Whatever you do, AVOID Sim Lim Square!

If there was a shopping mall where you could live out your nightmares, it would be this one in Singapore. The place is a disgrace!


You can’t come to Singapore and not do some shopping. A bit of retail therapy in the tropical climate is most tourists’ idea of a perfect vacation in the country, but while you can be guaranteed wonderful experiences in such places as Orchard Road or in other big malls across the island, one place is notorious for ripping people off: Sim Lim Square!

It is a large retail complex very close to Little India and Bugis, and is well-known to sell “cheap” electronics, such as phones, tablets, music systems, video game consoles, and the like. Many of the items on sale here are counterfeit, but even the genuine items are always a risk to purchase, as scams occur here on a daily basis – and they usually target the gullible tourists.


Sim Lim Square has been notorious for a long time, due to its shady business practices and untrustworthy businessmen. In this regard, the set up here is more akin to Bangkok or even Kuala Lumpur, rather than Singapore, but as yet the authorities in the Little Red Dot have not done anything major to clamp down on the traders who trade inside this notorious shopping mall. The owners of the mall have recently claimed that they will stamp down hard on any traders under its roof that are proven to have business malpractice, but they have said the same thing many times before, yet the problems are still apparent.

In the interests of fairness, it is obvious that not all retailers at Sim Lim Square are scammers and scumbags; in fact, there are many that earn a hard and honest living and try to go by the book. However, there are a surprising amount of notorious retailers here who have been blacklisted by the authorities, yet are still allowed to trade. This is something the owners of the mall MUST address!

Vietnamese tourist conned out of 3 months wages begs for his money back

One particular scam that has annoyed me immensely is the tale of a Vietnamese tourist (whose picture I used in this article’s cover photo) was conned out of 3 months wages while buying an iPhone 6 for his girlfriend. It seems he was offered a very cheap iPhone 6, and paid in cash, then was told he couldn’t have the phone unless he bought an expensive one-year warranty as well (which was twice the price of the phone!). The poor man began crying in front of his girlfriend, begging for a refund, but the traders were not going to give him a full refund. 3 months of the man’s hard-earned wages were flushed down the pan in an instant. Luckily, some good-natured Singaporeans helped to raise money in order to reimburse him, and now he has much more money than he started with due to the case going viral! I say good on him and congratulations, but at the time of the disgusting scam he was rightly feeling suicidal.

A pretty typical review of Sim Lim Square on TripAdvisor
A pretty typical review of Sim Lim Square on TripAdvisor

For a little list of 5 of the most heart-breaking scams involved at Sim Lim Square recently, take a look at this post from The Influencer Media. If you are unfortunate enough to be scammed at Sim Lim Square, then you may seek redress through the Sim Lim Square management (who certifies honest retailers through its Star Retailer program), CASE (Consumer Association of Singapore) or the Small Claims Court.

But the best thing to do is just steer well clear of this disgraceful shopping mall and head off to Orchard instead.

8 thoughts on “Whatever you do, AVOID Sim Lim Square!

    1. It’s totally real. In Vietnam, a working class person does not make much money, so buying an iPhone 6 in Singapore is a big deal. That’s months’ worth of salary. I am glad the guy was reimbursed by the online community though.


  1. I don’t know if it was because of your review, Lee or not, but in the Jan 2015 the authorities raided Sim Square and if, I am not mistaken prosecuted at least two dozen merchants [check with Straits Times].


    1. That’s great news, Chris! Hopefully less traders will be tempted to perform these corrupt ways now. 🙂 But I doubt it was because of my article 😉 I wish it was though!


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