The situation of Vietnamese tourist Mr Pham Van Thoai, 28, has exploded online, inciting many Singaporeans to come forward with donations — which now amounts to more than $10,000.
The Vietnamese tourist was on holiday with his girlfriend in Singapore and decided to buy the iPhone 6 for her at Mobile Air in Sim Lim Square.
He is reportedly a factory worker with a monthly income of $200 and took months to save up for the phone as his girlfriend’s birthday present. To his surprise, he was asked to fork out another $1,500 on top of the original $950 charged — for the one-year warranty package. He was told that he did not pay up, he could not leave with the phone.
He then tearfully begged for a refund but was not given one.
CASE officers were called in subsequently and the couple got back a refund of $400.
A crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo was set up on Nov 4 by Gabriel Kang, who aimed to raise US$1,000 to help Mr Pham buy an iPhone for his girlfriend.
In just 2 days, It has now reached a total of more than US$10,000.
With the excess money, Gabriel hopes to give an all-expenses paid dream trip back to Singapore for Mr Pham and his girlfriend — which had been ruined previously.
According to Shin Min Daily News, on Nov 5, a kind female manager known as Ms Liang, 38, has already given Mr Pham $550.
She hopes to remedy the situation, showing them that Singapore is not a terrible place.
Lianhe Zaobao reported that Mr Pham has accepted the $550 and has already bought the new phone for his girlfriend.
He expressed that he does not wish to accept any more help.
“I lost $550. So I will accept only $550 donated by kind people. Nothing more. I’m grateful for all your kindness but I do not want to take more than what I’ve lost,” he told the Chinese newspaper.
Mobile Air also made headlines recently for refunding a woman $1,010 in coins, which included one-cents and five-cents.
Locals have also tried to get justice by exposing the Sim Lim shop owner, Jover Chew, online.