You might not be able to haggle for goods in Singapore the way you can in Thailand or Vietnam. But Singaporeans are consummate bargain-hunters.
The world’s our oyster when we’re looking to pay less for our products. We’re not afraid to hop on a plane or navigate online shopping websites in Chinese if it means we get to save money.
But sometimes, we unknowingly end up with products we buy overseas that wind up being fake, such as the following.
The high prices of infant formula in Singapore have probably taken the birth rate down a notch or two.
That’s why many Singaporean parents head across the Causeway and buy their infant formula in Malaysia, where it costs a fraction of the price.
But you might want to think twice before doing that, given that fake infant formula has been found on sale in Johor Bahru.
To be precise, fake infant formula disguised as Enfagrow A+’s Enfalac A+ 1.8kg product has been seized.
Parents should be wary of the fact that buying formula milk in JB could save them money but jeopardise their kids’ health.
As a side note, there are also fake baby bottles floating out there in the market, especially those of established brands like Pigeon and Avent. Fake baby bottles look and feel like real ones, but may contain BPA.
Alcohol is extremely expensive in Singapore, which could explain the hordes of Singaporeans buying bottles of hard liquor at duty free whenever they land at the airport in Bangkok and Phuket.
Well, alcohol might be cheaper almost anywhere else, but in certain countries it can also be a fake product.
For instance, in China fake alcohol is rampant, and can even find its way into reputable bars and stores.
The health consequences of drinking fake alcohol can be grave, as you could literally be drinking a chemical concoction that was brewed in a filthy bathtub.
iPhones and other tech gadgets
Think that iPhone will cost a little less if you buy it from an overseas retailer? Think again.
Fake products in the tech industry are very common in many Southeast Asian and East Asian countries. For instance, at Bangkok’s MBK Center, the electronics floor is littered with fake Apple and Samsung iPhones, as well as iPods and Beats headphones and speakers.
Many of these fake products come in packaging and with tags that are designed to resemble the real thing.
They might look the same, but you can expect the quality to be a lot worse, and of course you can forget about trying to claim any sort of warranty even if a “warranty card” is presented to you.
Cosmetics and beauty products
Singaporeans love buying brand-name beauty products online, since many brands are cheaper in their country of origin.
But before you add those products to your shopping cart, be wary of the fact that many of the cosmetics sold online are actually fake.
Shockingly, some of these fakes were tested to have traces of mercury, lead, arsenic and even human urine and rat droppings.
These products are even sold on well-known websites, many based in the US. For instance, Strawberrynet, a beauty site, was found selling Murad products without the quality control hologram seal, which subsequently led to a lawsuit.
And while a fake Chanel bag will hurt only your pride and your wallet, using fake cosmetic products could affect your skin and your health.
Toys, like Lego blocks
Eyed a legit-looking lego set in an China toy store called Lepin and thought that that was just the Chinese name of Lego? You might also have been drawn in by the prices. What would typically cost USD$15 would be sold for only USD$3 a box.
Don’t be fooled. Lepin is a fake Lego manufacturing knock-off, made to look extremely similar to Lego. It’s sold all over China, and the prices are dirt cheap.
While the police in China has arrested the group behind Lepin, the products are still easily available on Taobao, so beware!
Have you ever accidentally bought fake products? Share your experiences in the comments!