;)

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Re: RE: Re: RE: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby x9200 » Sat, 29 Oct 2016 1:10 am

ecureilx wrote:No wonder, I know a few IT shops just refused customers who insinuated the stuff are old/recycled/demo units.

Just last week i had the privilege of hearing a customer insist a shop demo a new SSD drive since he'd been told there are scammers.

The frustrated shop guy printed out the Samsung contact center number and told the customer to verify if the serial number is valid and if not call the cops for sale of fake stuff. And no, the shop doesn't want that customer business.

There was no threat but that's the outcome of questioning a 15 year business' integrity.


Ecu, why he sent him over to Samsung? What SN has to do with it? It can be an older, but a brand new item. Most, if not all branded SSDs have the s.m.a.r.t capability, if it was a demo, the POH (Power_On_Hours) record would be high. I also don't think anybody records the SN of the disks sold, so it would always be possible to claim, this was not the disk sold by the shop.
You see, sometimes what you think is a convincing example may actually result in some extra questions.

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Re: RE: Re: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby x9200 » Sat, 29 Oct 2016 1:24 am

ecureilx wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:For somebody with No comments, you sure are commenting a lot.

My two words for both SLS & SLT are much the same. Caveat Emptor

The funny thing is, with few having an axe to grind against SLS, the enterprising scammers have moved to city hall, Lucky plaza and Toa Payoh and such Heart lands and doing roaring business having diversified into laptops, Tablets and such. And the trusting public are paying through their nose - and have no clue as it's not Sim Lim Square ....

Yeah, it should have been "no further comments ... " ;)

Lucky Plaza was always in my experience much worse than SLS. I was also attempted to be scammed a few time in Funan, the place with generally good opinion - interestingly, one time in a small shop being a sister shop of one of the 2 shops in SLS I considered reputable (I am talking about camera shops).

As I said, nothing to do specifically with SLS, but more with what you appear to be as a shopper. Predators are all over the island.

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Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby ecureilx » Sat, 29 Oct 2016 9:51 am

x9200 wrote:Ecu, why he sent him over to Samsung? What SN has to do with it? It can be an older, but a brand new item. Most, if not all branded SSDs have the s.m.a.r.t capability, if it was a demo, the POH (Power_On_Hours) record would be high. I also don't think anybody records the SN of the disks sold, so it would always be possible to claim, this was not the disk sold by the shop.


SSDs warranty activation requires submitting the serial #, from what I know. As is for few items that provide limited data recovery service like Samsung SSD.

And distributors do record the serial numbers in delivery Orders. I know that much.

Thinking aloud how do you handle a customer who insists you are selling fake stuff?

A customer who's been educated that Sim Lim shops sell fake stuff.

Tell him to go away - response : the shop is behaving like thugs.

Alternate ?

Maybe that's not for me to analyse ....

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Re: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby x9200 » Sat, 29 Oct 2016 10:23 am

If they wanted to con somebody, surely they would not register the SSD, makes completely no sense. It would be like proving by themselves to be guilty.
I believe the distributor's may record lots, but not individual drives. If you look for example at the standard hdd, they are all sealed in these anti-electrostatic shielding bags. There is no SN number on the bag and reading it from the drive cover would be possible but rather difficult. Even if for most of ssds SN is visible on the box, I don't think the number is recorded as a common practice.
(I hope you realise I am playing a bit the devil's advocate)

For such accusations I would give the contact info to CASE. Contacting the manufacturer would only make sense if there would be a claim the drive is a counterfeit.

If the accusation was made at the time of the sale, the seller could also hook up the drive and show the s.m.a.r.t data. For obvious reasons, this should not be done if the buyer already took the drive home and come back with it (unless the drive is still sealed, or the SN is recoded on the sell receipt and the sale happened within few days only).

BTW, why this customer thought it was a demo?

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Re: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby Elington » Sat, 29 Oct 2016 2:02 pm

Guys, I don't know where this discussion is going. It was supposed to be an informative post. Keypoints being telling Expats that intend to visit Sim Lim Square to be vigilant. Informative post seems to be what is lacking in this forums as I only see like what, less than 10 active posters. Newly nested expats would appreciate the help in identifying the good places to visit, the places to watch out right?

In my opinion. A new comer or as people may call 'fresh meat' at times, is like an attractive young girl with her first time visiting a club.

What you do when you visit a place as such is to beware of every stranger that approaches you, no? If you had the guest list before your first visit, and know which people to avoid and which people to hang out with, isn't that an added advantage?

That being said there may be points to improve upon the original post. Or do you guys think that this topic is rubbish?

Pointers I've seen:

- Mention of CASE, which could be another topic

- GST rebates for expats that may fly back once in awhile

- Syndicated shops (operates collectively while looking like separate entities)= to me is not thugs/gang, they appear as non-related shops, once an interested consumer leave a shop, the next shop is informed of such consumer, acts in accordance to either close the deal at shop B or force them back to shop A. I just visited last week and still see the same people around. I'll be named racist to have pointed them out.

- Serial number or Product warranty checks in Singapore

- Maybe it wasn't pointed out clear enough that Simlim does sell real stuff but you need to beware of what you are paying for it etc.

- Funan ITmall informative

- Lucky Plaza informative, I don't visit it often to write up. Seems like x9200 would be more familiar with that.

- Fresh entry to enter a place should only require you to do a couple of things:
1. Know where to get item A, trusted places etc
2. Know price of item A, so that you are paying for what you get
3. Know how to identify that item A is new

Some of the terms are too in-depth for average consumers that just want A because maybe a friend can settle the rest, but just isn't able to get item A for them.

- Mention of Star Retailers inside Sim Lim Square to be more reliable in business dealings

Update will be done once I get the time, thank you very much for your contributions, mods and immortals. (x9200, ecureilx, sundaymorningstaple)

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Re: RE: Re: Sim Lim Square - Good, bad and ugly - READ BEFORE VISITING

Postby ecureilx » Sat, 29 Oct 2016 9:36 pm

x9200 wrote:BTW, why this customer thought it was a demo?


This customer thought it's a fake item, branded as Samsung !!


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