Shopping is second to eating as a national pastime in Singapore. The island has an outstanding range of products that are available in shopping malls, department stores, boutiques, and bargain stores.
Avid shoppers would love the annual Great Singapore Sale, which usually falls between June to July. It has become a legendary annual event for both Singaporeans and visitors alike. Wide ranges of goods, including designer products, are marked down to present a mighty shopping extravaganza. The bargains are genuine and definitely value-for-money. Shoppers can also expect private events that are hosted by the distinguished Sotheby's, Christie's, Tresors, and Glerums & Bonhams for exclusive items, such as works of art and jewelry. Antique rugs and carpets can also be bought at a cheaper price during the Great Singapore Sale.
Most shopping centers and shops are open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. However, there are some shops who close at 10 p.m. Singapore is also one of the safest cities in the world, hence staying out late should pose no security problems if the usual precautions are taken.
A 3% Goods and Services Tax (GST) is levied on most goods and services. However, if more than S$300 was spent, visitors can apply for a refund of the GST paid. Receipts of S$100 or more can be pooled from shops displaying the Tax Free Shopping Sticker. Claims Forms can be obtained and completed at these shops. Upon departure of Singapore, visitors will present the Claims Form with the goods to customs for inspection. Those shops who were given back the Customs-stamped Claims Forms will mail the refund in a check made out in Singapore dollars. Refunds may also be made to credit cards. Some banks, however, may impose a surcharge for credit card refunds.
Some of the larger shops or department stores will exchange goods or possibly refund the price of goods if they are returned undamaged within a specified number of days from the purchase date with the receipt or cash slips. On the other hand, smaller shops may not be so accommodating. It is advisable to check the shop's return policy before making a purchase.
At the point of purchase, always insist on a sales receipt and clearly filled-out original warranty card, especially on items such as cameras and electrical goods where the manufacturer's international guarantee card should be available.
Most of the larger stores will ship purchases to the required destination. A written confirmation should be given to you. It is advisable to buy an All-Risk insurance, which can be arranged by the shops, to cover damage or loss in transit. Deliveries can be arranged with the Singapore Post or hotel concierges.