Beware of Rockfire store in Virramall, Greenhills
July 20, 2009
Better be safe than sorry, as they say. I’m posting here the horror story of Nikki Mendoza, a friend of my co-forumer in HGPinoy. S/he was allegedly scammed by Rockfire, a gadget store located at the 3rd floor of Virramall in Greenhills. Worse, s/he was allegedly assaulted by the wife of the store owner.
STAY AWAY FROM ROCKFIRE — or, how I got assaulted
July 19 at 4:52pm
I bought a Sony Playstation 3 on June 5, 2009 from a store in Greenhills called Rockfire. It’s a store (not a stall lang) on the third floor of V-mall. I was given a receipt and told that there was a one-year service warranty and a one-week replacement period. Before we left, the people at the store asked us if we had a game so we could test it. Obviously we didn’t, because we hadn’t even bought the PS3 yet. The salespeople explained that they did have games, but that they couldn’t use them to test the PS3 because if they opened the game, they wouldn’t be able to sell it as new. So all they did was turn the PS3 on and I left, mistakenly thinking I could trust them.
Because I had to find an adaptor for the PS3 and because I left and went to Singapore, I didn’t get to test the PS3 until just this last weekend (July 11). Even though I hadn’t used the PS3 AT ALL, neither of the two original games that I bought would work on the PS3. Andrea and I went back to Rockfire in Greenhills on Monday (July 13) and asked for them to repair/replace it. Today, July 17, I called Rockfire again and was told that their technician had found that the lens on the PS3 had been broken and needed to be replaced. Apparently the most common cause of that particular problem was using pirated games or DVDs or Blu-Ray discs in the PS3… none of which I’d done since I literally had not touched it since I bought it. Despite my protests, they said they would have to charge me PhP3,000 to replace the lens.
I thought it was unfair, so I dragged my friend to Greenhills today so we could talk to them. I already had a feeling they wouldn’t budge (since I’d already had quite a heated conversation with the owner of the store, Nixon Alba) so I told Gayle that if they didn’t agree to replace/repair the PS3 for free, then I would just get the PS3 and have it fixed in Sony, Australia. Gayle and I went into the store and spoke with the owner’s wife, since the owner wasn’t present. As I expected, she refused (and quite rudely too) to entertain our complaints. I gave up and asked to get my PS3, even though it hadn’t been repaired. She said it was with their supplier. At this point my gut was screaming at me that this was a scam and I’d just been duped, so I asked for her name and her husband’s name.
For some reason, she refused to tell me their names. I explained that I just wanted to get their names because I was leaving my PS3 with them, but she still wouldn’t comply with my request. I took out my phone and took her picture– just in case something happened, I wanted to at least remember her face (since I didn’t know her name). I was still looking at my phone when two hands reached over and tried to grab it from my hands. The owner’s wife had reached across the counter and started to grab at whatever she could get her hands on. She pulled my wrist, hit my arms, tried to wrench the phone from my grasp, scratched my skin with her nails, and tried to PHYSICALLY overpower me.
As you can imagine, I was in total shock. Gayle immediately rushed to my side and pulled me away from the crazy woman’s grasp. In the process, the woman slapped Gayle on the arm. We both looked at each other in sheer shock. What had just happened?
From the woman’s constant screams it became clear she wanted me to delete the picture of her because she hadn’t given her consent. I couldn’t believe my ears. “Bakit hindi mo na lang sinabi iyon?” I asked her. “Kailangan mo pa ba akong sugurin dahil lang kinunan kita ng picture?!” She totally went off her rocker, demanding that I delete the picture, calling for guards to come, insulting both Gayle and me (as well as our parents). She called her husband on the phone, who started yelling at me and threatening to have my mobile phone confiscated. I tried to explain myself, but neither of them would listen to me.
When the guards came, one of them listened to me. I explained that in the struggle, the picture had actually already been deleted. I don’t know how it happened exactly; I just know that I checked my phone after she had stopped attacking me (mainly to make sure it hadn’t been broken) and the picture wasn’t there anymore. It must have gotten deleted somehow in the tangle of arms and hands. At this, the woman shrieked that she wanted me to show the guard that I didn’t have the picture anymore. Frustrated and MORE than furious, I took out my phone intending to show the guard. Immediately the woman lunged for me as violently as before, hitting me in her haste to get to my phone. The guard saw everything and pulled her away. Despite my fury, I showed the guard that I really did not have ANY picture of her in my gallery. The woman started yelling that I had “hidden” it “doon sa ibang memory” and that she would not let me or my friend leave until she had gone through all the pictures in my phone and confirmed that her picture was not there.
I snarkily told her that I would NOT under ANY circumstances allow ANYONE to rifle through my personal files without a warrant, and that she was welcome to try. She then said that she would not release my PS3 until she was satisfied that the picture had been deleted. I couldn’t believe how utterly ridiculous this whole situation had become. I certainly did not hide the fact that I’d taken her picture. I hadn’t foreseen that she would react the way she did, and would have deleted the picture if she had calmly told me she didn’t consent to it being taken. Instead she lunged at me and attacked me– not hard enough to cause serious injury, but hard enough that I have a bruise on my right arm from her hitting me. And now that I’d told her the picture was gone (and it was!), she wouldn’t believe me!
I was trying to call my parents and my cousin, who is a lawyer, but she just kept following me around and screaming loudly enough that I couldn’t hear the other person on the line. She was saying very loudly to her customers that Gayle and I were without morals, that we had insulted her, that our parents hadn’t taught us any values… and who knows what else. Any time Gayle or I would venture NEAR the exit of the shop to get better reception or to get some quiet so we could call our friends, she would scream at the guards to stop us from leaving. Gayle and I both felt utterly humiliated and treated like we’d shoplifted something– when, in fact, it was SHE who was keeping my PS3 unlawfully.
She threated to bring me to the cops, to the precinct, and to the administration of Greenhills, to which I responded that I would be absolutely HAPPY to. Strangely she didn’t make the mistake of threatening me again after I called her bluff. But *I* wasn’t bluffing.
I went and filled out a complaint form. I explained that I just wanted my PS3 back at this point, even though it wasn’t fixed. Gayle and I felt that the woman was borderline psychotic and thus unpredictable, and we asked one of the guards to get the PS3 for us. He came back to say they wouldn’t release it to him despite the fact that we’d given him the receipt to claim it. Gayle and I were scared enough for our safety that we asked two guards to accompany us back to the shop. I got the PS3 and headed to the administrative office where I again explained my case. I was advised to go to the precinct if I felt that strongly about it. I was disappointed with the response, but I did feel strongly that I’d done nothing wrong and that this woman should be stopped, so we walked to the precinct and reported the incident with the cop there. Unfortunately the policeman was not of much help, either. He said that since I wasn’t seriously injured, the most we could do was file for vexation. But that wasn’t the point.
If I sued the woman and her husband, aside from the time it would take (and the fact that I probably won’t be here that long since I’ll be going back to Australia), what would that get me? A replacement PS3? Money in damages? I don’t want money. And the PS3 is a minor thing compared to what I feel was truly physical assault. To be honest, a PS3 is NOT worth the trauma I went through. Maybe you think I’m being overly dramatic, but I can tell you that I seriously feared for my safety. Her anger, the force with which she hit me, the disproportionate response to my taking her picture… it all made me believe she was capable of anything.
I’m more than a little disappointed that a citizen of the Philippines and a frequent and honest customer of Greenhills could be physically hurt and verbally assaulted as I was and not have ANY legal options. Nothing will be done to the woman who started this, only because she didn’t hurt me bad enough. Shouldn’t we draw the line at raising a hand to hit another person? Regardless of the disagreement we had over the PS3, I would have NEVER resorted to violence. I never even considered it, and was shocked when she crossed the line.
I want for Rockfire Inc. to be CLOSED and the owners known for what they are– scam artists at least (for, in my opinion, knowingly selling me a defective unit and then asking me to pay extra for a part that had conveniently broken) and truly VIOLENT people at worst. I want for people to know what happened and I want for people to stay away from ROCKFIRE in Greenhills. I’ve made this note public and viewable by EVERYONE, not just my friends, because I am horrified by today’s events and hope you will be too. Feel free to pass this link around.
I’m telling you guys because the story is so completely crazy that I know it sounds unbelievable. But this is coming from ME, and you all know me, and I can say that this is all true. So please, STAY AWAY from a store called ROCKFIRE in Greenhills owned by NIXON T. ALBA (and most especially his wife)– and tell your friends to do the same.