Sunday, November 8, 2009

Buy blu-ray | ebay sg

Buying Blu-ray from ebay sg

Ebay_sg singapore

Buying Blu-ray, DVD discs from ebay sg

Beware of buying from ebay sellers (on sg or other ebay sites) who won't accept paypal payments. These are usually shady operators or even downright crooks. If they don't accept paypal payments, pay only COD (cash on delivery) if absolutely necessary [not bank transfers] as ebay will not provide buyer protection for such non-paypal transactions.

Usuallyblu-ray bluray disc singapore such illegal ebay transactions come with inducements such as attractive immediate discounts, or discounts for future deals etc. There are no guarantee that the blu-ray, dvd etc discs you get are not pirated or self-burnt discs, or even playable or actual movies at all.

If you deal with such ebay sellers in transactions other than via paypal, there is no way ebay (even ebay sg) can get refunds from these crooked ebay sellers for you. So buyers beware!

The other thing to look out for is to examine the past transactions of these sellers. What do buyers (not sellers) say about the seller. Are the feedback positive or negative. Are the transactions about blu-ray or dvd discs or unrelated items?

A good seller should have at least 100 good / positive reviews by ebay buyers to be on the safe side. Better still, they are ebay Power Sellers. These people / companies have a good reputation to protect and hence are less unlikely to default on their obligations. These ebay sellers also are more likely to take their warranty seriously such as refunds or exchanges on faulty or misrepresented items.

Also check to see if the buyers' comments / feedback are recent or were made sometime back and there are no recent comments. This could indicate a hijack or transferred account.

By reading all of the seller's reviews (particularly the neutral and negative feedback), we will have a good idea of how they operate and what kind of problems you are likely to face with them.

Another thing to scrutinize is whether the same used / pre-owned item has been sold in multiples of times. It may indicate a problem with that item.

As ebay often reminds buyers, it is an public auction site for buyers and sellers. It cannot guarantee the quality or quantity of the products sold via ebay. If payments is made via pay pal, it would be able to mediate and help you secure a refund. If there are no pay pal payments, you are on your own pal. Paypal is a subsidiary of ebay.

A very cheap price is usually indicative potential problems in the purchase. If you don't mind some minor (or maybe even major problems) with the bluray or dvd, then ok go ahead and bid for the ebay item.

Cheap is good, but getting the Good Stuff is even more important. This applies to blu-ray and other product / service purchase from ebay.

Here are some signs that your ebay purchase may encounter problems:

  1. product that is an unbelievable bargain or non-existent in the market
  2. item has yet to be released by the company (internationally)
  3. there is no original photo of the product. Image given is a stock photo or generic picture
  4. seller lacks a good track record or have a low transaction record
  5. seller offers free shipping which is obviously expensive due to weight and / or distance - relative to the total amount paid by you
  6. not shipped from the place registered by seller on ebay
  7. seller is located in country where law enforcement for commercial transactions are of low priority eg China, Romania etc
  8. inducement to make an "off ebay" purchase
  9. given a huge discount if you remit a wire / bank / money transfer directly to the seller. The excuse usually given is that this item is not eligible for paypal for whatsoever reason
  10. do not respond to bids won "automatically" or "by default"
  11. listings that last for only 1 or 2 days
  12. asked to send money to another person other than the one registered on ebay (this could be an indication of a hijacked ebay account)
  13. claims that the purchase is guaranteed by some unknown / new (non-existent) division of ebay which usually is not paypal
  14. the item is no longer available on ebay but offered to you directly via email or any other non-ebay site
  15. purchases which involve you contact the seller by email rather than clicking on the conventional ebay "Buy It Now" button
  16. feedback is in a language inconsistent with the seller's country
  17. there are no recent buyers' feedback or feedback is not related to the item being sold
  18. does not reply to your questions or takes a very long time to respond
  19. erratic ebay page load - 1-2 second delay or flickering indicate redirecting from a genuine listing to a fraudulent page
  20. your bids are rejected for whatsoever reason and you are given a "Second Chance" to rebid via an email. You are usually asked to click on a link that takes you to a fake ebay site.
  21. Never click on an emailed link which is supposed to take you to the ebay / paypal site. Always type in the site directly via your web browser or use the "Favourites" or "Bookmarks" tab you have created yourself.
  22. Bidder needs to be pre-approved or item is listed in a private auction
  23. Do not remit money to a seller labeled as "NLRU" - "No Longer a Registered User" by ebay.

© - Buying Blu-ray from ebay sg

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Photobooks | Singapore

Photobook Companies | Singapore

If you are not happy with your usual photo albums or photo slide shows on your PC or over the YouTube or Web Albums, you can have your photo memories printed into a book or magazine. But be warned, it will cost you an arm and a leg to do so.

Here is a comparison of the services of various photobook companies in Singapore offering you can opportunity to make a high class coffee table book for your digital memories. As these are early days, costs will probably go down as other companies come onstream. Costs can probably be cheaper if they can get one-run print shops in China and India to do the printing.

digibook singapore
$68.50 for 48 pages in A5 portrait format.
Need 4 working days by local post
Printed in Singapore

9mb software takes one minute to download
Can choose binding style (eg case bound, spiral or perfect)
Provides video tutorials on how to use their software

No option to select paper quality
200gsm Paper super stiff
No option to sort pictures according to chronological order
Difficult to upload large files (may have to burn CD and post it to them)
Pictures grainy even at A5 size
Binding poor - pages not properly glued to book spine, unable to fully open the book
All pictures have to be in portrait orientation
Does not provide prices upfront, making it difficult to determine its competitiveness

shutterfly singapore

$218.65 (inclusive of $29.77 for shipping) for 57 pages in a 12-inch square book.
Need 10 working days for international shipping
Printed overseas

Ability to group pictures according to your choice in one page with their layout story board tool
Allows standout pictures to take up a whole page
148gsm paper quality is good - smooth and nice to flip
Single photo in a page look best

With differing layout, book may come out looking cluttered like a scrapbook
Cannot adjust size of pictures within the page
Must place photos within the template layout
Long captions may not fit into the page

photobook singapore

Photobook Singapore
$112 for 40 pages in A4 horizontal format
Need 3 working days fpr delivery by DHL Express
Printed in Malaysia

Download of 85.6mb design software is quick on broadband
Filmstrip format for selection of photos
Easy to sort photos according to chronological order
Drag and drop features in book's template
Allows you to enhance your pictures, it original is not hi-res.
170gsm paper was smooth and glossy, nice to flip and defect-free
Single photo per page looks impressive
Overall, best value for money.

Difficult to auto-connect; takes 30 minutes for 104 mb upload.
Unable to print a label on the spine of the book
Captions look amateurish, does not match pictures

snapfish singapore

up to 9 photos per page

S$78.83 (inclusive of S$14.99 for shipping) for 50 pages in A4 horizontal format
Need 9 working days for international shipping
Printed overseas

Good selection of everyday and elegant fonts
Template auto-fill feature enables you to easily sort pictures
Final product looked sleek and pleasant.
135gsm paper and printing quality felt similar to Shutterfly though slightly more expensive.

Took 2 tries before being able to upload 500 pic folder for photobook.
Some inconsistencies at the spine area
Snapfish logo on the back cover and page cheapens the book value.

albumstories singapore

Coffee table book 8" x 11.5" from S$109.90 for a 20 page book
Printed in Singapore

They have a physical shop at Peninsula Plaza #01-09 so you can check out quality before ordering.
They offer a wide variety of book designs from slim soft cover magazine-like books to thick fine art coffee table books
You can save on shipping by picking up the book directly from their shop
They can design the book for you (at a fee) if you don't want to use their online template
No limit to the number of photos you can place per page

Looks more expensive than the others, but may be offsetted by better quality than the rest.

Price Comparison:

Digibook = na (no quote given before ordering)
Shutterfly = US$39.99 (8"x11" 20 page book, leather-bound hard cover)
PhotobookSingapore = S$98 (8"x11"40 pages only, debossed, not leather)
Snapfish = US$49.99 (12"x12" 20 page book, leather-bound hard cover)
AlbumStories = S$S$109.90 (8"x11.5" 20 page book, leather-bound hard cover)

Some of these photobooks companies do road shows eg Album Stories with Popular. You can get a good package deal at these special events.

Bank Negara Raids Walton (M)

Bank Negara Malaysia Raids Walton International Property Group (M) Sdn Bhd

Ref No: 03/09/04

Embargo: For immediate release

On 5 March 2009, Bank Negara Malaysia raided Walton International Property Group (M) Sdn Bhd under the Exchange Control Act (ECA) 1953. The raids were simultaneously conducted at the premises of the company in Kuala Lumpur (W. Persekutuan), Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) and Kuching ( Sarawak ) following complaints received from members of the public. Relevant documents of the company were seized for purpose of the investigation.

Members of the public are advised to be cautious of this type of land banking schemes promoted by the company. Any elements of deposit-taking activities and public offerings such as ‘interest schemes' or investment in real estates schemes (better known as ‘real estate investment trusts' - REITs) should be referred to the appropriate authorities such as Bank Negara Malaysia, Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia and Suruhanjaya Sekuriti. Members of the public are also advised to use lawful remittance channels when making payment or sending money overseas. A list of legitimate remittance channels can be referred at the Bank Negara Malaysia's website ( ) for either licensed banks or licensed non-bank remittance operators.

For further enquiries, members of the public can contact Bank Negara Malaysia at the following contact points:

Laman Informasi Nasihat dan Khidmat (BNMLINK)
(Walk-in Customer Service Centre)
Ground Floor, Block D
Jalan Dato' Onn
50480 Kuala Lumpur

BNMTELELINK (Customer Service Call Centre)
1-300-88-5465 or

Above press release is a full quote from Bank Negara via Bernama News Agency regarding its raid of Walton (M)'s offices in March 2009.

We understand from on 6 March 2009, that "documents were seized for the purposes of the investigation" under Exchange Control Act (ECA) 1953.

This raid operation DO NOT comes in as a surprise because other Land Banking like UK Land International (M) Sdn Bhd, Profitable Plots Sdn Bhd and Edgeworth Properties (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd was raided on 24 October 2008.

The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) raided the offices of the three companies on Oct 24 after months of surveillance and seized "relevant assets including ICT equipment and documents" to assist in its investigations.

"We decided to take action against these companies because of recent developments in Britain.

"One of these three companies’ parent company is facing winding-up action by the British authorities," said SSM deputy chief executive Rokiah Md Noor.

"We are concerned about the interests of their investors here, as well as investors who have put money into similar companies offering land banking schemes."

The above is a cautionary note to those who intend to invest in Walton or any landbanking scheme. Bank Negara won't simultaneously raid Walton 's Malaysian offices (Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching on 5 March 2009), if they don't have good reasons for doing so.

Also, you can't trust people in forums claiming to be very successful in landbanking investments. They could be landbanking sales people drumming up support for their business.

In any case, with the credit crisis in the USA and elsewhere, there is no reason for people to buy raw land (land between two big cities) from Walton or any other landbanks when you can get a great piece of US property in the city or suburb for as little as US$30,000 or less.

Then there are people who say that if a company has been around for a long time, it cannot be a scam. Go and tell that to investors of Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme. He set up his investment vehicle , Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in 1960 and fooled some of the smartest financial experts (hedge funds) in the US, Switzerland, Japan etc. Worst still, he did it right under the supervisory eyes and noses of the US SEC Regulators. The Sanford alleged ponzi scheme goes as far back as 2001.

Furthermore, even big and "solid" legit companies can fail, just like Lehman Bros., AIG, Wachovia, and Washington Mutual. Then, there was the fire sale vs bankruptcy situation with Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan (and problems within Citibank and Goldman Sachs) which caused investors to lose a big chunk of their invested funds.

So there is no such thing as a safe "sure thing" investment. Higher returns is always there to cover higher risk. So don't go crying to the government / regulators if something goes wrong. Even for regulated investments, the government is not going to cover your losses as those who invested in Lehman minibonds via DBS, UOB etc will tell you. Landbanking is not a regulated industry. So be warned.

This is what Walton promises you when you attend one of their presentations. What they don't tell you is that: "Past performance is no guarantee of future returns":

Related Article:

More About Walton Landbanking scheme

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Useful Tips What To Do at PC | IT Shows

Useful Tips on What To Do at PC | IT Shows

Here are some Useful Tips on What to Do / Not Do at PC / IT / Computer Shows. It will help you save time, money and energy when looking for that much needed PC / IT / Computer product:
  • Usually held at the onset of the (Singapore) school holidays (quarterly intervals by different exhibition organizers). So this has to be factored in when making your overseas vacation;
  • Expect visitor-packed aisles making walking and browsing very difficult at times. Do not take small children (and partners who are likely to be agitated by large crowds and loud noises) to these exhibitions. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing and be prepared for long hours standing / walking in poorly air-conditioned / ventilated exhibition halls due to over crowding;
  • buying strategy:
  1. Round 1 - (at home) Do your homework on product specs / prices etc.
  2. Round 2 - (at exhibition) take note of prices, specs and booth numbers.
  3. Round 3 - compare deals and make buying decision.
  4. Round 4 - (at home) unpack and test products. If it is not in good working condition, bring it back to the exhibitor for an exchange during exhibition hours
  5. Round 5 - (at exhibition) here we go again!;
  • If you are buying big items like TVs, printers, etc, make sure you buy them at the end of your visit as it is difficult to navigate them around unending and frantic crowds. Pack a good trolley in your car in case the exhibitor does not provide you with a free trolley or won't take home delivery orders for big items. If you are buying a fast moving item, ask the exhibitor to store your item for collection later, make sure you get a delivery/collection receipt;
  • Bargains can be had at these computer shows, if not in price, at least in terms of "extras" thrown in to sweeten the deals. So make sure you ask / bargain;
  • Gizmos fans will be able to test the products without the compulsion to buy immediately
  • Sales staff are usually knowledgeable, it not, ask the manager on duty;
  • Car parking is a problem and expect a long wait for taxis;
  • Come well prepared with a list of targeted products of interest to you. Do your research and narrow down your selections by checking technical features / prices online - especially for products which have newer models in the span of months like cameras etc. If you find something new which you are unfamiliar with, it is better to go home and do your research and come back at a later time to make a purchase. This ensures you don't get a product which don't meet with your requirements;
  • Listen in to knowledgeable visitors' questions / comments and seek their advice if necessary;
  • For technical products, be sure to double check out their technical literature and product manual to confirm the product's specifications / features before buying. Don't rely solely on sales staff hearsay;
  • Be sure to read and mark out the good deals of interest to you in the computer show's newspaper supplement (usually the 1st day of the exhibition in the Straits Times and Today) and make sure you bring it along if it has a special price coupon;
  • At certain hours there may be spot (cheap) sales, check out for these deals;
  • Excess stocks may be "auctioned" off at the last day of the show but don't count of the very good deals to be on this auction list;
  • If you didn't have the time to check out all the special offers, you can go to the shop of the exhibitor on the 2nd day after the computer exhibition closes to see if you can get the same deal as that at the PC / IT fair;
  • be wary when dealing with overseas companies which do have a local office especially newer companies. You may have problems with product exchanges / servicing / warranty;
  • make sure you can afford and really need these items, even if it is on hire purchase. There's a tendency to make impulse purchases at such PC Fairs - due to marketing hype and crowd buying frenzy. It is not uncommon to get a feeling of regret when the product is brought home and found to be not as useful as originally thought;
  • Questions to ask yourself before buying:
  1. in what way will this product better my life?
  2. how often will I be using this product?
  3. when will I be replacing this product with a newer one (eg when it is damaged beyond repair or when a newer, better model comes out?)
  4. will I be saving money if I buy this product now? Will it be cheaper in one year's time? Can I wait for one year?
  5. have I done my homework on this product? Is this the product that best meets my requirements for the next 2-3 years or even longer?
Happy bargain hunting at the exhibition!

For the list of PC / IT / Computer Shows in Singapore 2009, click on link below:

List of PC / It / Computer Shows in Singapore 2009

© - Useful Tips on What To Do at PC | IT Shows:

PC | IT Exhibitions | Singapore 2009

PC | IT Exhibitions | Singapore 2009

This is the list of PC, IT, Computer Exhibitions scheduled in Singapore in 2009:

IT Show 2009, Singapore

IT Show 2009

12 March to 15 March 2009, 12pm to 9pm
Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre Suntec Singapore (Suntec City)
IT Show takes up 300,000 sq ft with 800 exhibitors of Levels 1,2,3,4 & 6 of Suntec Singapore.
IT Show features a wide range of computer and consumer electronics and accessories, software and backup systems.

PC Show 2009, Singapore

PC Show, Digital Imaging, Game and Consumer Electronics 2009

11-14 June 2009, 12-9 pm
Levels 1, 3, 4 and 6 at Suntec Singapore (Suntec City) with 600 exhibitors with S$51.7 million sales generated during the PC Show.
PC Show Exhibitors features desktop computers, laptops, wireless network, printers, computer accessories, car GPS system etc

Comex Exhibition 2009, Singapore

Comex - It & Consumer Technology Exhibition

10-13 September 2009, 12-9pm
Suntec Singapore, Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6
Comex is SG's biggest I.T. exhibition with 820 leading manufacturers and suppliers.
Comex Exhibition Space: 345,000 sq ft of IT, Digital Entertainment, Mobile and Consumer Products

SITEX Expo 2009, Singapore


26-29 November 2009, 11 am - 9 pm
Singapore Expo, Halls 5 & 6
200 exhibitors in 226,042 sq ft (in 2008) floor space
SITEX Expo longest running IT fair - since 1988 is the launch pad for Singapore's best infocomm and consumer electronic products with S$45 million sales generated at SITEX Expo.

Hot New Products to look out for:

Digital pens
High capacity, high speed memory cards
Mirrorless Dslr with large sensors (Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, Pentax, Sigma) with HD Video capabilities
Next generation Smart phones
Compact cameras with GPS and good low light shooting capabilities

Related Article:

How to get the most of that PC / It Exhibition visit:

Useful Tips on What to Do at PC | IT Exhibitions:

© - PC | IT Exhibitions | Singapore 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Timeshare Companies Complaints

Timeshare Companies Complaints

Interval Resorts Network (IRN) has issued an important warning which all timeshare owners should take heed of. This advisory is found in the IRN website and read as follows:

[Quote] "Members Importance notice

It has come to our attention that certain companies/ parties (with some allegedly representing themselves to be agents of IRN, ATC or the Timeshare Association of Singapore) have been contacting members like yourself by way of telephone calls purporting to assist them with offers to rent, sell, terminate and/ or repurchase your membership for interested third parties.

The Management of IRN and Asian Travel Club (ATC) would like to WARN ALL members to refrain from entertaining such calls and against taking up such offers. We would also like to stress the following:

  1. IRN does NOT engage in any rental, resale/ repurchase of ATC memberships by itself or any other third party;
  2. IRN does NOT appoint any agents to act on it’s behalf in respect of such rental, resale/ repurchase of any memberships;
  3. IRN does NOT approve of any such rental, resale/ repurchase transactions;
  4. ALL members are urged to inform IRN accordingly if you have been contacted with sufficient details in order that the necessary reports may be lodged with the relevant authorities;
  5. IRN does NOT divulge personal particulars and details of your membership to any third party for any purpose whatsoever.

Some of these companies have also been known to contact members under fictitious company's name and have also even purported to offer Cash Back/Money Back guarantees.

The following are the names of some of the companies that our members have been contacted by way of telephone calls:

  1. Asialinx Asset Management Pte Ltd
  2. Worldex Pte Ltd
  3. Project Media Pte Ltd
  4. Max Mega Pte Ltd
  5. Supreme Motivation Tours Pte Ltd
  6. Lee & Chandran Pte Ltd
  7. Zealz Corp Pte Ltd

We urge you to contact us immediately at our special helpline at 68356481 or 68356486 between 10.00am – 9.00pm (Tues-Sat) if you have been contacted by any of these companies. We value you as our member and we will continue to strive to provide you with a positive and enriching experience for many years to come. " [Unquote]

Members of the public should be careful when dealing with the 7 companies and follow CASE advisory strictly. Just because IRN and ATC are complaining about Asialinx, Worldex, Project Media, MaxMega, Supreme Motivation Tours, Lee & Changran and Zealz Corp., it does not mean timeshare owners can throw caution to the wind when dealing with IRN and ATC too. In fact, after all the bad publicity about timeshares, I don't see why anyone would even consider buying any timeshare product when there is no regulation protecting buyers from unscrupulous timeshare companies. If you must buy, check with CASE, Timeshare Association (Singapore) as to whether the company you intend to deal with is reputable and not blacklisted company.

Read about press coverage on the complaints and CASE action on Singapore timeshare between 2001-2004 companies from the following link by the Timeshare Victim Support Group:

CASE | Timeshares

Advice from CASE regarding Timeshares

Here are some good advice by the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) on Timeshares

  1. Do not attend a timeshare presentation only for the gift; very often, there are so many restrictions, the free gift is seldom worth the time you spend. Go only if you are interested in a timeshare holiday.
  2. Buy only from a member of Timeshare Association (Singapore; they have promised that you may cancel the contract within 5 days if you decide that you have been misled or if you think the timeshare package is not something you really need or can afford.
  3. Pay only by cheque, and not by credit card; cheques can be stopped, but credit card payment cannot be cancelled.
  4. Do not buy a timeshare scheme for investment purposes; you often have difficulty in re-selling them.
  5. Do not buy timeshare solely for the right to travel to other resorts.
  6. There are sometimes tiresome conditions to fulfill before you are allowed to exchange your resort for another.
  7. Do not buy a timeshare out of pity for the salesperson having to talk to you for so many hours or for fear that he or she will lose his/her job. Remember that you are paying out a large sum of your hard-earned money.

CASE also advises owners not to resell your unwanted timeshares through timeshare resellers / brokers. You will not only end up paying exorbitant fees, but also after all that effort and expense, you will find that you will not be able to get your timeshares sold. If you need to sell your timeshare, contact the resort owner directly and see if they are willing to purchase your timeshare.

Friday, July 10, 2009

UAG | Wine Investment

UAG | Wine Investment

Straits Times, 7 July 2009 (page B4) reports another sad story of investments that should never have been. This time is about a wine "buy back" investment firm Universal Assets Group (UAG) which had its office at BTH Building in Defu Lane 10 sealed by the landlord after it had defaulted on its office rent by one and a half months. Their office used to be at Suntec City.

UAG Wine InvestmentUAG (established in 2005) offered wine trading and brokerage services, as well as a scheme whereby customers could buy fine wine (read: expensive wines, not the stuff we usually drink) and sell it back to the company a year later for a profit (said to be about 10-12% to be paid out in February or March this year). Some 1000 customers individually invested about $6,000 to $91,000 in UAG's new age Australian / French wine buy back scheme. One case of wine usually costs about $10,000 - unless business is really bad.

UAG was established in 2005 and used to have offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Australia. We understand that UAG gets wine brokers to do cold / hard selling and charges a 12% sales commission according to some sources.

At the UAG YouTube posting, their video was promising a 30% return on investment. At other ads like in the MRT trains, they were promising as much as 40% returns. Watch the UAG youtube video here. So much for a "peace of mind" investment.

As my rich old uncle always tells me: "If anything can go wrong with an investment, it will. So go through all the fine details over and over again. Don't take anyone's word or promises at face value. If they promise you high returns, be extra careful. There is no such thing as guaranteed returns or high returns without high risks. So do your homework and don't come asking me for money if your investments go bust".

Another YouTube video posted by UAG featuring Universal Assets Group CEO, Mr. Dominic Sim, on an exclusive interview with China CBN TV on fine wine investing.

It would seem that UAG over estimated the wine market potential which took a big hit due to the Credit Crisis late 2008. However, some buyers claim that they could not sell their wines at an auction market via their designated wine brokers even after one year. If there are no buyers in the open market, how can you make a profit?

In May, a group of investors filed a police report regarding overdue payments that were promised to them in writing. So far, they were paid a fraction of the amount due or none at all. 17 disgruntle customers also filed a complaint with CASE. Consumer Association of Singapore is trying to track down the directors of UAG to serve them a voluntary compliance agreement. The unhappy UAG clients intend to take a class action legal suit against UAG to recover their money. The Small Claims Tribunal will not take the case as it involves an investment product.

Our research shows that there are at least 5 other wine investment companies. Hopefully their wine does not go sour on them too. Irene Ang, local business woman and celebrity is said to be an early investor of wines here. In my mind, if you don't have a wine shop or drink wine by the barrels and have a huge wine cellar in your basement, you have no business investing in wine. If you don't have place to store your wines, UAG will charge you storage and insurance at $2.50 per bottle per year.

What is going on in Singapore? Are there insufficient legitimate investment vehicles for them to invest in? Investing in bottled wine? What next, bottled water which will make you fabulously rich when Singapore's water agreement with Malaysia expires in 2061? Hopefully these guys would get paid in wine. Drink up guys! That was your Plan B, isn't it?

Wine investing is an unregulated investment, so if there is a problem, you'll have to get a lawyer to sort out the problem. Don't expect CASE to bail you out. If the company goes bust, there's not much you can do. Even if they have assets after closing shop, it would only be enough to pay up a fraction of their financial commitments.

For those who think wine investment is still a good investment, consider this:

Risks of Wine Investment:

  1. Wine Spoilage due to poor temperature & environmental control at the warehouse
  2. Low Market Liquidity, i.e. you can't buy/sell at a time of your choosing
  3. Bankruptcy Risk - the Wine company/importer selling you the wines can go bust (if a couple of top 10 banks in the USA can go bust, so can any other company - BIG or small)
  4. High Holding Costs i.e. warehousing costs, insurance can easily come to 3-4% per year of the value of the investment. This means you'll have to sell the wines at considerably higher prices with each succeeding year to cover these costs
  5. Demand & Price Fluctuation - it can go down especially luxury (expensive) wines during bad times.

Like landbanking, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Just talk to those people who bought Layman Brothers minibombs. The chances of these people getting 50% of their money back (not counting the deduction of legal and other costs) are pretty slim.

I have an ostrich farm in Australia. Wanna buy?

Timeshare | MaxMega

MaxMega Timeshare Update

Straits Times, 2 July 2009 (page B4) reported that MaxMega vacated their Tras Street premises about 2 weeks ago leaving timeshare investors in a lurch.

As reported in my earlier article on MaxMega, a group of 33 unhappy buyers had complained to CASE that MaxMega had failed in their promise to recover their investments with other timeshare companies and provide additional payouts. This after the buyers had signed contracts and paid substantial fees upfront ranging from $5,000 to $40,000. They were later told that they could not recover their investments and were asked to fork out even more money for another timeshare resale product.

CASE served a voluntary compliance agreement two weeks ago to MaxMega directors, Yaacob Yusoff and Muhammad Yazid Samri. The agreement would have committed them to ending unfair practices, failing which CASE would file an injunction to stop MaxMega's operations. The directors had not replied by te deadline of 30 June. If there is no response from them, CASE will leave it to the police to investigate further.

Investors are awaiting the outcome of police investigations before taking legal action against the company.

This episode once again proves my contention that it is not worthwhile to make deals with these types of timeshare resellers.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Timeshares Resale | LGM | MaxMega

Timeshares Resale | LGM | MaxMega

The questionable timeshare resale deals related to LGM, Mexmega Group ( Colco Ventures ) was mentioned in Today Weekend Singapore issue, 16-17 May 2009 (page 4).

According to Today's report customers wanting, to avoid paying hefty maintenance fees, were promised timeshare contract termination. What they got instead was another "big hole in the pocket" contract (after coughing up absurd top up fees which promises to make the hapless timeshare owners' contract "valid" and eligible for "cashback").

In one case cited in the Today's article, a retiree Wong Liang Yong, 69, had spent close to $80,000 since 1996 when he bought two timeshare "investments" for $25,000. As he found the $1,000 maintenance fees costly to upkeep, he was agreeable to terminate his timeshares as LGM had promised him a "cashback" of around $25,000 within five years. The catch: pay LGM $10,000, which he did. Unfortunately, the deal was disallowed by MAS, according to sources.

Mr Wong went on to sign two more timeshare resale contracts. In February 2009, another timeshare firm, Maxmega Group promised him a cashback of $104,000 within 18 months, but he had to fork out $35,000 first, which he unfortunately did again.

Two weeks after signing the contracts, Maxmega told him that "they had problems with LGM as it had been suspended".

"They said Maxmega is an agent for Colco Ventures - a firm that has taken over all the timeshares all over the world, and it could not use LGM services. So it had to charge me some $200,000 liability for subscription fees," he said.

Mr Wong became upset when the company threatened to sue him if he did not pay. He then contacted other timeshare victims. On Friday, 8 May 2009, the 16 unhappy timeshare victims went to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), but only six filed complaints against Maxmega.

They are hoping Case can help them recover the money paid to Max-mega. Case will be sending a Voluntary Compliance Agreement to Maxmega and will investigate whether Maxmega has breached the Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act. If so, Case will file an injunction against Maxmega.

If this fails to get back their money, the timeshare victims might consider "legal action" against Maxmega.

Since 2008, Case has received a total of 27 complaints against timeshare companies totaling $791,000 in value.

In recent months, according to my scam-watch sources, there have been an increase in the number of calls for newer companies claiming that they've got "a limited number of very serious immediate" buyers for your unwanted timeshare contracts. Run a company check of these companies via Registry of Companies (ROC) to make sure they are not a $2 (or even a $50,000) company.

These timeshare resale companies claim that they have cheques issued by reputable banks ready for your to collect upon the sale. Such claims should be verified with the banks concerned.

They will claim that they are a member of OTE (Organisation for Timeshare in Europe). Beware, OTE no longer exists by this name and anyone claiming they are member of OTE may not know what they are talking about or are deliberately misleading you. The OTE has changed its name to Resort Development Organisation (RDO) recently.

Many of these companies know, that in a bad economy, people will be desperate to sell their burdensome timeshares. Use extreme prejudice when dealing with these people. Do not be desperate or greedy. Walk in to such resellers invitations with your eyes wide open and have a healthy dose of skepticism. Don't sign any deals on the spot. You have the right to have your proposed contract validated by a lawyer. Get details and check around, especially forums.

My lawyers say that if it is a honest-to-goodness deal, it won't be a one-sided secretive deal that will disappear the moment you walk out the door. If it is, then be prepared to walk out of a room with your cash locked up inside - the moment you walk out of the door. That is the practice with most of the timeshare resale companies in Singapore right now. Who are the good guys? I don't know. Nobody knows. Do you think you will get lucky this time? Or do you want an legally binding deal? Your call.

If you asked me, I will prefer to cut loss on my initial timeshare investment of say, $30,000 rather than keep doubling up my losses to who-knows-what amount. With $30,000, I can put food in my pantry for the next 60 years or so in today's dollars. Why re-invest junk investments?

Update July 2009: MaxMega Timeshare Seller

Timeshares Resale | LGM | MaxMega

Related Must Read Article For Your Financial Well-Being: Why Can't I Sell My Timeshares?

© - Timeshares Resale | LGM | MaxMega

Friday, March 20, 2009

Online DVD Rental Singapore

Online DVD Rental Singapore Compared

Hollywoodclicks started its Singapore online DVD rentals in 2004. Today, there are 2 more online major rental stores - Videohub and Homepal. Are these online DVD rental worth subscribing?

It depends. Their business model is very similar to the US Netflix, so they all have common advantages and disadvantages. To view it in perspective, we should also compare them to the brick and mortar stores we are familiar with.

As online renters usually offer time-based plans, we should find out what is the true cost per disc. To calculate cost, you must find out the unit cost per disc, not the absolute cost of the rental package. Let's take Hollywoodclick's $24.61 month's supply of DVD rentals using their 1-DVD-at-a-time plan. First, you need to calculate the "unproductive" days which is 8 weekend days and the public holidays in the month. Next you will have to add the shipment transit time which is 2 days for a postal round trip assuming you follow the strict drop-off routine (see next paragraph). The company will need another one day to process your rental. Using these parameters, we can calculate our actual cost. Assuming there are 30 days in a month, minus 8 weekends, minus an odd public holiday, you technically have 21 days left. 21 divided by 3 days turnaround, you'll have an average 7 DVDs per month. 7 divided by $24.61 is $3.51 per disc. Now this does not compare favorably with regular rental stores and certainly not a good deal as Gramophone's which charges $3 for a one-off rental. It will be cheaper if you use their time-based package at $30 per month which allows you to borrow an "unlimited" number of discs at 3 DVDs at any one time. Again, if you are tardy in returning the discs on time, the costs go up by default.

We assume that you will watch it on the day/night itself and return it by post within 24 hours but no later than 3pm the following day (i.e. if you receive the disc on Tuesday 4pm, you'll have to return it by 3pm on Wednesday to ensure that the postal people pick it up on their 3-4pm route).

In a Straits Times 29 October 2008 "Just click for blockbusters" it erroneously reported that a $41.73 per month plan gets a customer 3 discs a week which implied a cost of $3 per disc. This is wrong. It actually costs the customer $3.50 per disc assuming they return the discs within 4 days. If you hold onto the discs longer, your costs go up proportionately.

Of course, to be fair, when comparing costs between online and brick stores, we must factor the transport costs as well (MRT, Bus fares, petrol & parking for car owners) and time spent outside the home to make their dvd selection. This could easily amount to $2-5 dollars per trip.

I recently tested Homepal's service. This is what I got for a 3-DVD one month plan. Homepal made 9 dispatches of 3 DVDs (which averages a 3 days' turnaround time between dispatches) I returned the dvds within 24 hours before the post office working day pick up time of 3pm. Yes, it is not easy to make the plan cost productive for you!). This works out to 27 rentals within one month or $1.37 per disc ($36.95 divided by 27 rentals per month). They did not dispatch one old title I wanted. Most of the titles I took were catalog items and more than two-thirds are not my top picks. This is a slightly better performance than the service I got from Hollywoodclicks earlier.

No Late Fees
Don't be fooled by the marketing gimmick that you won't be penalized for returning the discs late. In a time-based plan, the clock is ticking, and time costs you big bucks. I am not saying that it is a scam, but this is the way the rental business works - you buy time to enjoy the viewing pleasure of the DVDs or Blu-rays. The more time you take, the more money you pay - in this case, the less DVDs you can rent.

There had been a lot of controversy in the US when the US Netflix subscribers took up a class action suit against the DVD rental company which "quietly throttled" heavy users. "Throttling" refers to the company deliberately delaying the mailing of discs to users whom it deemed to have returned the discs too quickly. The company paid out millions in the 2006 settlement.

This happened to me with one of these local online renters. When it happened the second time, I called the person in charge to complain. He denied that the company practices throttling. After that, the service resumed at a satisfactory pace. So if the company does not turn around the discs within 3-4 working days, you should call up the company for an explanation. They can't blame it on the post office as the PO is very efficient with its automated central sorting system. You can expect the postman to deliver your package by the following day ie less than 24 hours.

In summary, it is not cheaper to rent from online stores. So let's examine their other advantages. This assumption is bias in favor of heavy renters where every rental adds up to a considerable amount.

Convenience and Hassle Free:
Discs are delivered at your doorstep. Yes, that is a plus point. But you will still have to drop off the discs to a post box. So this is a half-step convenience akin to you calling the DVD rental company to deliver the discs to you, but you still have to personally return the discs at their shop. So I'll rate this as a half-convenience.

However, for people who are very busy, live in outlying places, don't have their own private transport, and don't like to go out much, this may be a compelling selling point.

Titles: Range, Availability, Quality, Uniqueness & Frequency of New Releases:
This is debatable. Some brick stores have a bigger collection. The more important criteria is availability. My own experience is that it is harder to get hot (and of course new) titles from online stores. For brick stores, there is more transparency. You can actually see the titles that are available on the shelves. You can't do this with online stores. Unless they have a system to let subscribers see their queue number for the title, your guess is as good as mine as to when you will receive the discs requested. Next, the quality and frequency of new titles added. While online renters do have unique titles, these titles are not numerous enough to keep subscribers on a month to month basis.

My other pet peeve is the transparency of the titles offered by on line rental stores. Homepal allows you to view almost their whole catalog before signing up. The same cannot be said about Hollywoodclicks. This definitely deters serious renters like me from buying rental packages from them. How do they expect us to make a decision to re-subscribe when we don't know what titles are available from them? After all, the availability of product is the key to us buying their services. This is not lottery, lor.

Generally the staff is friendlier at Hollywoodclicks than Homepal; though in terms of disc turnround Homepal scores marginally better and their catalog titles seems better. The Homepal polystyrene packaging is more sturdy and less likely to result in breakages compared to Hollywoodclicks' thin ply cardboard sleeve. I once received a cracked DVD from Hollywoodclicks which I promptly return and luckily they did not charge me for it.

Final Assessment: Are Online DVD Rentals in Singapore Worthwhile?
At the bottom line, what counts is whether they have titles you want and can't get elsewhere. Here is a simply way to evaluate if it is worthwhile to sign up with a brick or online store monthly plan. Count the number of titles you must (high priority) borrow (excluding the new / hot titles which may be difficult to get even within a one month period) and divide it with the total package cost. If it is costs you $3 and below, go for it as this it. Whatever extra titles you get is a bonus which help will reduce the cost of your rental - assuming you want to borrow as many titles with your monthly rental plan.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not discouraging the usage of online DVD rentals. However, when we buy a service, we should expect a minimum standard, otherwise we should look for alternatives. In these uncertain times, it is not advisable to tie big sums of money or sign up for big rental plans in case the company goes belly up. Do that when the economy is healthy and expanding.

Advice to Heavy Renters
Don't sign up for the monthly plan continuously with one store. It will be taxing on your time and won't give you value for money as there won't be enough good titles for you to rent. Instead, sign up with a company that offers the traditional "no expiry plan" which enables you to use up the rental credits / coupons at a leisurely pace rather than on a monthly basis.

Criteria to Sign Up for A Monthly Plan
You sign up for a monthly plan when there are at least 10 titles you can almost definitely borrow within a month. (see "Final Assessment: Are Online DVD Rentals in Singapore Worthwhile?" above). Usually you will get good value for money if you sign up for their monthly plan once or twice per year. If you are a serious movie lover, you will sign up with different stores once a year - as and when they meet your monthly sign-up criteria.

Below are a comparison of services offered by the significant online DVD rental companies in Singapore:

DVD Blu-ray online rental companies singapore - Hollywoodclicks

Membership: Simple
Cost are reasonable, depending on the titles you are targeting for.
1-DVD-at-a-time $24.61
3-DVDs-at-a-time $41.73
5-DVDs-at-a-time 69.55
8-DVDs-at-a-time $104.86
Payment: Accepts Credit Cards
Sign-up is easy, Calls you to confirm your address before shipping
Free Trials: There is a two-week free trial per household
Free Shipping of Discs - dispatched Monday-Friday
Email notification of dispatch and receipt of DVDs
Packaging: Cardboard sleeve may result in damage of DVDs in transit.
Cancellation of rentals: At least 2 days before next renewal provided you return all the discs and cancel titles on your DVD Request List.
Phone Support: Friendly
Titles: Ultra-secretive about their titles. 12,000 DVDs (no Blu-Rays), several unique titles, only a limited number of titles can be viewed online before subscribing
Movie Information: Professional but basic
Pioneer in online business but not now the largest.

DVD Blu-ray online rental companies Singapore - HomePal

Membership: Complicated'
Cost are reasonable depending on the titles you are targeting for.
1-disc-at-a-time $22.95/month
3-disc-at-a-time $36.95/month
5-discs-at-a-time $53.95/month
Accepts Casual memberships @ $5 with refundable deposit of at least $50 per disc.
Payment: Accepts Credit Cards, WorldPay, GIRO and Cheques (which have to be cleared before the service begins)
Free Trials: None
Sign-up is easy, Calls you to confirm your address before shipping
Email notification of dispatch and receipt of DVDs
Free Shipping of Discs - dispatched Monday-Saturday
Packaging: Sturdy polystyrene sleeve less likely to result in damage of DVDs in transit.
Cancellation of rentals: At least 2 days before next renewal provided you return all the discs and cancel titles on your DVD Request List.
Phone Support: Not So Friendly
Titles: Secretive. Does not state how many DVDs (no Blu-Rays) they have for rental (claim to be 10,000), several unique titles, can view most titles online before subscribing.
Movie Information on Website: More info than Hollywoodclick though there are some typo errors. They have a search by alphabetical listing which enables you to find out what they have quickly. Searching by genres is a waste of time as it frequently features the same title over many of the genres.

DVD Blu-ray online rental companies Singapore - VideoHub
Membership: Extremely Complicated.
Have not figured the cost yet, probably slightly more expensive than the two companies above. Will check them out when they meet my rental criteria.
$15.90 for 18 points and $75.90 for unlimited points. Different points are deducted for different types of discs (VCDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs). Very difficult to calculate unit costs, probably around $4 per DVD.
Accepts Casual memberships @ $5 with refundable deposit of at least $50 per disc.
Payment: Accepts Credit Cards, PayPal, Cheque, Bank Transfer, ATM. Need to pay a refundable deposit if you pay other than Credit Cards. Free Trials: 2 Week Free Trial, automatically signs you up to paid plan if you do not cancel after trial period has expired.
Sign-up is easy, Calls you to confirm your address before shipping
Email notification of dispatch and receipt of DVDs
Free Shipping of Discs - dispatched Monday-Saturday
Packaging: Sturdy polystyrene sleeve less likely to result in damage of DVDs in transit.
Cancellation of rentals: At least 2 days before next renewal provided you return all the discs and cancel titles on your DVD Request List.
Phone Support: Not Very Friendly
Titles: Secretive. Does not state how many DVDs, VCDs and Blu-Rays. They have for rental (claim to be 10,000), several unique mostly B titles, can view most titles online before subscribing.
Movie Information on Website: Good, but fancy Flash scripts resulting in slow loading of pages
Their cramped brick store is Starlight Video at AMK.

DVD Blu-ray online rental companies Singapore - Video EZY
About $1 more than your average rental store.
Not a full online store. You browse their website, call 6440 9331 and they will deliver the discs to your home by motorcycle much like a pizza delivery.
New Release Rental - $6.50/disc
Catalogue Rental - $5.50/disc
Delivery Charge - $2.50 each way for delivery and collection (However, if you rent additional movies when your titles are due for collection, we will waive the collection charge).
Extension Fee – All titles that are returned late are subject to a charge of $1 per title per day.
The first call is at 12pm and the last call is at 7pm
Advance order can be made no earlier than 24 hours prior to delivery
Ezy delivery is only applicable to DVDs (no deliveries for Blu-ray discs, you have to pick them up directly from their stores).
Pay the video delivery man by cash only. Means you will need someone at home to receive and pay the Video EZY deliveryman.

DVD Blu-ray online rental companies Singapore - 7 Frames


About $1 more than your average rental store.
DVD Rental Charges (no membership plans):
$5 for new titles and $4 for catalog for 2 day rental. Late returns is $1 per day per disc.
7 frames is not a full online DVD renting store, only small brick store in Upper East Coast Road. You visit their site and call their store at 68418416 or 64499809. They will deliver the discs by van 3 hours after the order had been placed. Pay the deliveryman by cash only. It means you will need someone at home to receive and pay the 7 frames deliveryman. Video Delivery /Collection start from 6pm
First call for orders start at 12pm and last call is at 8pm, everyday.
Titles: Limited, no Blu-rays
Website Info: Nice site but turn off the irritating background music.

Rental packages are subject to change. Please check the company's website before commiting to the service.

Well there you have it. If you know of other online stores in Singapore renting DVD / Blu-ray, please let me know via the Comments box below.

Till then, enjoy your DVD, Blu-ray movies etc.

Related Article: Best DVD Video Rental Companies in Singapore

© - Online DVD Rental Singapore Compared

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lighting Strikes Merlion

Lighting Strikes the Merlion - Good or Bad Omen?

On 28 February 2009, Lighting Struck the Merlion and created two big holes in the head of Singapore's most famous icon which required extensive repairs.

Is the lighting strike on the Merlion a bad omen for Singapore?

Is it as significant as the 9/11 when terrorist driven planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the WTC? Was the bad karma of 9/11 responsible the Sub-Prime Crisis which has led to the demise of many big well known Wall Street companies in 2009 and possibly creating the Greatest Depression the USA has ever witness in the past 100 years? Was it responsible for US citizens electing a politician as unqualified as Barack Obama? A Hope Dope we can't believe in? Every day we are subjected to Obama's annoying blame game whinny criticism of others when we know that he is the Commander-in-Chief in charge of everything that goes on in the USA and the world at large. At least George W. Bush does not make excuses when things go wrong. And let's not blame everything on poor ol' W. The US financial deregulation process had been going on from the Reagan years and accelerated during the Democratic Clinton watch.

 Lighting Strikes the Merlion - Good or Bad Omen?Now, back to Singapore. Is the damage on the Merlion a bad omen for Singapore? Well, the Merlion statute prominently stands watch over Singapore's Shenton Way financial district, just as the WTC is strategically located a the sea front near the Wall Street.

What does feng shui experts have to say about the lighting strike on the Merlion - the first significant reported incident in its 36 year history. Here are some polite assessments by our feng shui experts:

Master Clarice Georgia V Chan: "warn that “Deliverance” must be accompanied by change of mindset and attitude along with correct actions before new and better way of living can be achieved."

Geomancer John Lok of is positive: "As the Merlion was hit by light on its head, it could signify that Singaporeans will be able to see more clearly, as this is a wake-up call to all Singaporeans."

Master Lim Koon Hian of San Yen Geomancy Centre, agreed: "the event signified that Singaporeans would experience a wake-up call, and a greater understanding of events around them."

Fengshui master Gwee Kim Woon of Fulu Geomancy Centre: 'This could mean that it has averted a more serious disaster. Judging from the Merlion's position, it is possible that the lightning strike could bring about a release of good fortune in Singapore. The lightning strike could be interpreted as the 'ignition' of wealth and luck for Singapore."

Fengshui master Lee Yuhon: "The event marked the arrival of 'negative forces' from the south of Singapore. It was caused by negative forces which had accumulated in the area. The lightning strike could mean that something bad may happen in the southern part of Singapore."

Master David Tong of CMG Consulting: 'The Merlion is an icon of Singapore, and an icon getting struck by lightning is not a good thing. In Chinese metaphysics, we learn that everything happens for a reason. It could be that the recession we are already in could get worse."

Local Singaporeans blame the creation of the Marina Barrage which turn the Marina Bay from a healthy marine water body into a stale water reservoir. This has brought bad feng shui over the financial district that for years have benefited from the unimpeded tidal waters from the South China Sea.

My own feng shui expert is not too happy with the development. A hit on the head is no laughing matter, he says. It tells us that something is gonna make our heads spin round and round. Certainly, it is not the spinning of the casino roulette wheels at the Sands Marina Integrated Resort (IR). So all you still free spending Singaporeans out there, tighten your belts and get ready for the bad times. Those under 40 who have not seen a really bad recession, this will be a head kicker.

Hopefully, it will also be an eye opener for our political leaders too. After all, the ruling party, the PAP's logo looks like a lighting going through a big hole. This puts them at greater risk of some kind of "strike" as the party sorts of represents the "head" of the merlion. If they do not heed to the grumblings on the ground, they are likely to get a big surprise on Election Day or some ugly international incident could cast them in bad light.

The recent vicious physical attack on MP Seng Han Thong and threats on GRC MP Denise Phua is indicative on the rapidly changing social mood in Singapore due to declining standards of living and poorer career opportunities.

Let's hope things do not come to a head.

Related Article:

The Merlion Legend

© - Lighting Strikes the Merlion - Good or Bad Omen?

Buy Used DVDs Singapore

Buy Used DVDs / Blu-Ray Discs in Singapore

Why are there no Used / Pre-Owned / Second-hand DVDs on Sale in Singapore?

The foremost answer as to why it is difficult to find shops / stores selling used / pre-owned / second-hand DVDs / Blu-Ray discs in Singapore - Government Regulation.

For entrepreneurs to start a business retailing used / pre-owned DVDs, they first need to apply for an annual film distribution license from the MDA (Media Development Authority). MDA's fees as quoted ad verbatim in their website are given below:

Why are there no Used / Pre-Owned / Second-hand DVDs on Sale in Singapore?Applicants of the Film (General) Distribution Licence can either apply for a one-year or a three-year license. The license fees are S$600 for a one-year licence and S$1,500 for a three-year license. A security deposit of S$20,000 by cheque or a bank guarantee will have to be furnished.

Applicants of the Film (Restricted) Distribution Licence can either apply for a one-year or a three-year license. The license fees are S$1,200 for a one-year licence and S$3,000 for a three-year license. A security deposit of S$30,000 by cheque or a bank guarantee will have to be furnished. Applicants must also comply with the following conditions for the sale and marketing of restricted (i.e. NC16 and M18) videos:
  1. Ensure compliance with the stipulated age requirements;
  2. Ensure that films rated NC16 and M18 and selected PG videos carry the appropriate consumer advice issued by the Board of Film Censors;
  3. Ensure that the display of publicity materials conform to the guidelines issued by the Board of Film Censors.
Obviously, such hefty fees will deter smaller outfits which have to contend with equally sky high shop retail rentals as well as other overheads like staffing etc.

In addition, such businesses cannot buy DVDs / Blu-Ray discs from customers directly if these DVDs / BluRay discs do not have the official MDA film rating stickers.

This smacks of bureaucratic overkill
and prevents entrepreneurs from tapping new markets and increasing employment and economic wealth for the country. Such a policy encourages piracy, and supports big film companies at the expense of consumers and potential small Sg businesses.

While the easing of film censorship have come a long way since the dark days of the pre-quasi-liberalized Board of Film Censors (BFC), Singapore has still a long way to go before SG residents are given the freedom of personal choice which will enable them to stretch their limited dollars among other things. Businesses are also limited in their options to offer services that will benefit consumers.

At the moment, second-hand DvDs, BluRay, etc are only offered in limited range in the following type of Singapore stores:

  • DVD rental stores which want to get rid of surplus ex-rental titles like Gramophone, Ezy Video
  • Second hand shops like Cash Converters who have licenses to deal with second hand goods
Probably the best way to buy used / pre-owned / second hand DVDs or BluRay is by checking online for individuals wishing to sell their collections. Buying from these people can be risky as you don't know if there is something wrong with the discs or that it is pirated /self-burnt.

Buying from ebay

You don't see many second hand DVDs or Blu-Rays on because of the government regulations on such trades.

Buying Blu-ray, dvd discs from ebay sg singapore. Click to Read more here.

Purchasing from Amazon etc

So if you want to buy used / pre-owned / second hand DVDs or Blu-Ray discs, you will have to ask an overseas friend to buy and mail it to you. I am told that Sg Customs may close an eye if you bring in PG rated discs from the likes of Amazon but don't count of being lucky all the time. If caught, you have to pay for the MDA licensing fees before you can take receipt of the discs. Otherwise, you will have to send the discs back or have it destroyed under Customs sg supervision.

Of course, you could buy budget Code 3 DVDs but do not expect the quality to be similar to those full priced Region 1 discs from the USA. These are precisely the reason why people go underground and do lots of illegal things like ripping, downloading or buying pirated discs from surround countries. You won't find pirated DVDs discs at Sim Lim Square nowadays but there are lots of opportunities to buy contraband items if you look hard enough. Contraband items that may support terrorist / criminal activities. Why are we helping crooks when we can be supporting legitimate businesses, big and small, in Singapore?

What a terrible waste of Singapore taxpayer resources.

Related Article: Best DVD Video Rental Companies in Singapore

© - Buy Used DVDs / Blu-Ray Discs in Singapore