A reader reports: I have been a victim of this scam and it was not until I did a search on Thai Gems that my heart exploded (after reading your detailed and informative website). Thankfully, that was 2 weeks ago and I since had it resolved incident-free together with a 100% refund.
Please go to this link to read what I have posted, under the username of "Ben".
Thankfully after I was scammed, 3 things worked in my favour:
1. I had my laptop with me and my room had free 24/7 internet access that allowed me to do more research.
2. I had the gems with me (2 rings with the value of 100,000 bahts)
3. I am to depart the following day for a 5pm flight.
My wife and I planned to let our credit card deal with it but was told that the transaction has already been approved (too late to reverse) and it will be hard to claim it as fraud as I authorised the transaction. Not happy with their response, I decided to deal with it myself as much as I could while I still have time in Bangkok.
I have read that the Tourist Police are not very helpful (and their superiors are possibly part of this scam) and it would be unwise to return to the place of purchase (The Oscar) due to time and language problems. Furthermore, there are reports that victims who chose this route have been abused and beaten up by the mafia.
As I surfed the internet for solutions till 6am, I came across this report that a person by the name of Mr Suchat from the Ministry of Internal Trade has asisted a victim in obtaining a refund. Sensing that this is my only chance to salvage what I lost, I sent him an email and called him at 8.30am.
As I spoke to one of his employee, his employee is already aware that I have sent Mr Suchat an email. He proceed to ask me to go to his office ASAP as time is against us (as we had to depart in the afternoon). I was quite hesitant but with nothing to lose, we checked out of our hotel and took a cab to his office. It was an hour ride from Sukhumvit.
Upon reaching there, it was a huge Government Building and we managed to speak to Mr. Suchat. He is a powerful man and is the Attorney-Director for the Internal Trade division. We explained our situation and he acted on it straight away.
He called The Oscar and told the receptionist to get the manager to return his call. True enough, the phone rang and he spoke to the manager in Thai. After the conversation (sounded aggressive and persuasive at the same time), he informed me that the manager will call back to speak with me. Mr Suchat told me what to say -- that I want a full 100% refund and I have appointed Mr Suchat to negotiate on my behalf. I did that and finally, a last phone call came in. It was the owner/director/mafia and Mr Suchat spoke for us. It was intense yet Mr. Suchat made us feel safe at the same time in his office.
After the call, he said don't be afraid as he has the power and the authority given by the Thai Government, and that no one dared go against him -- even the corrupted mafias and gangs. Whew!! Just the words we wanted to hear!!! He then told us to file a report and to leave everything (all documents, paperwork, gems) with him. We trust him so we did just that. We were then told to go to the airport to catch our flight. Mr Suchat and his team will correspond via email to us.
True enough, we were update throughout the 2 days on what was happening and on the 3rd day, we got an email that we will be getting a 100% refund. It took a while for the refund to go through (as last weekend was Good Friday and Easter Monday so banks were closed) but alas, the refund came through today!!!!
Everyone at Dit (Dept of Internal Trade) were helpful and it made us feel good about the Thai people and Thailand again. We vowed never to return to Thailand after what happened to us, but because of Mr Suchat, we realised that we shouldn't make the 1% of bad apples ruin the good name of Thailand for everyone. As for Mr Suchat, he is a fantastic man and I am so glad to have met him in person. He is extremely helpful for a powerful man like him and Thailand is extremely fortunate to have someone like him. He says he assists on average 2 tourists a week and his success rate has been flawless.
So, I urge all fellow victims to contact Mr Suchat if you need help. I would strongly urge you to contact him first even before making a report to the Tourist Police. He can be contacted on [email protected]
Hope this helps and good luck with your refund.
As for us, we have learnt a valuable lesson in trusting strangers and on greed too. Thankfully, this invaluable lesson did not come at a high price for us.
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