Scam Alert: $100 For A “Free” Bag Of Common Household Items
Do You Have Elderly Parents Or Grandparents Who Frequent Markets And Supermarkets In The Heartlands?
Then you’re going to want to take note of this.
Back in 2017, there was a video that was circulated on social media involving a crowd of (largely) senior folks practically throwing wads of money at a salesperson for what appears to be an ‘out of this world’ promotion.
Source: Garren Neo Zhi Kai | Facebook
In return, he handed out pink goodie bags at random to the people in the crowd.
I mean, seriously bruv, how is he even able to keep track of who paid for what?!
The viral video was accompanied by this Facebook post which first highlighted this incident back in July 2017, and again in February 2018:
Just in case you wondering if this is fake news, this scam was so prevalent that even local newspaper Lianhe Wanbao covered it back in November 2017:
Anyways, you’re probably wondering, “Why is Seedly bringing this up now since it first happened two years ago?”
Well… It seems like 28Home is back.
And they’re currently being distributed by a Singapore-based company called Nexz Essential Pte Ltd.
The 28Home X Nexz Essential Pte Ltd Scam
A concerned member of the Seedly community shared that his grandmother was recently scammed by a couple of “unscrupulous salespeople who appeared in the heartlands for a while, sold their sh*t and then zao (Hokkien: ran away)” (sic).
Here’s their modus operandi:
1) Entice The Crowd With “Freebies”
First, these salespeople will set up their stall in front of a shop.
This is pretty much like the promotional demos for mops and knives that you would have seen before in the heartlands.
And these demonstrations are usually frequented by seniors or anyone who is curious or kaypoh enough.
In order to attract a crowd, the salespeople will start shouting that they’re giving out free gifts.
The stuff they’re giving out include ‘magic’ absorbent washcloths and ‘revolutionary’ crystal eyelid patches.
I don’t know how comfortable you’d be with using an eyelid patch of dubious origin.
Especially since the brand is called “Deck out Women” and the packaging is rife with grammatical and spelling errors.
Like bruv, that second sentence is what guys in NS are all familiar with: if you cannot convince, then… CONFUSE.
(Here’s what it says: “The one-way absorption rate of this product is higher than 98%, which means that the amount of nutrients and moisture it offers is 10 times more than that of ordinary facial masks.”)
Erm… so… ordinary facial masks have an absorption rate of 9.8%?
Says you and which laboratory sia…
Curious about this product’s ‘wrihkle smoothing’ (sic) properties, I decided to do a search online and found it for sale on Amazon.
The reviews were, however, not very encouraging…
Yeah… I don’t know about you, but I’m not taking my chances with these votes of confidence (read: sarcasm).
Oh, and by the way, the listed ingredients – for some reason – are exactly the same as this 24K Gold Collagen Breast Mask With Caviar which I found online by chance.
And here’s the ingredient list for the erm… breast mask with caviar.
I’m no medical expert, but shouldn’t the active ingredients for both masks be tailored for the respective body parts they are supposed to be applied to? #justsaying
2) Strike Up A Conversation With The Crowd
Once a crowd has gathered, the salespeople will hand out the free gifts, crack jokes and try to befriend their ‘targets’.
With particular attention paid to the middle-aged and elderly folks.
3) Sealing The Deal
When they have a sizeable crowd, the salespeople will then show them “free” goodie bags” like these:
Which they claim are limited in quantity and available only to select individuals.
And no, they DO NOT contain the latest Yeezys or Off-White collaboration.
If you’re ‘lucky’ enough to qualify, you only have to pay a nominal fee of your own choosing in order to bring home the ‘free’ goodie bag.
The ‘lucky few’ are then asked to open their wallets and take out whatever they have.
(If you’re wondering why the victim seems so complicit in this scenario, the Lianhe Wanbao article also reports that experts have not ruled out groupthink as a potential cause of this phenomenon.)
For those who aren’t carrying cash, the entrepreneurial scammers have a Nets machine on hand – which is honestly even more scary, because the amount of money they could potentially get away with is exponentially higher.
In the Seedly community member’s grandmother’s case, she forked out $150 and got this:
And just to assure you that they’re a ‘legit’ business, they’ve also kindly included a warranty card for your purchase:
This is also where the plot thickens…
The victim only received one warranty that guarantees something (it’s not clear if you’ll get a replacement or a refund) for a “period of 6 months from the date of registered purchase”.
So… is the warranty for the knife?
Or… is it for the shaver that is of “professinal design” (sic)?
Or perhaps the showerhead that was “Designed by Japan” (sic) with the slightly crushed box?
Isn’t it a common business practice for the customer to attach a receipt as proof of purchase?
But there was NO receipt issued in the first place to the victim… How convenient…
So how would 28Home or Nexz Essential Pte Ltd know for sure when is the exact date of registered purchase in order to effect the 6-month warranty?
Maybe the other side of the warranty card might shed some light…
For the benefit of those who can’t read Chinese, the characters handwritten in blue ink read, “Good for one month”.
So what happened to the “6 months” warranty as promised overleaf?
Also, I’m no notary, but I’m pretty sure that the use of correction fluid on a warranty card is NOT standard industry practice and would immediately render any submitted warranty void.
So… Is There Any Resolution To This Scam?
When the Seedly community member learnt of this scam over the weekend, he immediately called the Nexz Essential Pte Ltd number on the warranty card to request for a refund.
Despite insisting on getting it resolved immediately, the customer rep claimed that she could not process refunds until the accounts executive is back in office on a weekday and referred him to a sales rep instead.
The sales rep was a Malaysian lady (she explicitly identified herself as one, but why tho…) who was unable to advise him of how he can get his refund immediately and was only concerned about asking how much his grandmother paid for the products.
Refusing to disclose the amount and reaching an impasse, the sales rep abruptly hung up on him.
Infuriated, the community member called Nexz Essential Pte Ltd again and this time the customer rep pressed to find out how much his grandmother paid for the products again.
Sensing something amiss, he once again refused to disclose the amount paid and asked for a representative to call on the next immediate working day to process the refund instead.
When he finally received the call, he was informed that the refund will be $100 for the three items he described – which his grandmother received.
When he questioned why his grandmother was charged $150 for the three items, the customer rep insisted that their sales representatives only charge $100 for the three items and recommended for the community member to make a police report instead.
Conclusion: no refund was given.
So What Now?
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed here are SOLELY my own
It is unfortunate that the community member’s grandmother lost $150 to this scam.
Looking at the items, the free gifts, as well as the dodgy warranty, any rational person would immediately suspect that the cost price of these common household items is nowhere near $100.
And even if they (somehow) were, would you dare to use them? I mean, wouldn’t a respectable company at least hire a copywriter to ensure that the branding and information on all of its products are correct?
But what is really scary is the fact that these scammers now have a Nets machine to accept ‘payment’.
If a gullible elderly person can be manipulated into paying for a ‘free’ goodie bag, who’s to say that these scammers aren’t wiping out their bank balances with a few sneaky manoeuvres?
Also, considering that it is a recurring scam that was reported way back in 2017 and the fact that it is still happening today, it probably means that the Police can’t legally do anything about 28Home or its distributor Nexz Essential Pte Ltd.
As long as victims willingly hand over their money to these scammers, there’s little protection which the authorities can afford except education and prevention.
The only thing we can realistically do is to:
- Stay vigilant
- Educate our parents, grandparents, and any elderly folk who we interact regularly with about potential scams, and
- Hope for the best
With regard to this particular scam, their re-appearance means that they’re making their rounds again.
Thanks to a compilation by MustShareNews, here are some of the heartlands or locations which these scam artists are known to operate:
- Ang Mo Kio
- Boon Keng
- Bukit Panjang
- Chong Pang
- Ghim Moh
- Jurong East
- Jurong West
- Tanjong Pagar
- Teck Whye
- Toa Payoh
- Serangoon North
- Yew Tee
And here are their contact details so that you would know what to look out for:
Company name: 28Home
Distributor: Nexz Essential Pte Ltd
Address: Blk 1023, Yishun Industrial Park A, #02-05, Singapore 768762
Customer Service Tel: 6755-1791 or 6257-1074
Sales Rep Tel: 8778-1226
Email: [email protected]
If you ever spot their salespeople in the heartlands, the Anti-Scam Helpline is 1800-722-6688. Or you can also call the Police hotline at 1800 255 0000 to seek advice.
Spread the word and let your parents or grandparents know! Know of any other scams which we should alert the public about? Drop us an email at [email protected]!