Scammers disguised as technicians from popular electronics stores in Vietnam have become a headache for store operators, as many of their customers have been duped into using false warranty and repair services.
When her refrigerator had problem with its light bulb, Le Thi Thanh called a number she found on www.suachuadienmayphankhang.com, which she believed to be the warranty center of the store where she purchased the product.
But a man, introducing himself as the person in charge of warranties, told her that Phan Khang electronics market’s warranty policy does not cover such an issue.
“We can only do the repairs and charge you a preferential rate,” the man said.
The ‘technician’ eventually replaced the bulb and charged Thanh VND200,000 (US$9.41), she told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“The website is well-designed with an address list of all the Phan Khang stores, and the technician also wore a shirt with the company’s logo on it when he came,” Thanh said.
But a Phan Khang representative, when contacted by Tuoi Tre, asserted that Thanh had received a fake company employee.
“Our real employees always wear a uniform with a name badge, and the company’s logo is placed everywhere, from their clothes to the toolbox,” the representative said, adding the repairmen are required to present papers verified by Phan Khang before doing any repairs.
“Moreover, our policy does cover a warranty for defective bulbs,” he added.
The fake Phan Khang website said the warranty center is located at 243 Hoang Van Thu in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, which is in fact where the Mekong Maternity Hospital sits.
Hong, a resident of District 8, almost fell victim to a similar scam when an employee from a fake warranty center came to fix her Sony TV at home.
“The man struggled with the TV for a while before telling me he had to take the device to the company for repairs,” Hong recalled.
“I didn’t believe him so I refused.”
The warranty center Hong contacted said it is located on C1 Street in Tan Binh District, but Tuoi Tre found the address belongs to an ordinary home.
A big headache
A spokesperson from Phan Khang said they have received many complaints from customers about the fake warranty employees, adding that the company only has one website, www.phankhang.vn, and any other sites with “phankhang” in the domain name are a scam.
“To deal with the problem, our sales employees always inform customers upon their purchase of our authentic warranty services,” Phan Khang director of marketing Tran Luu Dinh Phong said.
Electronics supermarket chain Nguyen Kim has also repeatedly released warnings over scammers who disguise as company employees to sell electronics products at exorbitant prices.
Bui Tan Cuong, director of sales with electronics supermarket chain Thien Hoa, said the company is working with authorities to identify scammers who fake the company’s brand name.
“They not only set up fake websites with domain names including the world “thienhoa” but also run ads on newspapers,” Cuong said.