Posts Tagged ‘Jover Chew’

It ain’t over for Jover?

In News Reports on November 15, 2014 at 2:11 am

Has Jover Chew started anew?

Selling his stuff before his lease is due?

He’s still in hiding, is Jover Chew

Under the radar, this cuckoo flew 

A man named Ricky has picked up his slack

Running the shop amid much flak

Oh what teeth our laws doth lack

To deal with a man like Jover Chew

Go look at Mobile Air’s Facebook page. Yes, it has one. Whether it is Jover Chew’s real account or a spoof, I don’t know. But, man oh man, the people commenting on the page are really angry. Either Mr Chew is insane and waiting to be chewed up – or someone is being a Joker for Jover…

Besides that entertaining FB page, the news is that another company has taken over Mobile Air’s premises in Sim Lim, calling itself HJ Mobile. It has started selling. At least, it calls itself a company even though it is not registered with ACRA – which lawyers TNP spoke to say makes the owner eligible for up to a year’s jail and a maximum of $5,000. Yup, you can’t sell stuff without getting your company registered, Mr Ricky Lee.

And who is this Mr Lee? He’s 33 and used to work for Mr Chew. He later worked for four months in JW World, another Sim Lim shop, last year. He heard that Mr Chew was selling his business and got it at “below market price’’. How much, he wouldn’t say. He declares that Mr Chew is not linked to the business. Well, we wouldn’t know, as the company isn’t even registered. I wonder if Mr Lee is reading about how he can be jailed and fined – and whether he is doing business today. I wonder also whether ACRA will allow him to register the business or at least make it painful…Hey, ACRA, there’s about a year’s lease left on the outlet…Maybe you guys should hold out till then?

TNP has the best coverage of the resurrection of Mobile Air as HJ Mobile although it didn’t find out what HJ stands for…High Jinks? Hero Jover? Huge Joke? ItReporters saw the same people who manned Mobile Air at the shop. They said they were doing inventory work. I must say the salespeople are either foolhardily brave or shamelessly brazen. You would have thought they joined their ex-boss in hiding.

What’s clear is that Mobile Air’s antics have affected the first and second floor retailers in Sim Lim, with some of them moaning to ST that they don’t even see a single customer all day. Looks like even tourists know enough to stay away. Mr Lee said he would sell his products at a discount or export them to Vietnam and Thailand.

Maybe I am too unkind to Mr Lee. Maybe he really wants to make good, will rein in his staff and be an ethical businessman. Maybe he’s simply trying to help his ex-boss. (I am trying very hard to keep a straight face).

What does CASE say to all this? While Mobile Air is “live’’, it can be served an injunction that will stop it from unfair practices. It’s a wonder that Mr Chew hasn’t started winding down his company yet. It doesn’t take long. Then CASE’s Seah Seng Choon proceeds to lament that this is the “challenge’’ it faces with errant retailers who can simply wind up and re-start. It makes you ask: Shouldn’t CASE be lobbying for some changes on this front – or is this what the G is talking about when it refers to coming changes to punish errant retailers.

As for that impending injunction which surfaced after Mobile Air refused to sign that badly named Voluntary Compliance Act, it seems it will take a long time in coming, long enough for Mr Chew to do the needful to save his skin. There’s a bit more information on this “injunction’’ which was published in TODAY. It said 22 businesses have been served the VCAs over the last decade. Of these, 17 have complied (that is, we agree to be good ) but the remaining five had injunctions served successfully against them after they declined to sign. Isn’t it time for CASE to tell us a bit more about the five and how the injunction works? That would be useful consumer education.

By the way, CASE wants two retailers, Tele Infinity and Mobile Alliance,  in People’s Park to sign the VCA too. Seems the People’s Park people are even more gangsterish than those in Sim Lim, with 146 complaints against Sim Lim’s 103. I wonder what the two retailers have been up to? Making customers kneel for refunds or giving refunds in coins?

Oh! There’s something happening on the coin front. The G said it’s reviewing the legal tender laws which allow people to pay any sum in $1 coins. This means you can turn down coins if the sum exceeds a certain limit. It said so in ST Forum Page. Well, looks like at least that ONE thing can be fixed fast…

Chewing on the Jover Chew case

In News Reports on November 7, 2014 at 12:36 am

There was a man called Jover Chew
We hope his kind are far and few
Too many people did he screw
All they can do is rant and rue
The day they met Jover Chew

What did he do, this Jover Chew?
He made people pay more than their due
So why not sue this Jover Chew?
He cannot be found
He’s made no sound
Or he’ll be skewered, ’tis true

Apparently, there’s a whole new lingo for the unsuspecting people who get conned in Sim Lim Square. You’re an “ayam’’ if you got tricked into paying more, for example. (For the blur, “ayam’’ is chicken in Malay). That’s according to TNP, which reported a variety of ways in which unscrupulous retailers and their henchmen extract more than their due, like adding an extra zero to credit card bills, putting prices in code, placing a finger over dubious clauses, extracting an in-house warranty after the consumer has put his signature on a contract, not allowing refunds because the fine print in the contracts say so, and ominously announcing that the place is “monitored’’ by cameras.

I think that as a local, I would try to face down such rogue merchants. But I would be intimidated if I was a foreigner in a strange land and would probably “give in’’ to save any trouble. It seems that these rogues are on the lookout for tourists, especially those intending to leave the country soon. Then no time to complain mah…

All I can say is that Mr Jover Chew comes across as a thug, so much so that even his wife has distanced herself from him, if you believe her. She runs a mobile shop too and she’s now the owner of the infamous Mobile Air that Mr Chew runs. So quick change name liao! When he was interviewed by TNP, Jover Chew painted himself as a victim of sorts, suffering because of demanding and unreasonable customers. The gall!

So what did Mr Chew do to make himself such a pariah?

Besides the fact that his Sim Lim shop chalked up the most number of customer complaints – 25 – to Case between August and October, his claim to fame is paying an unhappy customer more than $1,000 in coins after the Small Claims court directed him to, and making a Vietnamese kneel and beg for a refund (while laughter was heard all round).

He is now a persona non grata and has been incommunicado since news of his shenanigans broke. In fact, besieged by netizens who CSI-ed him, he transferred his number to that of the TNP journalist, who received more than 200 calls on his line yesterday. He’s a real piece of work, he is.

Netizens are baying for his blood; MPs are asking for tougher laws; the Chinese have sent out an advisory warning its people about buying stuff from Sim Lim Square in Singapore. Sigh. And what is CASE up to? Or even the police? Seems their hands are tied because the thugs didn’t break any law; they just “assaulted our sensibilities’’ as Manpower minister Tan Chuan Jin said in a Facebook post.

You can take them to the Small Claims Tribunal, like the recipient of Mr Chew’s coins did. You can also sue under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, except they will simply close down, wind up and emerge under a different name. Then, they use friends and relatives as shadow directors of the company, while they run the show.

Seems there’s a Voluntary Compliance Scheme that CASE wants the shop to sign, so that it can take action if it breaches any undertaking. The key word is “voluntary’’ no? It’s not something that can be “served’’ on the shop yes? What’s the bet that Mr Chew will sign? In any case, only a grand total of EIGHT shops signed it between March 2004 and December 2013. Five have had injunctions taken out against it. Seems three others are still “okay’’. The CASE position is, what else? Caveat emptor…!

In the meantime, while the law looks on limply at Mr Chew, lawyers are saying that it can be used against the vigilantes who “exposed’’ and harassed the man and his wife. The new Protection From Harrassment Act isn’t in force yet, but such vigilantes can be hauled on charges of being a “public nuisance’’, it seems. After all, his wife has filed a police report which means that the police would be bound to investigate.

It would be ironic – and tragic – if it was Mr Jover Chew who ended up having the last laugh.