SINGAPORE - It seemed like a good deal.
Dental vouchers were being sold for a lower price on an online forum.
But a 25-year-old student who wanted to be known only as Andrew ended up being poorer for taking up the offer.
He was browsing the online forum Hardware Zone on Nov 5 when he came across the deal.
A user posted that she had dental scaling and polishing vouchers for sale.
That same day, Andrew contacted her to buy for $30 a $60 voucher for a maintenance package that included consultation, scaling and polishing. He did not ask for her name.
He transferred the money to the woman's bank account the next day.
Said Andrew: "I was told that her sister had won it in some competition somewhere."
He said his friends were also interested in the vouchers after he told them about it, so he ordered eight more for a further discounted price of $25 each as he was buying them in bulk.
He transferred the money to the seller's POSB savings account on Nov 8.
After receiving the nine vouchers by post on Nov 11, Andrew went to the Q & M Dental outlet at Centrepoint to redeem the service.
To his surprise, an employee there told him the voucher only entitled him to a discounted rate of $60 for a dental package that usually costs more than $100. It was not meant to be exchanged for dental services.
The staff member also told him he would get the same offer if he had a PAssion or Safra card, or if he used a DBS, OCBC, HSBC or Standard Chartered credit card to pay for the package.
Shocked, he immediately called the seller, but she told him that her advertisement had clearly stated there would be no refund on the purchases, he said.
Said Andrew: "She offered to trade coins and a Hewlett-Packard mouse with me, but she didn't want to pay me back (in cash)."
He last spoke to her on the phone on Jan 6, but he could not persuade her to refund him the money. Uncontactable
He said she could not be contacted since and he intends to lodge a police report.
Mr V Subramaniam, general counsel for Q & M Dental Group (Singapore), explained in an e-mail that the vouchers are intended to be exchanged for a fixed price service.
They are distributed to the group's patients and corporate clients and are not for sale. The terms and conditions of use are clearly stated on the vouchers.
Mr Subramaniam added: "We have not received any complaints to date. We would recommend that the relevant person lodge a police report."
When TNP called the seller's mobile phone, a woman answered. She denied selling dental vouchers and then hung up the phone.
The police advised the public to be cautious when dealing with unknown people over the Internet.
Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust, especially if you have not met him or her before, they advised.
This article was first published in The New Paper.