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Sharking commissions: Some souvenir sellers rip off tourists

Jewellers 'Sell Grade B Gems at Grade A Prices'

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
PHUKET: Jewellery stores and souvenir sellers were ordered yesterday to stop ripping off Phuket tourists or face further action.

The call came from Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada after he learned that scams and extortionate prices were damaging Phuket's reputation as a tourism destination.

Many people who were persuaded to buy items of jewellery while visiting Phuket later found they had paid too much for the items, a meeting heard at Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

Costs were inflated by commissions paid to taxi and tuk-tuk drivers for bringing people to the stores. Even so, many of the items sold involved customers paying ''Grade A prices for Grade B jewellery.''

The rip-offs were mostly committed at smaller stores rather than larger ones, the vice governor was told.

He questioned the people representing some of Phuket's jewellery shops and asked them how the industry could expect to survive and thrive if its reputation continued to deteriorate.

Gem shop rip-offs rated only behind the high fares of tuk-tuks and taxis in complaints recorded from tourists.

The Director of the Phuket Office of Commerce, Prakong Rakwong, said that most of the pearls sold as Phuket souvenirs actually came from China, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Chanaburi.

''One problem is that we do not have the technical means to check the quality when investigating complaints,'' he said.

Most tourists did not realise they had been swindled until they returned home and had the items they had purchased on Phuket valued by dealers.

If the complaints continued, more severe action would have to be taken against the stores, Vice Governor Jamleran said.

Comments

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yes biggest jewelry store on bypass road pays 30 percent commsion

Posted by michael on September 12, 2012 08:21

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I know from personal experience and from tour guides that 40% of the sales is divided between the "middlemen".

Posted by PhuketGreed on September 12, 2012 08:36

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'Damaging?' I'd use past tense 'damaged' as this has been going on for 30 years. Apart from cheap, knock off, brand-name clothes, there is nothing worth buying in Phuket. Central is full of diamond shops selling very low grade diamonds only suckers would buy. Don't even start me on 'King Power' and its duty free shops at the airport. Total rip off prices.

Posted by logbags on September 12, 2012 08:41

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"The rip-offs were mostly committed at smaller stores rather than larger ones" couldn't be farther from the truth concerning commissions! At "the world's largest jewelry shop", tuk tuk or van drivers so politely escort their customers into the front door and promptly go straight to a special window to register them as theirs! They then get a whopping 35% commission for purchases. Check it out Phuket Wan, do some undercover and you can easily discover this , have your Thai staff call or go in and tell them you will start to bring your tour vans to them and ask them "how do I set myself up for commission". They have a paper trail for all this because they record it into a book and give the drivers a small piece of paper and the driver comes back after to collect cash. This is common practice (extremely high commissions) in many tourist businesses, not just the jewelry business. The question that needs to be answered before any crackdown is, what is a fair commission for bringing tourist customers in?

Posted by Villa Renter on September 12, 2012 09:43

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The stories about low grade jewels not about commission!

Posted by LJ on September 12, 2012 12:10

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Buying gems on holiday. What a great idea. Not only are prices inflated and your mind in holiday mood (open to lalalala), you can get into deep trouble flying home and not showing it to customs in your home country. Add your local VAT + 10% import duty. And if not shown, you are allowed to pay a penalty on top. You cannot buy so cheap a quality stone.

As to this bypass shop, I went there alone in my car, and the people were so shocked that someone would find the way to them unaccompanied, they let me wait 5 minutes before I could enter. The stones and finishing was medium level of craftsmanship, if at all, but the prices were a turn off. But they give you a nice story, tour and a lot of blingbling in the proper sell-lightning to see. And pretty hard sellers, not easy to stop them... sadly they did not know I was the one without the commission package. So no 40% discount, no sell... For that it would have been a ok price for me for a holiday. They kept the ring.

Posted by Lena on September 12, 2012 14:06

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Lena

So, just out of curiosity, are you a gemologist since you can grade gems and craftsmanship like that? Did you bring your gemologist equipment?
Or are you just trolling and feel you need to put down the particular shop?

Posted by christian on September 12, 2012 15:37


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