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150 People File Police Report Against Durian Shop, Form FB Support Group

The biggest victim? An unaffiliated durian store with an almost identical name. investigates.

The biggest victim? An unaffiliated durian store with an almost identical name. investigates.

The biggest victim? An unaffiliated durian store with an almost identical name. investigates.

In the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, online shops offering durian delivery have become a popular way of buying the king of fruits. While it’s convenient and perfect for those who prefer to safe distance, ordering durians online comes with risks. As you can’t check the durians on the spot, the chances of receiving duds are higher. And since you usually have to pay online before you receive your goods, getting a refund for a bad durian order becomes trickier. Sometimes, it may even escalate into a police case, like what happened with some customers of new local durian delivery website Durians Express Delivery, which was founded in June 2020.

1 of 17 An identity mix-up, innocent shop implicated

The controversial shop’s name is almost identical to another older durian shop. The latter is an entirely separate entity called Durian Express Delivery (without the plural ‘s’), which started operating earlier in December 2019. Both shops sell a variety of durians online, which are sent to customers in sealed boxes. But due to their similar website URLs and logos (see above pic), some customers who had intended to order from the relatively more established Durian Express Delivery ended up buying from the newcomer by mistake.

  • 2 of 17 Paid good money for rotten durians

    Now, the trouble starts when these customers receive what they say are “rotten” (see pic) and “frozen” durians from the newer shop (Durians Express Delivery). spoke to three affected victims, but we’ll get to that later. Some confused buyers, however, blasted the innocent biz (Durian Express Delivery) and complained to the older shop, whose reputation suffered due to the identity mix-up. Its boss, Reece Lee, 32, shares: “The customers spent quite a lot of money [at the new shop], but they got frozen, bad durians. Then they lose trust.”

    Being mistaken for the apparently inferior biz, a frustrated Reece says he had to deal with “10 to 20” complaints a day for bad durians he did not sell. He laments, “So you see, the image we have built up has been tarnished by [the new shop]. It wasn’t easy for us to start our business and get our customers’ trust. They have to trust us, since you can’t see online durians before they’re delivered. And this trust was being misused by other people.”

  • 3 of 17 How to ensure you’re buying from the legit shop

    According to Reece, the ‘Durian’ in his company’s name is without the letter ‘s’, while its lorry logo depicts a side view (see comparison diagram). His branding is also consistent, and goes by the same name on its website ( as well as Facebook and Instagram. Conversely, Durians Express Delivery runs three Facebook pages, calling itself Top Grade Durian, Top Grade Durian Singapore and Top Grade Durian SG.

    Still confused? Other than scrutinising the website’s URL (remember, the original has no ‘s’ in ‘durian’), also look out for the number of social media followers. At press time, the more established Durian Express Delivery has 4,407 Facebook followers and 2,536 Instagram followers. In comparison, the newer biz has a smaller fan base, with 45 FB followers on its Top Grade Durian Singapore page and 96 on IG.

  • 4 of 17 Spent time educating customers

    Besides social media updates, Reece also took time to painstakingly explain to the complainants that his company was innocent. “The initial part was difficult, and it caused a bit of frustration. At the end of the day, we want to let people know we’re the authentic one. So for the sake of customers, it’s still okay lah,” he says.

    Some folks he encountered were understanding. He recalls, “They were reasonable and realised [that we were not the offender]. But there were definitely customers who were unreasonable. They spent hundreds of dollars on durians, and the amount may mean a lot to some people. The moment you tell them it’s not you, they get very frustrated.”

  • 5 of 17 Ordered three boxes, but only received one

    One of the customers who had mistakenly contacted Reece was Rachel Wong* (not her real name, due to her request for anonymity). The 34-year-old civil servant had paid $144 for three 800g boxes of Red Prawn durians from Durians Express Delivery.

    But she only received one box despite ordering three. And instead of Red Prawn’s distinctively vivacious orange flesh, her durian (pictured) was pale yellow, and tasted “unripe”. She adds, “One [seed] was sour. My daughter spat it out. [Do they think] we haven’t eaten Red Prawn durians before? I thought they were Durian Express Delivery without the ‘s’. I wouldn’t [have deliberately] ordered from a non-established durian startup.”

  • 6 of 17 Complained to Durians Express Delivery and was ignored

    Rachel immediately lodged a complaint, albeit with Reece’s shop by mistake. “I thought they were the same, so I angrily texted them.” she recounts. After being set right, she turned to messaging the real offender’s Facebook page. Says Rachel: “There was no mobile number and email address. The company is fishy, ’cos after you order your durians [on the website], there’s no [emailed] receipt.” Ironically, the shop’s webpage contains a line that says “our happiness-focused customer service team are just a call away [sic]”, but had no contact number.

    Despite sending numerous FB messages, Rachel did not get any response. She started suspecting that she was blocked by the shop’s FB account when her subsequent chasers failed to get through (see pic above).

  • 7 of 17 Other customers got ghosted by Durians Express Delivery too

    Jason Tan (not his real name), 40, an analyst, spent $224 buying Black Thorn, Black Pearl and Old Tree Mao Shan Wang durians. But what he got was three boxes of “tasteless ice-crusted frozen durian lumps, some black at the corners, from indeterminate varieties”. In the photos he sent to, a thick layer of ice crystals could clearly be seen encrusting a durian seed.

    Like Rachel, Jason did not receive any confirmation for his order. “I saw a mobile number from the store on my credit card statement — which read ‘Top Grade Cheap Frozen’, by the way — and messaged it. No reply. I bombarded them with messages again two days later and got a short reply to say the order was confirmed. When the [bad] durians came, I was shocked and messaged them multiple times. Since then, no reply!” he shares.

  • 8 of 17 “Their 100% refund guarantee is not genuine”

    Other customers also received icy durians. F&B director Jovison Lim, 40, opened his three boxes of Mao Shan Wang, D24 and Red Prawn durians — which he paid $156 for — to find that they were frozen. “I tried to defrost one. It was so watery that when I picked up the durian, the seed was in my hand but the meat fell off. I asked [the shop] via Facebook message, ‘Is the durian fresh?’ They said it was. I told them, ‘No, it’s frozen and I want a refund.’ Then there was no more reply from them,” he recounts. “I presume their 100 percent refund guarantee is not genuine.”

  • 9 of 17 Victims form Facebook support group, “Victims of”

    Jovison and Rachel only got to know that there were more people in the same predicament when they joined a Facebook support group called Victims of The private group currently has 206 members, and was created on July 5, 2020, by an individual who also got an unsatisfactory delivery from the shop. “He was cheated and he believed many people were cheated too, but he was determined to settle it,” Rachel tells us.

    The group gained strength mostly by word of mouth. Rachel says she received a private message from the group’s creator to join, after he saw her angry messages on the offending shop’s Facebook page. “And as a new and angsty member… I also went around catching people posting [similar] comments and invited them to join the group,” she shares.

    Besides a refund, the group members are also adamant about holding Durians Express Delivery accountable. Jovison reckons, “We are quite united lah. Everyone wants them to ‘die’ (laughs). This pandemic is already very bad for us, and they want to scam people’s money?” He adds, “I notified the genuine seller [Reece of Durian Express Delivery] and told him to direct all the victims to our Facebook page. We’re trying to help him lah. His durians are good, but he was brought down by [this shop].”

  • 10 of 17 Police, CASE and, er, Prime Minister’s Office notified

    Some members took the initiative to make a report with the police and the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE). After the number of reports piled up, the group collated the case numbers and forwarded the list to the police. Adds Jovison, “We also cc-ed the Prime Minister’s Office, [Minister for Home Affairs and Law] K. Shanmugam and everything. The authorities started to take action after 150 of us reported [our case].”

    Rachel tells us: “As time passed by and we collated more reports, plus cc-ed the email to the PMO, we finally got a response through the Commercial Affairs Department [a department within the Singapore Police Force that safeguards financial and commercial dealings]. The CAD officer gave us [the shop’s] number to ask for a refund, and assured us that the investigation will still be ongoing even if there’s a refund.”

  • 11 of 17 Some refunds given only after CAD investigation

    Jovison and Rachel reveal they only got refunded after CAD contacted the shop to investigate (fellow victim Jason did not pursue a refund after being stonewalled by the shop). Rachel claims, “I’m sure there’s some mitigating factor [for the offending biz] if they refund us, so they chose [to do that]. But before [the authorities stepped in], they were happily blocking unhappy customers and deleting our comments on their FB page.” While she’s still waiting for her refund to be credited back to her credit card, Jovison says he had already received his refund on his card on July 22.

  • 12 of 17 We speak to Durians Express Delivery also reached out to Durians Express Delivery for comment. A spokesperson for the shop tells us over the phone that he’s “not a worker, not a partner, just helping my friend Jasper”, whom he says started the business: “He started this ’cos it’s durian season, and a lot of people are trying to get extra income due to Covid-19. He isn’t a clear-minded business guy. He’s 26, and he was a merchandiser. He’s inexperienced and didn’t know how to handle it well.”
  • 13 of 17 “Fresh durians are subjected to availability”

    We asked the spokesman why Jasper had started a biz that was almost identical to one that was established earlier. We got this explanation from him: “He got the wrong marketing company to help him. The people hired to work for him were telling him what to do. Halfway through our operations, marketing put in T&Cs outright [sic] to inform customers that if fresh durians are not available, frozen will be served (see pic). They added it as protection. This is based on what I know. All along Jasper put his [shop’s] name as Top Grade Frozen Durians.”

  • 14 of 17 “QC wasn’t done”

    But when we pressed about why his durians were sold frozen, with some being rotten, the spokesperson replied: “The durians were frozen because of operations. It wasn’t intentional. [Jasper] wanted to chill it to ensure freshness. But he didn’t know what to do and engaged a lot of bad staff. He didn’t give clear instructions, so I don’t blame the staff. And there’ll always be one or two rotten durians in a basket. The QC wasn’t done and everything was sent out.”

  • 15 of 17 Reason for lack of customer service

    In response to’s enquiries about the lack of customer service recovery, the spokesperson also claims that a “customer service officer [who’s] a friend of Jasper” had been left to handle customers’ complaints, but apparently did not do his job. Says the spokesman: “I have not met the old CSO who gave ridiculous replies to people who asked for refunds, saying stuff like, ‘I ask the tree to take back [the durian], can or not?’ But Jasper has fired everyone. He and the CSO are on bad terms right now, and have ended their friendship because of this.”

    Affected customer Rachel tells us the spokesman had claimed there were bad durians ’cos “they were overwhelmed with orders”. She alleges, “The rotten durians were in a nice sealed box. Who packs rotten durian in a nice box to be delivered, if there was no attempt to cheat customers? Cannot be so suey (unlucky) that both the durian packers and the customer service officer they employed all want to sabotage the owner, right?”

    The spokesperson confirms that the shop has ceased its operations (its website and social media pages are still up and running though, when we last checked). “The investigating officer from CAD gave [Jasper] a deadline, two weeks from now, to resolve all these disputes,” he says. When we later requested an interview with Jasper, as well as his surname, the spokesperson’s tone turned frosty: “We are not interested in any more discussions. He just wants to close this case. I believe I have revealed enough. Thank you.

  • 16 of 17 Refunded over $10k to “at least” 70 customers

    At press time, the spokesperson estimates the shop had “refunded at least 70 people, easily over $10k” on a case-by-case basis . He says: “Initially there were some profits, but after the refunds, Jasper had to lose some money to learn this painful but good lesson. He had to cease operations and lost a lot of overhead costs.

    He also reveals that some customers had tried to “take advantage” of the refunds. He says, “I’ve had customers coming to me having ordered a big amount of durians, and said a few boxes were spoiled. I offered to replace the boxes for them, but they wanted a full refund for everything. When I asked for evidence, they declined and said they already threw away the durians. Or they sent me photos of durian seeds. At the end of the day, they have finished the product. My friend Jasper has indeed done the wrong thing. But as his friend, I think it’s fair that we can’t let people use this opportunity [to claim money unfairly].”

  • 17 of 17 The ‘copied’ company also made a police report

    Durian Express Delivery’s boss Reece Lee has also reported Durians Express Delivery to the police. “We did not talk to that company at all. We’re unsure of who they are. If they are using this strategy just to be a competitor, we can understand. But they’re actually scamming people and not delivering what the customers ordered. That’s not ethical. That’s why we decided to bring this up to the authorities,” he says. After the newer biz shut down, Reece says he also stopped receiving daily complaints from customers.

    He had started his own biz last year after seeing a market demand for online durian deliveries. “We work very hard to gain the customers’ trust. There are quite a number of customers giving us good reviews on Facebook and Instagram. But many customers also told me they’ve lost trust in online durian stores. It has become more and more difficult,” he shares. Despite the unfortunate association with Durians Express Delivery, he decided not to change his company’s name because of the “hard work” invested into his company. “We started with this name. We would not want to change it. Trademarking [our name] is too expensive. Anyway, we’re the honest seller,” he avers.

    And there’s a silver lining to dealing with misguided complainants. Reece says, “We definitely gained some [new] customers from this incident. Those who got scammed [by the copycat company] and still wanted to eat durians later purchased them from us.”

    To buy durians from Reece’s company Durian Express Delivery, visit

    Photos: FB/ Rachel Wong/ Jovison Lim/ Jason Tan/ Reece Lee/ Durian Express Delivery & Durians Express Delivery's websites and social media

    Related topics

    durian Durians Express Delivery complaints

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