A netizen has exposed a “legal scam” that apparently preys on illiterate elderly people and convinces them to purchase chairs costing S$26,000 to S$36,000. This company apparently markets the chairs as “medical devices” and “family heirlooms” that can cure diseases like stroke, diabetes, arthritis and even cancer.
Revealing that his grandmother fell victim to this scam and was so psychologically affected by the claims the company made, Facebook user Jeryl Ng exposed the network online. He recounted:
“I am usually calm and open minded but these businesses greatly affected my illiterate grandma and people around her. Do note that this is solely my opinion about how the business works.
“She was told by her neighborhood friends about this magical device that can potentially cure any diseases like stroke, diabetes, arthritis and even cancer. At first I didn’t think much as I thought it’s just a few hundred dollars product when she mentioned “electric chair (电椅)”. Until I learned that it was not $100, not $1000 but $26,000 SGD, for the most basic model.”
Convinced that this chair could be a family heirloom, Mr Ng’s grandmother wanted to purchase additional chairs for her relatives and planned to withdraw some money she had in the bank to make the purchase.
Concerned, Mr Ng asked her for more details about what the salespeople told her. It seems that his grandmother visited the company’s Bedok branch daily over a period of three months to have sessions on the chair.
She, and the other elderly and sick people who flock to the centre, were initially told that they can have these free sessions for as long as they like “forever”. Then in the first month, Mr Ng’s grandmother was told more about how the company sells the chair and she can get the medical benefits from the comfort of her own home.
Mr Ng recounted: “At this point of time they won’t talk about the price of the products, but just go round and round. Then they start talking about personal life story like expensive rental fees and the history of their boss who has good hearted intention, that’s why the visits are free.”
In the second month, Mr Ng’s grandmother was told that the company was closing the shop. She was then told that the chairs cost S$26,000 for the basic model and S$36,000 for the premium model.
Mr Ng said: “You might think that normal people would find it expensive, but they then start saying about pharma crap and that the government want people to spend money by making them waste on medicines and surgeries that doesn’t help. More medicines = more new illness they say.
“So what’s $26,000 now when so many people spent hundreds of thousands on cancer treatment that won’t eliminate problems completely? Now it suddenly becomes worth it, cause it’s $26k with complete cure versus $100k surgery without cure.”
The company then began to advise Mr Ng’s grandmother to reduce her medications, leading her to stop her scheduled knee cap surgery: “She kept repeating that the machine will cure her in time so there’s no need for any surgery, she said that her “friend” even stopped diabetes medicine for a few years on this machine.”
Then, in the third month, the company offered to sell a model to Mr Ng’s grandmother at a discounted price of S$17,000. When Mr Ng’s grandmother did not have enough money to make the full payment, the company apparently “asked her to just place downpayment, only $2,000 to save lives and lots of money.”
Mr Ng recounted that his family were angry when they heard about what his grandmother had been convinced to do and told her not to buy the chair. This, however, “caused her to be so frustrated that she asked if she could put it at my place temporarily, I said ok to make her feel better.”
Mr Ng’s aunt also got the company to refund the S$2,000 downpayment his grandmother had made but this caused more problems: “Now my grandma was very sad and started quarreling with my aunt, which eventually led her to calling my other aunts and my parents, and they all were in a mess just because of this machine, she even teared up multiple times saying that her children don’t understand her good intentions.
“My grandma does have history of depression and weak heart so she could get very emotional out of a sudden. Now she even said to me that she don’t have any face to go and do the therapy again.”
Curious to find out more about the shop’s tactics, Mr Ng offered to attend a session with her. At the shop, Mr Ng “saw surveillance cameras “and lots of posters saying no video/no sound recording.” There were also people moving around the store sharing their testimonies of how the chair cured their diseases and afflictions.
Mr Ng shared: “Once entered, we were forced to sit in the front as we were new comers, probably to direct the priority attention to us as well as check if we were filming and such. There were about 30 people seated at that point of time, and they would have a board saying how many regulars and how many newcomers were there. Seems like they intentionally wanted you to feel that they are popular.
“We sat down, the salesperson then came with a plastic file and asked me to touch it, when touched I would feel some vibration, when the machine was off the vibration stopped. This meant that there were some static coming out of the machine, although I did not understand what it had to do with healing lol.
“Once the salesperson started talking all the gibberish crap came out, he talked about breast cancer and that if wives get cancer it’s not the fault if their husbands went to find other girls, so it’s best to prevent it in the first place. Honestly this was one of the worse presentation that I had ever heard.”
While there was a small notice on the wall that said the machine is not meant to cure diseases, the sales staff told Mr Ng that the chair can cure all diseases including cancer. Mr Ng said: “During the session they would also keep repeating the “free” word, I think within one session the guy mentioned no less than 20 times.”
Back at home, Mr Ng finally convinced his grandmother about the dubious claims they had heard at the shop. He said: “After waking up from the brainwashing, she was a little angry of herself for causing harm to people around her.”
Urging others to be careful of such “scams”, Mr Ng said: “I hope people will start being concerned about their parents and ensure that they don’t get cheated of their life savings.”
Read his post in full here: