Vietnamese Man Kneels and Begs For iPhone 6 Refund from Singaporean Store

I actually read this story from another site two days ago so it's really quite old -- but I've decided to share it here as well just as a cautionary tale since I know that some of you guys are thinking about getting the Apple iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus outside the country and I don't want any of you to ever have to experience this.

Vietnamese Man Kneels iPhone 6 Discount Singapore

Believing that Singapore is a good place to buy gadgets, Vietnamese factory worker Mr. Pham - who earns a measly $200 per month - decided to get his girlfriend an iPhone 6 as birthday present during their vacation in that country a week ago. He chose to make the purchase at Mobile Air, where he paid $950 outright to get the flagship device.

To his surprise, when he and his girlfriend were about to leave the store, the staff called them out and asked for an additional $1500 to cover for two-year warranty on the phone. He was told that it was stipulated in the document he signed and he wouldn't be able to take the device out of the store if he can't pay the total amount.

Upon hearing this, Mr. Pham - who didn't quite understand the full conditions of the purchase because of his poor English - immediately broke in tears, knelt, and begged to be given a refund on the Apple iPhone 6.

Everyone at the store, including on-lookers, simply laughed at him.

Vietnamese Man Kneels iPhone 6 Discount Singapore

"[I'm only a factory worker, earning about $200 a month, $950 is a few months' pay. It's a large sum for me, I'm really very sad. [...] When they asked me if I wanted one year or two years' warranty, I assumed that the one-year warranty was complimentary, so I said one year. He didn't say I have to pay]," he told local Chinese daily, Lianhe Zaobao, in an interview earlier this week.

Mobile Air eventually agreed to return $600 to him on the condition that they won't tell the police what happened inside the store -- something that Mr. Pham's girlfriend didn't agree to. Wanting to get all of her boyfriend's hard-earned money back, she called the police for assistance.

When police arrived, Mobile Air staff simply brushed off the complaints and said Mr Pham had signed an agreement with them, and offered to refund him just $70 (instead of the earlier $600 offer). Negotiations continued and following an intervention from the Consumers Association of Singapore, Mr. Pham and his girlfriend got a refund of only $400 out of the $950 he paid for the iPhone 6.

"I am going home in two days, and I don't want any trouble, so I decided to accept the partial refund," poor Mr. Pham - who was ripped off a total of $550 or Php 24,695 with current conversion in just a matter of minutes - said.

TP Thoughts

As consumers, there are two big lessons we can learn from Mr. Pham's heartbreaking story: First, before making a gadget purchase (big or small, regardless of where you intend to do it), we have to make sure that the store we are getting it from is trusted, honest, and reliable. Second, we need to understand and know exactly all the conditions that are part of the purchase; It's better to be deemed too inquisitive than to ask few questions and end up being ripped off.

Now, on the part of sellers, just be honest and know that people who choose to make a purchase from your store trust you completely so don't cheat them. Don't grow your business by ripping people off; Grow it by building trust and by focusing on implementing great practices to get loyal patrons.