Good Samaritans club together to help iPhone rip-off victim

Singapore electronics store misleads customer over warranty. Internet users step in to help

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A man who was ripped off when trying to buy an iPhone 6 in a Singaporean store will now be reimbursed, thanks to the generosity of internet users.

Factory worker Pham Van Thoai had saved his £82-per-month salary for months and travelled to Singapore in order to buy the new iPhone 6 for his girlfriend.

He went to the Mobile Air shop in the Sim Lim Square shopping mall, where the phone was priced at £460. However, after handing over the money, Mr Pham was horrified to receive an extra demand for cash - a further £730 for a warranty.

"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.

But when Mr Pham explained that he couldn't afford the warranty, the shop refused to let him leave with the phone. Despite breaking down and begging for a refund, Mr Pham was only reimbursed £194 and left without the phone - to jeers and laughter from the staff.

Since then, however, video of Mr Pham's ordeal has gone viral. And, though the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, internet users have managed to raise the money to reimburse him in full - with quite a lot left over.

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"This is NOT 'ok', This is NOT right. We are NOT a nation of thieves and cheats," says Gabriel Kang, a Sinaporean tech worker who organised the whip-round.

"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!"

The campaign has exceeded all expectations, with more than $12,000 raised so far.

"With the extra money I would like to give Mr Pham and his girlfriend an all expenses paid holiday back to Singapore to enjoy the dream holiday that was stolen from them," says Mr Kang.

"There is also another incident at Sim Lim Square where an international student was scammed, I would also be diverting resources to help her."

Sim Lim Square is notorious for dodgy electronics deals - and Mobile Air is by no means a first-time offender, with 14 official complaints made about its practices in the last three months. Just last week, the store came under fire for reportedly giving a refund in coins.

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