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One woman's campaign against a bad Phuket watch may turn the tide

Consumer Takes on Retail Giant Over Rip-Off

Thursday, February 23, 2012
PHUKET: Sangdurm Thaiserikul is taking on the might of Central Festival over a bad watch she bought from a stallholder at the large Phuket emporium.

The Damrungtam Complaints Office at Provincial Hall in Phuket City revealed the case of the bad copy watch when reporting 60 of its cases earlier this week to Phuket Administration officials.

Khun Sangdum bought herself a Casio from a stall holder at Central for 800 baht while on a holiday to Phuket.

But the watch stopped working within a couple of days, so she travelled all the way back to Phuket from Pattalung province to report the matter to the Damrungtam Office.

''For me, 800 baht is not a large amount,'' she said. ''But when I think of tourists being ripped off by buying these watches, it makes me sad for Phuket and for Thailand.''

The stallholder operated from within Central but Khun Sangdum thought it better to make her point by complaining because Central allowed the poor-quality watch to be sold there.

Damrungtam officials said a letter had been sent to Central about the matter but there had been no response, so the issue would be passed on to the Consumer Affairs Office in Bangkok.

The private protest by Khun Sangdurm comes amid reports that diplomats representing several European countries are to meet Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa to address the growing problem of cheats and swindlers targeting Phuket tourists.

The topic is also likely to be on the agenda when Phuket's honorary consuls meet with Phuket's Governor Tri Augkaradacha and Phuket administrators and police on Monday in a regular meeting postponed from this week.

Damrungtam officials said at this week's meeting that they had managed to mediate 45 of the 60 issues while another 13 were in the process of being mediated.

Two, both involving time share holidays on Phuket, had proved impossible to mediate, the meeting was told.

Comments

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I like K. Sangdurm's sentiments, but really, did she really think that it was a genuine Casio watch for 800baht? If you knowingly buy a fake, you're committing an offence. Central is also committing an offence for allowing pirated goods to be traded on their site. Caveat emptor. I once bought a genuine watch for 5k baht from a large store. It broke. It was under guarantee. They offered to send it to Bangkok for free repair - which could take up to 3 months. Now THAT's a rip off ! 3 months with no watch is hardly a great guarantee !

Posted by Mr Man on February 23, 2012 06:45

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Not a day too early. Central is supposed to be a rip off/fake free area in my mind. This should be the case regardless if the seller is outside the actual department store area or not. As soon as one enters the Central Festival complex there should be no BS with people selling fakes. Central is Thailand's largest department store chain and should be held to a higher standard than the illegal immigrant Nepalese that harass people on every corner in Patong.

Posted by christian on February 23, 2012 07:06

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Interesting case. Before and after Central opend in Phuket they tried to swipe out as many copy retailers they could. Since then they have rented space to similar businesses, selling overpiced crap covered by the Central roof. My Gf got a watch there few months ago, worked for a week, would have been better to pay half the price in a market

Posted by katabeachbum on February 23, 2012 09:33

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Wait a mlnute Sir, also brands like acer and honda, here in Phuket sell the original product but when one goes for service or repair than you get rip off AND sabotage of the item that they no care about but collect the money indeed. Even Japan GDP has just had a big loss in revenue; floods shut down factories, so what can one expect from nepalese or thai alike.

Posted by carle on February 23, 2012 10:20

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(moderated)

Posted by LivinLOS on February 23, 2012 11:21

Editor Comment:

Not much point in carrying quotes from other sources here, LivinLOS, then making libelllous comments. Total waste of your time, and mine. I thought you were through that phase?

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I have bought genuine casio watches for 20 to 25 US dollars, here in California. Is it really inconceivable that a genuine casio could be had for 800 baht in thailand? Casio watches are cheap, it's not like we are talking about a rolex here.

Posted by fw on February 23, 2012 11:49

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What's the big deal - everyone knows there are high level meetings going on with foreign ambassadors and then of course with have the quarterly meetings here with the consuls and gov... they will be discussing this and many other things that involve ripping off tourists.... and then do absolutely nothing about it.

Corruption - Greed - Lip Service = A dying tourist destination.

Posted by Graham on February 23, 2012 12:04

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I LOVE PHUKET - it's great, why, climate, beaches, Thai culture, food, diving, ladies and it is safer than many of the western cities that I have been to. So to those of you that live here stop moaning, or perhaps consider leaving, tourists should not be ripped off but many know they are buying fake handbags etc not so much in this case as Casios are cheap but in other situations they cannot be genuine. Thailand is Thailand will everyone stop trying to change it to Europe etc, been living here 4 years and still love it. PS I wish the Thai Baht was lower.

Posted by Adam on February 23, 2012 16:25

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"Not much point in carrying quotes from other sources here, LivinLOS, then making libelllous comments. Total waste of your time, and mine. I thought you were through that phase?"

Erm what quotes from other sources ?? There were none.

As to holding a Slipa Archa up as a paragon of virtue.. You can choose to if you wish, you would be wrong but not the first time hey ??

Posted by LivinLOS on February 23, 2012 18:23

Editor Comment:

You're right. My mistake about the mention. But a libel all the same. Just because people's names are mentioned doesn't make them ''paragons of virtue.'' Nor are we perfect, now or ever.

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(moderated)

Posted by Steve C. on February 23, 2012 19:11

Editor Comment:

Steve C., That incident was reported on another site without confirmation from a secondary source. In other words, one person said it happened, before filing a police report, and their word was accepted as fact. When police arrest a culprit who confesses, we'll know it was genuine. Until then, we can't say for sure either way that the event occurred, or not.

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Well, Phuket is not dying, Phuket is more like a tulip bubble tourist destination. Numbers skyrocketing, resources wasted, ill suited infrastructure, corruption misguiding investment decisions, and bad people think, they can do what they please, as long as they have enough cash and can pay off people who should not look the other way. If there is no outside help, the bubble will burst and leave a lot of tears for investors and workers alike. This are all the ingredients that may implode the bubble. But that can take some more time. Bubbles tend to go on like "forever" for the ones, who think to see them.

K. Sangdurm action is - like a lot of other Thai women - one of the few things, why one can think, it may not be a lost case. People like her give hope for a better future. Great reporting Phuketwan.

Posted by Lena on February 23, 2012 19:27

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Talking of rip offs, go to the food hall at Central and order some food and you will notice that most of the food vendors will charge you 10-15THB more than the advertised price. Farang prices again i'm afraid.

Posted by centralripoff on February 23, 2012 21:13

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It mite be genuine product, but new, old stock and the battery is old.

Posted by Mikey on February 23, 2012 23:13

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It happens not just in Central, but also Jungeceylon - though no blame to the owners of that establishment. My sisters bought 2 digital cameras from a 'brand name' shop in that centre; had the cameras demonstrated in front of them; but when they got back to their hotel, found no batteries included. The staff had clearly 'palmed' the batteries whilst repacking the cameras. When we returned to the shop, they presented a united front & denied all knowledge, accusing my sisters of lying. They then had the cheek to offer to sell us 2 batteries at a cost of approx 1,000 baht each; of course we went elsewhere to buy them & that particular shop will never see our custom again. It is a salutory lesson for everyone. Always make sure the staff repack your goods in full view of you; just as you should never let your credit card out of your sight.

Posted by Logic on February 24, 2012 00:03


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