Gem Scam: 463/9-12, Look-Luang Rd

From an email: …I was in Bangkok May 3-5 with my boyfriend, we are currently still traveling in Thailand. We have had some trouble since arriving. We were touring temples May 4 and were approached by the “Tourist Police” who informed us that the Golden Temple was closed. He had a tuk tuk driver take us to the Lucky Buddha, Sapphire Expo and Happy Buddha for 40 baht.
We were taken by tuk tuk to the Premier Sapphire Factory Export Center Co LTD and purchased a ring. The address is 463/9-12 1st Floor, Look-Luang Rd, Mahanak, Dusit Bangkok 10300 Thailand. We later found out it was fake. We also looked into the operation at our hotel this morning and found the following information. This is exactly what happened to us. We received paperwork for refund of 80% of the value but we are still waiting for this to go through. We were told it would take 15 days, although we are not sure how accurate this is….

[While it is apparently legal to cheat tourists in this way (lie to get them to buy gems that are overpriced), most of these shops are eased out of business eventually as their "fame" eventually begins to tarnish the tourist trade.
However, this location on Look-Luang Road is so well protected, they never change location--just their name.
For some reason tourists willingly sign papers agreeing to 80% refunds and then from time to time the shop reopens in the same location under a new name thus invalidating any past claims against it.
We have spoken to tourist officials in the past admitting their intense humiliation that they are unable to do anything about these protected shops just a few hundred meters from their offices and even closer to the local police kiosks.]

In 2003 it was Imperial:

By late 2004 it was Blue Dragon:

Name of this shop in the past:
Imperial Jewelry Export Co. Ltd. (last report mid-2003)
Ma Mere Gems Collection Co., Ltd. (last report December, 2000)
Blue Sapphire Gem Co., Ltd. (last report October, 2000)
TGJ Thai Center Co., Ltd. (last report July, 2000)

Other information about this location is here and here.

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139 Responses to Gem Scam: 463/9-12, Look-Luang Rd

  1. Ali Nejad says:

    Hi
    I fall in the same trap, we agreed 80% refund , did you receive your money ( 80%)?
    What should we do ?

    Thanks
    Ali

    • Mel says:

      Hello!
      Wondering did you get your money back???
      Please le me know as i stupied just fell for thesuper story too…

      Thank you,
      Mel

      • kat says:

        hey mel
        what are you doing about it? i was tricked into buying first week of september 2012.
        i was thinking about flying back soon… but i m not sure if the shop still existed.
        saphire premier export… did you also go to this shop?
        i m just not sure if it s a wise idea to fly back and go in there alone.

        kat

    • chin says:

      hi i fall Gem Scam: 463/9-12, Look-Luang Rd
      on 12/11, can anyone advise me how to get back the money

      • Judy says:

        They have renamed themselves SIAM IDA MINING – so beware. I got caught too, fortunately I didn’t spend much

        • Janet says:

          We got caught out only last month,(March) just didn’t know about all this until I got an uneasy feeling and went on the web.
          I brought a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring, I have had it valued since coming home. It is real, however the valuation is some £5-600 less than I paid. All I can say is be very careful.

          • Janet says:

            PS. As they took all our details, passport no. credit card (including the numbers on the back) Home address, we were not feeling happy about all this. I rang the credit card helpline and reported my card misplaced so at least that was cancelled, I hope my passport details are not used in any way.
            Is there a way of finding out??

          • RV says:

            It happened to me as well. Spent AUD 7500 for 2 x sapphire pendants. These guys are cheats. Shame on them. I wish I could thrash this place down. Bloody CHEATS!!

  2. Mas says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    We were also tricked in same way, and could obtain the written refund receipt.
    We would be appreciated if we can share what you did to get back the refund after the long-wait.
    (I hope you could get back the refund…..)

    Best regards,
    Mas

  3. Kuttsie says:

    Hi,
    My wife and I were similarly scammed only last week. It looks like a huge operating syndicate with protection from various official bodies and a very well organized modes operandi. Unsuspecting tourists are lured by a string of people lined up to convince you before you are actually led into the shop – all hyping to you how you’ll make a real bargain by purchasing any sapphire from this very special offer day – from this ‘export factory’ – that only exports to the high-end stores in various big cities around the world! All a bunch of lies obviously. You are also made to sign up an ‘agreement’ that you are purchasing at this ‘special price’ only for your own personal use and not for resale. And that the store will only refund 80% of the purchase value if you were to change your mind – within one month of purchase. I have had no choice but to take their 80% refund offer to buy back the item we purchased – even after we could prove other shops were only valuing it at 1/20th of what we paid for! We have signed up for this refund and were told it will take two weeks to go through.
    As we are still waiting I’d like to know if the previous writer had any trouble getting their 80% refund back after waiting their 15 days? Please do let me know. And if there’s anything else we should know. Thanks v much.

  4. Andrea says:

    We were just scammed a few days ago as well. I have been to 32 countries and have traveled my entire life without any major incidents. This is a very intricate scam and it seems that everyone in bangkok is in on it. Thankfully, we paid by credit card. Hopefully we will be able to resolve the situation.

    • Dune says:

      Hello Andrea.
      We were new two victims of this mafia the 3rd of september. As far as I know visa will not help much in getting the refund back…, Did you manage something with the credit card company and can you tell me how, please?? we are very upset now…

    • mindy says:

      did you get a refund??

  5. David says:

    Same story… did anyone have any issues getting back there? I read somewhere that taxi drivers will not take you there. I also realized that TukTuks will not take you there unless you visit the site where the man with the lies (ringer) awaits new people.

    Any information would be helpful, so we can get back there to get a refund of some kind. Maybe we can ask to be taken somewhere near that?

    • David says:

      REFUNDED!

      …but only 80% of the value. I got a taxi to take me to that street, and we drove down it until I spotted the place. I had him wait for me up the street a little.

      I was let in the place and told them I want to return my purchase. They took me to an office upstairs and made me fill out 2 forms. They wanted additional information like passport number, but I don’t think they really needed it. They do not credit your card back right there, but tell you that you will be credited back.

      Less than a week later, I see the credit on my card. I’m glad to get something back. Costly lesson for being greedy!!

      • super stupid says:

        Ohh thats good news! Just happened to me and yes i called tourist police and went back too. Same as you filled out 2 papers and my credit card as well my slip from the transaction was needed. I did call my bank and was refused on frezzing the amount of the scam… But i got a new card straight away so it can not be used again… Now waiting for my 80% and hope I will get it back…

        Hope that others got thier money back too… Please post it as it gives you a reasurance and little hope…

        All the best to all of stronzzinas and strozzos out there we paid for that… At least we ate alive

      • Zea says:

        Hi David, Congratulations on getting your money back! I feel so ashamed that I too have been a victim and realised as soon as I got back to my hotel room and logged on and found all these forums. I’m a female traveller in Thailand until the end of this month with a return in a month for a further two months after a border crossing. I hope I manage to get my money back.. I’d be grateful to get 80% as the receipt states.. I’m a bit scared to go there alone as I could be dealing with Thai mafia and corrupt police.. I’ve been looking at what other victims have done and it seems a majority are still awaiting their money.. You seem to be one of the minority that had success. I want to take a police man with me tomorrow to get my money back but I feel so insecure now of who to trust.. (Normal police, tourist police) I’m missing my flight up to Chiang Mai tomorrow to sort this out.. I feel so ashamed I cant even speak to my friends and family back home about it. I’m not normally this gullible!!

        I bought a sapphire and diamond ring in white gold to the tune of nearly 60,000 BHT/ £1250. I’m heart broken as this is a big chunk out my budget I cant afford to loose. I feel so stupid! Any advice would be so gratefully appreciated. Many thanks Zea.. PS Are you a big intimidating guy??.. how come they gave it back so easy when other have struggled? I really want the 80% back in cash as i fear they wont credit my account in however long they say. I paid with a visa debt not a credit card and HSBC cant stop the payment. ;(

        • Bob says:

          Hi Zea,

          Did you end up getting the money back? My partner and I unfortunately share a very similar story to yours. We went back the same day and said we wanted to return the ring and filled out the forms. We are now on day 12 and the refund hasn’t gone through. Has yours?

          Thanks
          Bob

  6. Furious says:

    Dammit! We got scammed just this morning! Dont know what made me google the jewellery store but wish i had done it before handing over my credit card! After reading the posts im going to attempt to return my purchase tomorrow morning and hoping for a positive outcome! Wish me luck!

  7. Furious says:

    Ok so we finally made it back to the store with the help of a very kind and genuine local lady. We started off by getting a taxi driver to take us to a hotel near the road we were headed to under the pretences of meeting up with “friends”. Once we were in the area we tried to walk to the store using our map but that didnt get us very far as the roads and their names very confusing! As we stood looking at our map a guy on a motorbike stopped to “help”. We told him our friends had bought jewellery the previous day and recommended we check the store out. It seems that the previous comment about having to follow the correct sequence of steps to get there was true as the man assured us there were absolutely no jewellery stores anywhere near there and even tried to flag down a tuk tuk to take us far away to were he said we would find jewellery. Luckily the local lady overheard the conversation and warned us not to buy anything from around there. We were cautious to trust her but thankfully she turned out to be genuine and even walked us the store herself. She did however wait for us up the road as she was concerned for herself should she be seen to be helping us. We told security at the locked front door that we were customers looking to buy which prompted him to unlock the door and allow us in. We managed to get a statement assuring 80% refund within 2 weeks so all thats left for us to do is wait and pray the payment goes through. I will however be following up the remaining 20% with mastercard and be lodging a freud claim should i not receive my agreed 80% from the store.

    In short, a costly lesson learnt!

  8. Magnus also scammed says:

    Furious, did you get the credit back from the scammers. I feel like my papers are worthless

  9. tolen says:

    hi guys,

    almost the same happend to me…i `m 30 travelling around second time in bangkok and was supprised of such a kind helpful man.

    ..actually i dont believe anybody on the street and ask by myself…

    i get off the train in” hua lamphong” and asked the tourist information where to walk in the direction to the buddha statue and the they said i have to cross the street on the other street i can get along…so i crossed the street through the underground tunnel and came out …i made a few steps and searched for the road…in this moment lot of people where passing me by and it seemd to me a men who passed me stopped and asked if i need help, because i was looking at the map…he was well clothed and spoke good english…he said he s an engineer from the rialyway company and went for lunch ,..it was about 12 p.m. , but on his way he saw me ,..seems that i need help.

    i apologized for taking his time …but he kindly said it s ok and that i m walking rigtht , but it s quite far..i said no problem i like to walk and look around…then he explaind me on the map how to walk and what to see…but the buddha is now closed because of the cermony and new year cleaning stuff…so i better should visit some tempels until 2 p.m. and then go there…he said on the way is the export sapphire center, which is only opened two days for tourists and without export tax…i couldnt really handle that information , because i dont know anything about sapphires…only know that they r expensive..and he got me in the right time . because on this day i was searching something for my girlfriend…so i actually made notihng of his advice, but then he arranged me a cheap tuk tuk and talked a lot with the driver…and 60 bat he repeated often for some tempels and harbour and trip by boat…and it seemed so helpful and convincing that i agreed to go by tuktuk..

    and i never thought of buying anything in this shops tuk tuk driver takes u to,but…now …i cant believe myself that i believed this…

    we went to the first tempel…a small one nobody there…only one security …and a statue and a man about 32 or so,looking like a tourist malaysian type…sitting ther with a camera and well clothed…i went near to take a photo asked him if it s allowed he said”yes”, he also has asked before and started talking with me…was very kind and smart…knew some places in german even some words and companies and said he worked in singapure and canada but know in uk..and bla bla …we talked about the statue and trip..then he asked if i also have buyed the sapphire stuff and so …hmmm i was supprised that he also made the same trip like me,…a bit different,but then he said he met some german boys students, who also bought some and sell them there , because of the tax reduction…only for tourist this time,and he got the info from his friend and trying out this second time..and show me his bills and talked about reselling them and the juweliers in germany.the german juweliers, he knewed where, in which town they r situated and in which street…seemed so cleary and true, that i got in the ride to buy also some stuff and if it doesnt really suit anyone, i can sell it over there for double price…and i was so stupid for believing that…i asked him some stuff about sapphire and gold and he gave me his adress and email…and we should meet the next days…for lunch or so to talk about…..really helpful kind guy….even told me that the tax fee is 10-20 percent for stuff above 400 euros and i have to declare..but the profit i can get,will get along with that…he isnt forcing me to do that but i can try and see if it works out…he financed so some presents and trips already,his friends does it all the time…

    i thanked him and he went to his tuktuk and i to mine….

    so i went to the shop….curious no other shops like that nearby….

    openîng the door and emidiatly asked if i m interested in some small thing or bigs…cool water….so, i was so inspired of making my girlfriend a gift for valantines day i searched for a ring….i saw one for 500 euros…18 karat white gold and a deep blue sapphire, how the guy adviced me to buy..because the yellow gold is no good stanard here in thailand…and it has to be deep blue…so agreed with that one…then paper after paper and a certification and then asked for my credit card…for my luck i only had 200 chf (150 EURO) and said i have to go back to the hotel and fetch the money….and the kind man gave me his name phonenumber and explaind i can leave these 200 chf for deposit and then when i come after my tour , a person will wait to come with me and fetch the money and get 10 perent discount for paying in cash..i agreed and was satisfied…

    i went to the big buddha and on they way i was thingking and thinking, about the whole story…and felt so much doubt and stopped the tuktuk driver to search for an internet cafe…i finally got one and searched for this company and sapphires in bangkok…and my doubts were proofed…

    i went back and said that my credit card limit is probably reached and i cant pay so that they have to wait for tmw or cancel the contract..i wanted my money back i gave for deposit..they began to talk a lot …and many staff came around and everyone was talking and a fat lady calculating…i said just give me back my money and forget the deal…but they ran around and talked a lot..they finally charged me 10 percent and said i can go…i was so frustrated..that those other tourist on their way to buy something, where supprised…on my way to the door,they wanted me to go out quickly…i shouted not to buy anything there is all fake..they pushed me out…!!!.hope they didnt…ya thats what i ve experienced,..a well organized sapphire mafia…

    even the taxi driver was asking then more money…he drove me around a lot and waited…and was kind also…about 4 hours…so i gave a bit more..he asked for 500 i finally gave him 200.

    didnt realize it that it is so well constructed…and this could happen to me…

  10. tolen says:

    now it is named
    premier sapphire factory export center co.ltd.
    463/9-12 look-luang rd.,mananak,dusit,bkk.10300 thailand
    tel.0-2628-3565,0-2628-3566
    fax:0-2628-3564

    i doubt if it s correct
    the seller his name suthep
    mobile 0870736600

    the guy in the temple
    andy from london
    andy_nn1812@yahoo.co.uk

    good luck for all those who trusted in kind people
    and hoped that the world is not full of such trash people…

  11. Dorte Maj Christensen says:

    Hello Ali ,Kuttsie and Furious…Did the get the refund of 80%?? we are still waiting…have waited now for 2 weeks, don´t know what to do next if the money is´t cooming?
    Dorte

  12. Dlee says:

    Dear all, same things happened to me when we were in BKK last weekend. And i m going back next week or following week with my thailand friend to demand for 100% refund. Pray for me.

    Thanks,

  13. B&B says:

    Another 2 victims, yesterday afternoon. We are amazed that it happened to us too!! Same Andy in the temple, same story as Tolen. He said he used to work for a Dutch bank in Singapore. Knew all the latest developments in Dutch banking and places in The Netherlands (like all the jewellery stores). Even knew how the head office of ING looks from the outside (and he was right)! Anyway, we started thinking after having done the by Andy suggested purchases (special government tax promotion week because of upcoming Thai New Year) but became a little suspicious not long afterwards. Found this website, thank you all for the valuable comments!! We went to the Tourist Police this morning to report. The police phoned them and we negotiated ourselves up to 85% refund. They came to the police station and paid back partly in cash and partly refund by Mastercard (accordingly the way we paid). Police seemed confident that we’ll receive the latter within 2 weeks (that’s how long it takes for the credit card company to process). If not, they suggested to contact them again and they will take action. Good luck to you all!

    • V says:

      We were also scamed? Did you receive your refund?

      • B&B says:

        Yes, we received the refund. Now we are claiming the lost 15% (of the part we paid by credit card) from Mastercard for the fact that they authorized this payment although this scam organization is well known. They earn money on this scam practice, not very ethical.

  14. jaygue says:

    We were scammed too, same Andy at the lucky buddha temple. This time however he was working in HSBC in London. The whole con sounds very realistic. We ended up at the premier sapphire shop, signed the agreement and gave them copies of our passports. We were lucky in that they said if we paid by cash we would get a 10% discount, so we opted to do that and left in search for US$8000 in cash. They brought us back to the hotel in their own car and offered to take us to the bank. I tried to call my bank to arrange for a US$8000 withdrawal but couldnt get through to them so told the driver to come back the next day. Meanwhile did some research on this and found this website for which I am very grateful! Didn’t part with any money but they were back in the morning the next day to ask for a deposit of 40,000 baht, told them the funds hadn’t arrived from my bank. Then asked for 1000 baht deposit and finally 500 baht deposit to “secure” the purchase. Of course we were not going to pay knowing that this whole thing was a scam!

    A quick question, we signed the agreement and they have our addresses and passport copies. Is there anything they can do with that? I mean I don’t want to end up in some Thai jail or anything like that! Also am worried now that they have my identity documents and address they might do a scam with my details! Anyone got any ideas on what I should do?

    Thanks!

  15. Dlee says:

    Hi all, if ask for refund pls wait outside and make sure there’s customer inside the shop before you go in. Cause we were stopped by the shop ppl (4 guys) opp the shop. Luckily, we are with my Thai fren and they started to argue in Thai before the guys let us in. If the visa slip still with u pls do bring along.

    So we decided to take the 80% as per the agreement and do not want to make a scene there. It took us 15 mins to signed another refund agreement and left the shop. And the money credited back to our credit card in 10 days.

    • kat says:

      hey dlee,
      so it s probably not a good idea to go alone right?
      but when you were in the shop were they nice to you or did you feel threatened or something?

      a answer would be more than helping thanks

  16. Anonymous says:

    I almost got scammed as well… Similar story as above. Started @ grand palace with a guy approaching us and telling us the palace was closed…he even showed us his “tourist police” badge (don’t know how legit that is since every1 seems 2 be in on he scam). He hailed us a yellow tuk tuk to take us to “happy Buddha, sapphire expo (told it was only open to public during songkran and this was their last day) & white buddha. All for 50 baht!

    The temple for happy buddha (dont think the name is real either) was conveniently closed allowing a man (who says he works @ the templ) to approach us and tell us his many stories of purchasing large amounts of jewellery 400,000 baht worth to resell for min 100% profit…He even named the place, told us not to purchase on the street n assured us that their guarantee was government approved etc….This is what convinced me to want to buy, he validated what the tourist police said!

    We got to PREMIER SAPPHIRE EXPORT COMPANY and they were quite welcoming… I had a good look at their rings a few pendants and earrings… Thankfully I wasn’t in love with anything… But considered purchasing especially for a good price! A few things did not fit though:

    1) sales lady said we could only purchase <60k baht so we don't have to pay taxes, whereas man @ happy Buddha spent 400k?.
    2) when I mentioned I didn't have the $$ there an then… They offered to "sign the paper work" and they'll bring my purchase to the hotel where I can make the full payment?? – showed desperate for sale n the opportunity to switch product
    3) when I mentioned coming back for next years new year / songkran festival… She was adamant that they wouldn't be open as they are only opens spontaneously once a year? – tourist police told us it was the whole week for songkran?

    thankfully my bf isn't as trusting as I am and convinced me that I didn't NEED jewellery!

    In the end we ended up at a non-white Buddha and giving the tuk tuk driver double as I thought they need the extra $3aud more than me…. my mistake…sometimes it pays being too nice!, NEXT TIME I KNOW TO SAY NO THANKS FROM THE START!!
    tell u what though, my bf has been rubbing it in my face how he saved me from making a very expensive purchase and lesson!

    To those that actually got scammed I feel for you… But don't their paperwork say anything guaranteeing that these are real sapphire and real gold? Doesn't that alone break the contract? I hope you get your $$ back

    Thanks for sharing ur stories… We need to keep raising awareness to make sure others learn… It infurites me how tourists bring $$$ to their economy and they still have the nerve to rip us off…

  17. Jolie says:

    I was another victim of gem scam. This is my first travel in Thailand and I am a solo traveller. I experienced nearly the same things as other victims from google. I don’t know what to do now, got no friend to accompany me, not to mention Thai friend. I’m now waiting for my package back in Bangkok. Then I may go to tourist police to ask for help. I’ m so disappointed with myself as this is my first time traveling alone. I lost all my confidence to anyone in Bangkok. I just want to get back my money as soon as possible at the moment.

  18. Ash says:

    HI,

    I fell into this trap last weekend. I was near Grand Palace where the guy who is in security guard dress told me that the Grand Palace is closed and I should come back tomorrow. He had a proper guard dress and also helped me in telling where to visit places in Thailand and helped me getting a tuk-tuk in 40 Baht. He told me to go to a particular temple as well as it is free and in the way of seeing other places. I met a guy “Andy” who claims that he is from UK and currently on visit. Showed me receipt of his purchased items and told me to go to same Export centre (the one mentioned by the guard as well that apparently there is only one week sale going on on jewellery in export house). I went there, I had a bit of intuition that this place is bit weird, I was told that prices have been slashed for the sale and they gave proper receipts etc. I paid by credit card and thought of checking out about this place later on internet. I was busy due to work and could not check about the export house until I came to my country next day and I found so many sites claiming that it was all scam. I did not buy many items except a ring but i will be going tomorrow to get it evaluated and will be going back to Bangkok to get either my 80% refund. I have BLOCKED my credit card immediately unfortunately Credit card company can not stop the transaction as it has already been booked. I will be going to bank tomorrow to request for fraud transactions but I have no hope as of now. I am thinking to go to Bangkok this weekend to get at least a part of my money. I do not know any local Thai people and I am not sure to whom should I take with me. I have read that DO NOT take credit notes from them. I will let you know next week what happened to my whole transaction.

    Cheers.

  19. Anne says:

    Hi. We got scammed last week by the same people. We were walking from the reclining Buddha to the grand palace and stopped by the security guard who told us it was closed. A tourist official then told us to visit some other temples which were free as it was Buddha day. They took us to the luck Buddha temple where we met Andy. He advised us of the export centre which was apparently government owned and had a sale due to it being Buddha day. We ended up buying a ring and the next day I thought it would google Premier Sapphire Company. I couldn’t believe it was a scam as Andynand the tuk tuk drivers seemed so genuine. We told our hotel who called up the shop to say we were coming for a refund. They also sent a security guard with us as apparently no one can touch hotel staff and if anything happened to then there would be a big roar in the media. We were let into the shop and had to go upstairs to fill in the paperwork. They makes you fill out a form and say it takes 15 days. I had no choice but to accept. I will wait for 15 days to see if it has been refunded but already have advised my credit card company of the transaction and scam. If you need a refund, please take the tourist police or hotel staff with you as there are a group of men always waiting outside the shop to probably stop people going in.

  20. Lucky says:

    We were almost scammed today!!
    As we were leaving the Reclining Buddha we stopped to ask for directions to this really nice old guy selling water. We asked him how far Chinatown was, and if we could walk there. He said it was to far and that it was better to take a TukTuk, he told us to stop at the Black Buddha (which turned out to be gold!) and at the Export Center to buy some souvenirs, because they were on our way and that the tuktuk driver could take us there before dropping us of in Chinatown (all for 60baths) . The driver took us to this tiny temple were we met this guy who also recommended us to go to the Export Center. When we arrived at the export center we expected to see house decor and little souvenirs, when we saw all they had was jewerly we told them we where not interested and they insisted that we should go upstairs and look at their tailor shop as I was walking upstairs I had bad feeling about things and told my husband we should leave. Normally I am crazy about jewerly and about shopping. Thankfully I was not this time!
    We went back to the tuktuk driver and told him to drop us off in Chinatown. He drove 200mts and said here you are Chinatown. Since didnt know if it was or not we got off but we could tell he wasnt happy! Now I get it…he didnt get his cut! Of course we werent in Chinatown and had to take another tuktuk.

  21. Jack says:

    We asked a “policeman” near the reclining Buddha where the entrance is. He informed us it’s currently closed and will reopen at 1 pm (of course not true as we realized later) but recommended to visit the lucky buddha in the meantime. It was nice to meet a local person speaking very well English and helping us…..
    Lucky Buddha, nearly nobody was around only an old lady and a “gentlemen”. He knew the world, had been to Europe, Australia etc. Talked for a while and finally recommended to visit the Premier Sapphire Factory as it was the last day open to tourists. Telling us, he always buys 3 items to finance his trips around the world. There we go with greed….
    TukTuk to the shop, bought something for my wife and left the shop with a good feeling… On top of everything, the lady offered us a driver for the entire day, how nice. We told her we will continue with the TukTuk but….. TukTuk was suddenly not running anymore, problems with the engine (probably needed to cash in his provision…).
    Sitting in a cool taxi, the whole story felt suddenly a bit too nice. Back to hotel, checking the internet opened our eyes widely. As some others above also described, we thought we have traveled the world and are cautious enough but apparently still stupid. Our story is not new but maybe we can help you with the following:
    – Write down the address of the Sapphire shop on a normal pice of paper
    – Show it to a TukTuk Driver and ask them to bring you near the shop (100 m away) and wait until you are done (don’t pay before). They are all afraid and won’t bring you to the shop otherwise as they sometimes also benefit…
    – If you want to give your super Sapphire back, take already 20 % of the total amount with you in Cash. They won’t let you out of the contract otherwise (I tried hard).
    – Ask them to “VOID” the credit card payment. Wait in the shop until you have a confirmation from your Credit Card company it’s done and the original transaction is canceled.
    – have some beers afterwards…. :-)

    The only thing I still don’t know, was it dangerous to go there just as a couple? If you have a local person helping you, probably better.

    Take care travel friends.

  22. James says:

    I was caught walking in the Grand Palace area and scammed by the now familiar line of “The Palace is closed until 3.30pm but in the meantime take a tuk tuk to the “Lucky Buddha” followed by the Factory Export Centre followed by.. etc etc”. The line given to me at the lucky buddha by a very nice Thai gentleman and also (and this makes me so angry) an american who seemed like a genuine tourist were so convincing that I was ready to buy gems before I had even got to the Premier Sapphire Factory Export Center. I bought three items amounting to about GBP 3,400 and left with a car and driver supplied by Premier Sapphire to go and see other places for the rest of the afternoon. In retrospect, I think the car and driver were given just to keep me away from an internet cafe for the next few hours.

    As soon as I got to my hotel I went online to check Premier Sapphire and of course immediately realised my stupid mistake. I rang my credit card company immediately and tried to stop the transaction but it was too late. These transactions are so called “guaranteed” transactions and once authorised, cannot be revoked in the first instance. However, I did register the fact that I felt I had been scammed and was told that I should take it up with their “Retail Disputes” department on my return to the UK.

    I couldn’t go back to Premier Sapphire as I had an early flight home the next day so as soon as I got home, I made an appointment at Covent Garden (a well known gem dealing area in London) and got an independent appraisal of the items I had bought. In every case, the apparent weight of sapphire and diamonds was a little less than as stated in the Certificates of Guarantee provided by Premier Sapphir, and of course the value of the items was far less than I had paid. I sent all this with a complaint to my card’s retail disputes division, and after some weeks, they have agreed to “charge back” what I have paid to the retailer’s bank and at the time of writing, I have been re-imbursed the amount I paid. Now it may be that the retailer (Premier Sapphire or their bank) may dispute the charge back and then we get into some sort of negotiations, but I suspect they will prefer to let it go.

    Some advice to others who wish to get their money back:-
    Don’t complain that you have paid more than the goods are worth….there is no law against that!
    Try and prove that the goods sold were “not as described”. There are numerous laws and agreements that prohibit this and the credit card companies try and abide by them.
    Point out that Mastercard, Visa and your own bank who are members of Mastercard and Visa, must know about these retailers very soon after they start trading (from all the complaints) and yet they still extend credit card merchant facilities to them. Ask them if this is because they also make a lot of money from these fraudulent transactions!

    I hope the Thai Tourist police find better ways of controlling these operations some time in the future but I am not holding my breath. My instinct is to deliberately fall prey again the next time I am in Bangkok and when I get to the Lucky Buddha, to beat the c**p out of the guys there :) It wouldn’t do much good though and I would probably end up in gaol myself.

  23. David says:

    Hi James

    I was scammed yesterday 26.08.12 in near identical circumstances and flew back into London this morning. I bought 3 pieces and realised that I had been scammed as a quick web search revealed the truth, unfortunately I was already at the airport and was too late to return to the shop. Thanks for posting the good advice regards the complaints procedure with your CC Company, I have already registered my concern with my Visa provider but they say the amount concerned must be posted on my account before I can raise a complaint / dispute. Can you give me the name of the Covent Garden retailer where you had the items valued? and any other advice would of course be most helpful in retrieving lost thousands

    Thanks David

    • James says:

      Hi David,

      Sorry only just seen your post today. I went to Hatton Jewels in Covent Garden (0800 043 3573) and feel free to mention my name (James Timothy). Be sure to ask them for a “Report” not a “Valuation” since the credit card company is not interested in the value (or lack of it) but in evidence that the items are not as described. Ideally the report should make direct reference and comparison to the certificates of guarantee that you received from Premier Sapphire. Ask them also to look for evidence that the sapphires (if any) have been subject to “lattice diffusion” treatment and if so, to put that on the report as well. This is because certificates of guarantee should state whether any extra enhancement treatments have been used.

      My situation at present is that my CC has done a charge back to the merchant’s bank and credited my CC account accordingly. In theory, the merchant’s bank could come back and dispute the charge back….although somehow I doubt that will happen. I will keep the jewelry for a year and if they have not claimed it back within that time, I think I will be free to dispose of them as I see fit and ironically actually make some money out of the whole thing :)

      Best of luck with your CC company. Maybe we should all get together and mount a campaign against Mastercard and Visa who can put a stop to most of this activity very easily in my view.

      James

    • James says:

      Sorry…Hatton Garden, NOT Covent Garden! Stupid slip :)

  24. Steven Wild says:

    Just flew back into Heathrow this morning and i am another victim of this scam.
    Luck Budda,guy in temple called Andy and all the other scammers that work with them .
    Just find it hard to believe that the card companys don,t pull the plug on them.

  25. Steven Wild says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9BvNZKv-w0&playnext=1&list=PL62FC6A4362FE0F47&feature=results_video
    I know it it to late for most of us who have been scammed but this link if posted on various forums may just stop some one else from being scammed.

  26. Anon says:

    7-11 worker on the street – ‘grand palace closed, should get tuk tuk tour, be carefull, only yellow number plates, don’t pay more than 20bhat’
    tuk-tuk driver (nearly ran over us trying to stop us) ‘grand palace closed, tour of city, stop at sponsor & expo centre 30 baht’
    I had already been measured for a suit earlier (but didn’t buy) so figured I was on to them – ’20 baht’, ok lets go
    At happy budda met the now infamous andy who works in HSBC in London, new the jewlers in london and dublin etc etc.
    Premier sapphire next, suspicious still bought into the whole story, actually felt we were doing something wrong buy buying the ‘gift’ to sell on so didn’t ask questions we probably should have. Also figured worst case scenario the tax thing is a con but we still have jewelry which is worth what we paid for it, no gain but no loss.
    Waiting until Monday to get it valued but not feeling hopeful, fairly sure they switched rings. potentially 950GBP down the rotten Bangkok drain.

    Only in Bangkok for a day, returning to Ireland so returning to the store is not an option. Good to hear of any success stories through credit card company? (Im assuming nobody has managed the80% refund without being at the store?)

  27. David says:

    Hi James

    Many thanks for this, we have a duty to expose these robbers and to help poor unwitting future victims who are fortunate at enough at least to look on here.

    I got a report already from Jay’s Jewellers in Hatton Garden which confirmed the authenticity of the goods as 18 Carat Gold & White Gold unhallmarked, and estimated the max weight at the same as the gaurantee although they estimate the stones true carat weight to be slightly less they couldn’t confirm this without removing the stones which is not really an option (at this stage) nothing mentioned about lattice diffussion so in the event I need second opinion I will visit the jeweler you mention and ask for this also.
    At present I have sent the report and copies of guarantee with covering letter and retail dispute form to my Visa CC company – Barclaycard – and am awaiting their contact. I note you got a charge back to the merchants bank, are you with Barcalycard by any chance? Surely these CC Companies collate & share information on these fraudulent activities and must be able to block transactions from these bogus operators or withdraw their merchant sevices……

    I’ll report more when I get a response……

    • James says:

      Hi David

      No I am with NatWest. That said, Mastercard and Visa are global companies that the individual banks subscribe to, so the general principals are the same. Someone needs to go after Mastercard and Visa themselves I think but this would need a big campaign and of course funds :(

      James

    • kati says:

      hi david,
      just wondering if you heard something from your visa card? I contacted my bank aswell but i m not sure if i can get a report as there are no gemologists where i live. just would like to know how it went and if you had to take apart the jewelery to weigh the stones. otherwise what would need to be in the report?
      thanks kati

  28. super stupid says:

    Got scamed too on Friday 14.09…

  29. Paula Fernhout says:

    We also were stuppid to fall in to their trap. On 31 of august 2012 we bought a braclet for 148.000 Baht and payed with our Visa Card. On the way to the hotel, because we didn’t have the Visa with us, we started to get suspicious. But so stuppid we are, we did pay anyway in our hotel. This was our last day in Bangkok and we were about to leave the next morning 1ste of september to our country, the Netherlands, on 12.20 p.m. We put the braclet in the save and get on to the last shopping. Then on 21.00 in the evening we started to check the internet for this store. And we found out this was a scame. There was a tip that we must go to the Tourist Police so we did that immidiately. It was to late in the evening for the police to call the store. They say that we must come back to the police office before 9.00 a.m. Our taxi should bring us to the airport on 8.30 for our flight to home. We called our taxi-driver to come earlier to go first to the police office. He was very helpfull. The police contact the store at 9.00 o’clock and talked to the people. They say that we must come quickly and followe the rules in the contract to agree 80% refund. Because the lack of time we agreed on 80% and did not negosiate for more refund what the police advised. They told the refund on Visa would take within 15 working-days. We should get 119.300 Baht refund. We agreed saidly and signed the agreement and left quickly to the plane. Our vacantion to Thailand ended with a very bad feeling. We didn’t look at our Visa invoice until 3 weeks later, 20ste of september and than we luckely found out that the refund was booked on the same day as the debet. We didn’t expacted to get the money back. We believe that we managed to get the 80% only because we did contact the Tourist Police. We read for some people that the get to the store on their own and didn’t come into the store. But it was a big lesson to not believe in the kindless of the people to help you to a better place for shopping and the Boeddha. It cost us afterall 773 euro’s of air. It was a present for my birthday on the 1st of september and our anniversary for 21 years on 30the of august. Its onforgettable that we trapped in the lies because we were warned enough. We were cready and so we didn’t see the scame. It is a big criminal team with many people, from the nice man on the street, to the tuktuk that brings you to the Boeddha with entre for 40 Baht with the securityman on the door, to the man who talked to us by the Boeddha. We must waith in the tuktuk because the tuktukman must go to the toilet and put the tuktuk for another car. The man of the care came and want to go out. He said he would wait, not in a hurry, and started his story about a sapphier ring. We are shamed that we believed all the nice people. Be warnedddd

  30. Steven Wild says:

    Fell the same scam as i reported earlier.
    We had the saphire ring we bought valued at the jewellers in our hotel in Bangkok.
    Finding out it was only valued at a fraction of what we paid we were lucky enough to get the hotel security to go with us the next day for a 80% buy back.
    About 10 days later it 80% was credited back to our account.
    The buy back form you sign stipulates that both partys are happy with the transaction and that no further action will be taken.
    I did go into the place all guns blazing and the place was full of potential punters,
    Was led upstairs for my refund and 20 mins later on my way out noticed the place was empty and lights out.
    I dont thing they wanted me to warn any one in the shop they were in the process of getting scammed.

  31. T.K says:

    I am another victim …even I am an Asian – the organization is just big and very “persuasive” .

    The next day after I purchased , I discovered the whole scam by surfing internet that so many victims have the same story happened in Grand Palace …so the 7 days special sales cannot be real.

    Therefore i have went back the shop and at least to get back for 80% refund …the tourist police next Rachadamnoen Stadium is just useless , and I cannot stop thinking they got tea money from the cheats. The shop representative has signed two agreement with me , one document said refund of 80% with the thailand bank title, and another is the description of what jewels i hv returned to them . I am using Visa card that issued by Citi Bank , what I can further do is to raise out the charge dispute and try to stop this transaction…. but is anyone knows if Bank can help in this scam?

    the only lucky thing is i discovered it early and able to go to the shop personally on the next day, i am now waiting for the bank further news but it said the total investigation will take at least 3-6 mths…

    A really good life lesson.

  32. Fifi says:

    Oh no!!!! just realized I’m fooled. On June 2011, I had vacations with my friends to Bangkok. Same story like above…when we came to Palace, a fat tourist police informed us it was closed. Then he showed us his sapphire ring and suggest we go there. He got a tuk tuk and talked to the driver then said to us: ok you can go with him dont worry just pay 30Bath,he will bring you to other place and temple…dont forget to buy jewelry. When we were in temple (sorry forgot that name) suddenly a stranger man come and said: hi my name Andi, I am Singoperan, I lived in London and loved been here because I want to buy jewelry (he showed us receipt) and sale in London,also my friend from your country buy jewelry from here and sell out to (he mention one of our luxury mall in our country) you know how much they pay back? 10X ” ….then he talked to tuk tuk driver….
    Tuk tuk driver bring us to the Premier Sapphire Factory Export Center Co LTD and I purchased a bracelet.
    But a few month ago when I want to the party and check my bracelet but “my sapphire” not shiny anymore….just rembered when I have talked with my client,she just mention,be careful if we go to Bangkok dont ever ever ever trust them to buy any jewerly from there accept you have Bangkok friend and they can bring you to real jewerly store…
    Hoping police catch them and put in jail.

  33. Clog says:

    Fell in the same trap. Still awaiting the credit card charge so I’ve got time to get a report made by gemologist and arrange a charge-back. According to the local jewelery it are real diamonds, gold and sapphires.

    Q. for James: Have you still got your money back from your CC company or did this scam-gang disputed your charge-back successfully?

    • James says:

      The merchant has queried the charge back but not with any arguments worthy of note. However, the merchant’s bank also tried to query procedure. They questioned whether I had attempted to contact the merchant before making the chargeback because this is a requirement of Mastercard (and presumably Visa). I found Mastercards regulations for making chargebacks and it makes for interesting reading. My chargeback was done under “Reason Code 4853″ – see section 3.24 in the document. They even use misrepresentation of gem sizes as a sample reason for a chargeback :).It is important to follow correct procedure and my bank did little to ensure I understood what is going on. My current status is that I have replied (via my bank) to the merchants objections and so far haven’t heard whether they are still disputing the chargeback. In the worst case I suppose it will go through an arbitration procedure but I am hopeing that they will give up before then. Here is a link to the relevant PDF http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CCcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mastercard.com%2Fus%2Fmerchant%2Fpdf%2FTB_CB_Manual.pdf&ei=zfOOUN7qGamg0QWA5YDICQ&usg=AFQjCNGTPc9Qp7_D27a9C3Kvm5aU58JCTA

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi James,

        I have done the same as you. Can you please give me an update on the stays I never actually took the jewelry so they are trying to send it to me. That is reason enough to charge back.

        I was at snp jewelry I told my credit card company that they frauded the jewelry.

      • Clog says:

        Thanks for your reply James, really appreciated!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Hi,

    I just got scammed two days ago at snp jewelry.

    I feel so dumb after everything I read. I don’t know how I missed it.

    I told my cc my card was used without my knowledge and I never intended to purchase these items. I probably shouldnt do that and tell them I was just frauded.

    Cost was 3541 Canadian, I plan on going back nov 9th with the Thai police and the department of
    Interior trade (DIY)
    If anyone wants to come with and make a joint claim please let me know.

    Totally ruined my holiday.

  35. David says:

    Hi Kati & other victims
    A current update on my situation is as follows. Barclaycard has rejected my claim for a visa charge back on the grounds that the report I had done had degrees of variation. e.g. the Certificate of guarantee states 2.6 Carat wight and the report states estimated 2.3 – 2.6 Carats. I am in the process of obtaining a second opinion from Hatton Jewels as used by James. They say that they can be more accurate in their estimation of weight and clarity / imperfections and treatment to the stones however without removing the stones completely cannot give a difinitive independent weights. I’m told that to remove the stones the items have to be sent to a laboratory and this is a very expensive procedure therefore cost prohibitive as I would be throwing good money after bad. The reports themselves have cost me circa £80 each so far.
    Further update to follow in due course

  36. Fellow scam victim says:

    I too fell into this scam…….I felt all along that it was a racket. However, I did buy some earrings. I had them appraised as soon as I got back to the states and they appraised for about 20% under what I paid for them. They were real stones as advertised just not as valuable as advertised. I paid with a credit card and thought of fighting it but decided to enjoy my earrings and I laugh at my self for falling into the “too good to be true” saying. They will always remind me of Bangkok. I am so sorry for the travelers that have to fight through this….good luck to you. What is so unfortunate is that these scams give foreign travel locations a bad name. Keep your chin up, learn from this, and keep on exploring the world.

  37. Anonymous says:

    DEAR ALL,

    JUST A QUICK UPDATE!!

    After realising I was scammed I went straight to the Tourist Police (154 Tourist Police, National Stadium, Rama I Road, Wangmai, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Bangkok, Thailand) Getting there took a while as it seemed every taxi and tuk tuk I asked didnt know where it was!! Funny that.. There ALL in on it!!!! Finally made it there at 8:30am. I calmly reported the incident and asked if I could be accompanied to the store for a refund as I was a single woman and felt very uneasy with these people that could of been some kind of Bangkok Mafia for all I knew.. I heard not to get loud and emotional about this as Thai people dont react to shouting and swearing so I put on the heart broken vulnerable single female act. I didn’t want to get locked in the store and intimidated. The tourist police called the store to let them know I was coming with an officer for my refund. The gentleman on the line said he couldnt give me more then 80% back, I didnt agree but just told him I’d be coming to the store shortly. The tourist police called for a real police officer to accompany me and after a wait he took me back to the store. My tactic was to not loose my cool. I was taken straight up stairs. I simply and calmly requested my money back. I didn’t give any reason but said I’d seen their scam online and wanted 100% back. I then sat back in the chair and didnt move. I gave the owners the complete silent treatment, poker face and long serious staring into there eyes to show I was not intimidated.. I felt their uneasy energy as they were the only ones talking the whole time :) This body language gave me a little hope. There just a bunch of cowboys that have found a loop hole. They kept saying they couldnt do any better then 80% and if I didnt accept they couldn’t refund the ring I had bought. So I just sat there and waited and waited.. picked my nails and waited. I just didnt say a word and kept staring at the ceiling. After some time we entered into some negotiation where finally we agreed on an 88% refund. If I hadnt booked a flight to Chiang Mai leaving at 15:30 that afternoon I would of waited for a bit more. Not great but better then not getting a penny I thought and also I took acceptance that I’d been a fool and taught myself a lesson for being so gullible and stupid . The policemen that accompanies was NOT the greatest and kept looking at his watch as if he had somewhere better to be. Once the deal had been signed he seemed more enthusiastic on taking pictures of me signing the papers and him with me doing the refund deal kind of like they do in westerns when the sherif kills an outlaw and takes a photo of him with the dead body. VERY insensitive and inappropriate!!!! He also ran out the store quicker then I could pick up the papers I’d signed.. I was frightened he might abandon me at the store!!! Although he was present I felt like he wasnt really supporting me as I would of liked. He kept speaking with them in Thai and I have no idea what was said. How was I to know he might be in on it with everyone else in this hell hole. Once the deal was agreed I was rushed to sign confirmation of refund and hurried to leave the store. I was told my refund of 52,096THB would be back in my account within 14 working days (feels like a life time away) I signed two documents one confirming the agreement and one giving the transaction card details for the refund. After leaving the store I realised they didnt actually take my card and process a refund on a machine. I was told by the tourist police that this is not a problem I will still get my money back!!! This has put a temporary dampener on my travels. Luckily I’m still in Thailand for three months and if I dont get my money back in my account I’m be straight back at the tourist police station and to the Premier Sapphire FACTORY EXPORT CENTER ON LUK-LUANG ROAD, MAHANAK, DUSIT, BANGKOK 10300 BANGKOK. Part of me feels confident I will. I know there are many people that never get a single penny back as they have already left Thailand. I went back to my hotel checked out immediately and took my previously booked flight to Chaing Mai as I wanted to get out of Bangkok as soon as possible or at least until I get my refund back into my account. The very helpful Tourist Police Officer that assisted me gave me confidence and once my money is back I will be writing to his superiors to sing his praises. After going to the shop to get my refund I went back to the tourist police office to do a full written report. Once there the place was full with people that had fallen victim to the 20THB tuk tuk and con artist Tailors and fake gem salesmen. While waiting we compared our embarrassing stories. BANGKOK KHO SAN ROAD AREA ISNT A NICE PLACE.. I FEEL SO ASHAMED OF TRUSTING PEOPLE THAT SIT IN HOLY PLACES OF WORSHIP. I NEVER THOUGHT THE DEVIL WOULD BE SITTING IN THE TEMPLES OF BANGKOK BUT THEY ARE THERE. PART OF ME WANTS TO GO BACK AND PRETEND TO BE A NAIVE TOURIST AGAIN.. THIS TIME ARMED WITH A BOTTLE OF PETROL AND SOME MATCHES… ALTHOUGH JUST A SIMPLE SPIT IN THE GUYS FACE MIGHT MAKE ME FEEL A BIT BETTER. Good luck to all that are trying to get their money back. I’ll keep you posted on my success or lack of in the next 13 days and counting! :)

    • kati says:

      hey, when was that? i just try to figure out if the shop still exsists.
      thanks

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey!!!

        FURTHER UPDATE!!!!

        MY AGREED 88% REFUND FOUND ITS WAY BACK INTO MY ACCOUNT!!!! IT WAS THERE WITHIN 14 DAYS… MAYBE I WAS LUCKY… MAYBE IT WAS HOW I WENT ABOUT IT.. FOR DETAILS FOR HOW I DID IT SEE ABOUT… IF YOU SEE ANDY IN THE TEMPLE KICK HIM IN THE NUTS FOR ME AND ALL THE OTHERS ON HERE… BEST THING TO DO IS JUST TAKE A 20THB TUK TUK AND HAVE HIM DRIVE YOU AROUND TOWN FOR A COUPLE HOURS.. SEE HOW UPSET HE IS WHEN YOU DONT BUY A THING FROM ALL THE STORES HE TAKES YOU TO AND YOU HAND OVER 20THB AFTER 3 HOURS OF FLYING ROUND THE SIGHTS TO BANGKOK. LOL

        GOOD LUCK TO ALL THAT ARE TRYING TO GET THEIR MONEY BACK..

        PLEASE MAKE OTHER PEOPLE AWARE OF THIS SCAM AS ITS BEEN GOING ON SINCE THE 1950’S AND YET STILL SO MANY VICTIMS.. ME INCLUDED ;)

  38. Stupid Girl says:

    Haizz!! I’, realized I’m fooled. On 12 Nov 12, same story like above…when we came to Palace, a tuk tuk driver offer us to take us few temple for view and take photo. he suggested to we go sapphere factory export center and said we are very lucky becauset that day is their center open to tourist for selling the sapphere in the year and normal they only sell for wholesellers. When we were in temple (sorry forgot that name) suddenly a stranger man come and said: hi my name Andi, I am Singoperan, I lived in London and loved been here because I want to buy jewelry (he showed us receipt) and sale in London,also my friend from your country buy jewelry from here and sell out to (he mention one of our luxury mall in our country) you know how much they pay back? 10X ” ….then he talked to tuk tuk driver….
    Tuk tuk driver bring us to the Premier Sapphire Factory Export Center Co LTD and I purchased a blackstar sapphare ring and blue sapphere with diamonds pandant and total i bought ard SGD$2K. But today i bring to examine these, they said these 2 are not sapphere and only stone!! And the value only SGD$150!!!
    I would like go back there and ask for refund.. Anyone can give me advice, please?? And i need do a report by Gemologist before i back to shop and if i go alone to shop, is it dangerous??

  39. kati says:

    hey everyone,
    time is running out for me cuz of the 3 months returning the jewellery.
    i m thinking about flying back to bangkok to deal with it, not sure if it is worth all the stress. is anyone planning on going back too?

    do you handle the stuff with the DIT (department of internal trade)? anyone sent the jewellery there?
    i just try to figure out what the best thing is.
    i also filed a dispute with mastercard…but i don t think that i can prove anything.

  40. David says:

    Update…………

    My CC company are refusing to authorise a charge back to the merchants bank as they say I have not ‘proved’ that the items are not as described due to the fact that the jewellers report lists only the est. carat weights of the stones. Short of having the stones removed and individually weighed at a laboratory then reset (which is cost prohibitive) I appear to have run out of options – any ideas anyone?

  41. Peter says:

    Premier Sapphire factory export centre
    We are seasoned travellers but were also taken in by this scam…told by an “official tourist guide” that the Royal palace is closed today. He kindly gets us a tuk tuk to go to a couple of temples and the Sapphire export centre. At the first temple (of the marble Buddha) we meet friendly Andy of HSBC who is the only person in the temple. In conversation he mentions Premier Sapphire, tells us it’s the last day in the only week in the year when they sell to individuals not businesses. He tells us he comes every year at this time and shows us a receipt for purchase of £8000 of jewellery from which he intends to make a significant profit on resale back in UK, just like he has done many times before.
    We get to the sapphire place and buy some nice looking articles but the salesman only allows us to purchase £3000 worth of goods. Once back outside I become suspicious…how come Andy had a receipt for £8000, what was Andy doing in the temple anyway if he comes back every year why revisit the temples on what was apparently the same 40Baht tuk tuk deal as us?
    I ask the tuk tuk driver to take us back to the temple where we met Andy …he is reluctant. I get .it’s getting late, traffic is building etc.” but I persist. On the way there I notice him making a mobile phone call so it’s no surprise that when we get there is no sign of Andy
    Back at the hotel we looked up the company on the internet and saw all the adverse reports. So next day I phone to say we wanted to return the goods. As some posts suggested that it was difficult to get back into the shop I told them I would come at a specific time and if refused entry would return with a tourist policeman. When I got there I took in with me my taxi driver (who very kindly agreed to accompany me) so that I has a Thai speaking witness present
    I was asked to fill in 2 forms and told that it would take up to 15 days for the refund to be credited to my account and that in accordance with the agreement we had signed when we made the purchase we would only get 80% refunded .After some discussion about the refund amount and timescales, which was clearly going nowhere, I left with copies of all the paperwork and was ushered out accompanied by the store “heavies” who made sure contact with the other customers was not possible.
    After 10 days the refund had still not been made but when I checked on day 15 I found that the 80% refund had been credited to my account and backdated to the day on which the purchase was made.
    So in a sense it’s been a success in recovering the major portion of our outlay.
    I’m sure that one day someone will return to the temple to catch up with Andy and give him some memorable advice, possibly in a physical as well as verbal way! I’m sure we will all wish that person every success!
    So finally don’t beat yourself up if you have been taken in by this scam. It’s a very sophisticated one which I suspect may also involve backhanders to some real officials as well.
    I will revisit this site next week and answer any questions anyone may have. Incidentally I had made plans about what I might do in case the refund was not forthcoming in the 15 day if anyone is interested

    • Mary says:

      Hi Peter,

      What had you planned to do if you hadn’t gotten your money? We are just about to hit day 15 (tomorrow) and are worried it isn’t going to go through. My partner and I are in Vietnam at the moment, almost at the end of our month of travels, and we are considering flying back to Bangkok if the money isn’t in our account tomorrow, but we’d like to avoid that as it is only adding the costs we are already losing!

      Thanks
      Mary

      • Peter says:

        Hi Mary

        So sorry I was unable to get back to you in time but I checked the site a week after making my posting as promised

        My plan was to get my bank to initiate a dispute resolution procedure which would involve doing a trace on the refund. If Premier Sapphire had taken no action to make the refund – and I had all the paperwork from them- then I was going to inform the Thai Police of the criminal act of Fraud ( remember the Tourist police can’t file crime reports) and then to use the legal element of my travel insurance to commence a civil action in Thailand to recover the money. I was going to ask the British Embassy for a list of recommended local lawyers and give this to my insurance company

        Like you it went to the wire for repayment and I too was consideing staying on in Bangkok after returning from Cambodia to get things started. I was going to do this by evsisting Premier Sapphire and telling them precisely what I intended to do….(and then doing it anyway unless they came up with a cash refund there and then) I would on that occassion have taken with me a tourist policeman.

        I hope this is helpful and again sorry that you posted after I had revisited this site . I do so hope your rebate came through.
        best wishes
        Peter

  42. Coupel says:

    We are a couple who fall in the same trap on 29th November 2012. This time Andy lived in London and worked for Skanska. And he told us the same story as below mention.

    We were so stupid to trust him. We went to the Premier Sapphire factory export centre and bought for THB 135.000. We did not have enough money, why we were driving back to the hotel with a person form the store. I feel very bad and my boyfriend has also the very bad feeling about this, why we seek on the internet. First we call our bank but they could not help us. After we tried to find another Jewell store to ask them to look at the jewels, but fortunately all the stores were closed. Then we asked in the reception on our hotel, and they knew this story. Next morning we went to the tourist police with a security person form our hotel.
    If any, I will recommend all to ask for help in the reception at the hotel and/or go to the police immediately.

    We reported this scam and after we should negotiate with the people from the store. We were told, as we have reported this within 24 hour, we were justified to get 90% refunded. After some negotiation we ended to get 95% refunded. We went to the store with the jewels and signed the agreement. Today, 10 days after, we have NOT received the payment back. I hope for them that we will get our money back, as we did not told them that we have some friends in Bangkok.

    We felt very disappointed and stupid, but I think that we have learned about this. Normally we are very carefully why we could not understand that we trusted the tourist police, Andy and the store.

    • Mary says:

      Hi, did you receive the refund yet? I fell for.the scam the day after you, and it is now day 14 and no sign of the refund.

  43. Couple says:

    We fall in the same trap on 29th of November 2012.

    It is the same story as below mention, and this time Andy lived in London and worked for Skanska. We so stupid and bought for THB 135.000.

    As we did not have enough money, we went to out hotel with a person from the store. After, we had a very bad feeling and google the company at the internet. First we call our bank but they could not help us. After we tried to find a Jewell store to get them look at the jewell, but all the jewell was fortunately closed. We decided to ask in the reception at our hotel. The manager at the hotel knew the stories, and next morning we went to the tourist police with a security from our hotel.

    The police also knew this trap and scam. We were told as we reported this within 24 hours, we were justified to get 90% refunded. After negotiation with the store, we ended 95%. Today after 10 days, we have NOT received any money back! But I hope to get the money within 5-7 days, as they told us that it could take up to 3 weeks (and We don’t not why!). We did not tell the store that we have some friends in Bangkok, we they must help us if the store not keep their promise to refund the money.

    We fell very disappointed and said about the whole situation. Normally we are very carefully person, why we were very surprised about our actions to buy all the jewels.

    I will recommend all to report this to the tourist police immediately. If any, maybe ask at your hotel to get any help.

    I wish the worst for the people who are involved in this scam!

  44. jennifer says:

    It happened to me today all the same way…palace closed, go see happy buddha and standing buddah util you reach sapphire factory export…1500 USD later I realised when I got back to hotel all a scam…it is late now am going to tourist police with security guy from my office…will see what happens and report back,

  45. JHT_OWL says:

    I was having a short trip in Bangkok with my wife last week. We planned to visit Grand Palace & Reclining Buddha in our second day. In the morning about 10am, we took a cab and alighting at a junction where 5minutes walking distance to the Grand Palace main gate.

    Before we cross the main road, a middle-age man wearing a green shirt (with a badge on it and look like government uniform) approaching us and ask us if we are local? We are so honest and tell him that we are tourist and intend to visit the Grand Palace. He then telling us that the Grand Palace is close on that morning due to Thailand Buddha Day and only reopen again after 1pm.

    And he suggest us to visit Wat Arun which is just somewhere nearby but we told him that we already visit it the day before. At that moment, I was thought that he is a cabby whose trying to find business to provide some land service for walkby tourist. But then, he ask me again if I had a map with me, and indicate some other places that I can spend 2hrs+ and come back the the Grand Palace in 1pm. The itinerary is a less famous Sitting Buddha->An Export Center->Palace where the Thai King stay currently. Especially for the export center, it is a global wholeseller point of Ruby & sapphire. It only open for traders from worldwide but the government will open for tourist once a year for 7days. Just happend it was the last day on that day we are there and we can get a good deal due to waived off 190% tax to tourist. But the distance was a bit far from Grand Palace, and we knew that those cabby/Tuk-Tuk driver will charge tourist at least 100 baht from point-to-point. Again, this man tell us that for that particular week, all the government owned Tuk-Tuk will only charge 40baht for this 2hours trip due to the buddha day ceremony. This is indeed a good deal and we ask him how to identify between governments owned Tuk-Tuk and private Tuk-Tuk. Coincidentally, a Tuk-Tuk just pass by us and the man stop the driver and ask him to bring us to all three places with 40 baht.

    We thought we are so lucky and met a friendly local during this trip. When we reach the first temple, a staff tells us that we got to wait for another 10 minutes as the Buddha day ceremony is on-going but finished soon. So we sit at a bench where another guy is already there and he said he also waiting for the worship once ceremony over. During the waiting, the guy asks us where we came from and he said he is from Phuket and graduated from Australia. He had been stationed in Singapore and Hong Kong for several years with Bangkok National Bank. Then, he asks us what is our next itinerary and he tell us that the export center really a place must visit when he learned to know our next spot. According to him, he is a lifetime member from the export center and he shows us a receipt which he just purchased a set of jewellery at around S$9000. But he can sell in Hong Kong or Singapore at close to S$20000. He was so knowledgeable and tells us where to sell this jewellery in both countries. So he suggest us might get some for investment and bring back Singapore to earn back our tour cost. After 15minutes of the conversation, the staff tells us the ceremony had extended for another 1 hr. So that guy suggests us to visit the Export center then come back again. So we went back to the Tuk-Tuk driver who waiting for us outside the temple.

    After a short journey, we arrived the export center but it doesn’t look glamorous but just like an old shophouse along the street. The “center” name “Tak Fah” along the Look-Luang Rd. When we go in, the sales manager approaching us and show us around for various kinds of gems & stones. And she also show us the international warranty/certificate with Thai government stamp and assured that we can sell back at 70% of purchased price at any point of time. This is where I started my suspicious and I started to google “Tak Fah”, “Bangkok Sapphire Export Center” while my wife talking with the sales manager. Apparently, a lot of threads related to the fraud & scam appeared after I google it. I straight away tell them that I don’t have enough cash and I don’t have my credit card with me as we just came for short trip but didn’t expect to have such “good deal” in our trip. And the selling price is pretty high where at least S$7000 and above. After we left, I tell the Tuk-Tuk driver go back to Grand Palace immediately but he insist to bring us to another factory outlet where can get much cheaper deal. But I refuse to alight and insist going back to Grand Palace. During the journey back to the Grand Palace, I pretend that know nothing but just chit-chat for nothing with the driver. And after I paid him for 40 baht and walk to the Grand Palace at about 12pm, it was not close and it was so crowded.

    The last thing came into my mind is how these gang going to divide these 40baht??? And I feel so pity for the Tuk-Tuk driver by earning nothing from me for these 2 hours and waste so much of his petrol..:)

  46. Mary says:

    After 18 days the money has turned up back in our accounts. We rang them last week, on day 14, to find out what the status was and we were told that because of public holidays there was a delay in processing the payment. We then looked up the holidays online to check if they were telling us the truth and there had been 2 holidays in the last 2 weeks. We were told 15 days when we went back for the refund, so 18 days had us pretty worried and on the phone to our bank to see what they could do and our next step would have been lodging a claim with our bank’s dispute department. This morning we logged on and thankfully the money was there.

    A very expensive lesson learnt and we still feel pretty rubbish about it all, but at least we got the 80% back.

    • Peter says:

      Mary I have just replied to your earlier posting giving what I had intened to do if the money had not been refunded ..delighted your rebate, like ours, came through OK ….eventually!

      • Olga says:

        Hei , maybe u would like to help me to. Same story with me, im back at home now. In europe, dont have friends in Tailand and dont plan to go there again. What i need to do, money are gone from kreditcard. What options i have? or dont have?? Any advice will be great! Where i need to write, who i can trust there?

  47. Amit says:

    Hi
    I fall in the same trap, How to get my 80% refund, i have paid close to 73000 Bhat for 2 saphire rings in cash?
    What should we do ? I am currently in Singapore, do i need to travel back to Bangkok? Any one who can help me there?

    Thanks
    Amit

  48. Sapphires Scam "Takfah" Prachathipai Rd, Bangkhuprom, Pranakorn Bangkok 10200 says:

    Avoid Tuk Tuk
    Avoid Lucky Bhudda Tour
    Avoid Factory promoter
    Grand Palace is open until 16:00.

    Now it’s simple to write. I can do this important advice to other tourist in Bangkok, but last december I was involved in a scam from this people that apparently are gentle, available, Buddhist. Ask you, where are you from, where are you from? Can I help you? never answer, because are a mafia.
    Tuk Tuk offer was only 20 bath to visit different temples, famous Lucky Buddha, Big Buddha (15 meters) etc. He said that the tourist authority pay the tuk tuk and for this reason is cheap. After two temples the driver brought me in the first shop “Sap” to buy handmade clothes. Next stop was black Buddha, where a man said to wait for a cerimony. Another man told me about Thailand sapphires and the simple business that is was possible: buying in a few price without taxes in that week and resell for an higher cost to the jewelers. But this opportunity to buy it was only opened for a week. He wrote me the name of the Sapphires center on a paper “Takfah” and in few minutes we went there. I buyed a ring for 26.400 bath. The sales assured me that the value is high and I can resell the ring for a price three times higher. He said me that Buddhist people doesn’t hurt anybody and and can trust him and he said only the truth. I’m feeling so stupid now thinking about all the bullsheet that this person was able to say. I was alone and I was thinking that I was lucky to do this simple business. Was a scam ,the ring hasn’t the value for the money that I paid. The sales advice was to mail the package with the ring. I did it. We took a taxi with a nice girl that worked in the shop to reach the post office. I sent the ring to Italy. The night I told to the police what happen to me and they said that can’t do nothing and this people has more power then the same police. the day after I went to the tourist police, but without ring they couldn’t help me. I tried to call the post office but the mail was on the plan to Italy.
    The bank ensure me that I can cancel this payment in my account, but I’m not sure about it. i will see in this days..
    This is my bad experience in Thailand, they ruined partially my holiday because i lose two days for this sapphires scam in Takfah shop, I hope to don’t lose also my money. I hope that I cal help other tourist like me to avoid this scam.

  49. Amit says:

    Hi Guys,

    I went back to get the re-fund! Fortunately i was able to get the 90% of my total spent as i reached there the next week of the purchase itself.
    As soon as i reached the airport i asked for tourist police. At the airport (near gate no.3), i was given a proper address to the tourist police which is near to the area where the shop is located. For others convenience i am writing the address – Tourist police’s report – filing office- Ministry of tourism and sports on Ratchadamnoen nok road, next to Ratchadamnoen boxing stadium.
    Tel: 0-2356-0583, 0-2356-0584.

    The moment i starting mentioning about this scam and the way i was trapped, within no time they were there with the solution. (As if they were waiting for me to handle this case :P) For a moment i thought as they were also a part of this whole drama….. Anyways, they called the shop and discussed this issue to them. The first thing they said was to return only the 80% as mentioned in the agreement.
    I requested the police officer to get the full re-fund as i was returning it within the next week……. police official started negotiating from my behalf.
    They finally agreed to give 90%. And as the transaction was done in cash, i recd the amount back in cash.

    I would like to WARN everyone about this scam and would request you all to spread this to whosoever is visiting Bangkok. Seriously, a major costly lesson was taught.

    thanks.

  50. sebastian says:

    Ohh my god. i pay 113600bath (3000€) now i am back in austria, i have the set saphire, i want sell it (gift)
    all juwieliers give me not more than 700€ in austria, i pay 3000€ , i want my refund, … i have a visitcard, and the recept

    NOW I AM BACK in AUSTRIA, with fucking cheap sapphire, i want money back!

    the name of it was TAKFAH
    101-103 prachathipatai rd. , bangkhurnprom, pranakorn bangkok 10200

  51. Kogul says:

    we also been cheated, the shop name was TAKFAH. currently i am waiting for the refund of 80% as they said will take one month to process as i was using credit card. My friend flew there to do the refund.

  52. Per Carlsson says:

    Hi guys, i have been to Bangkok Many times, first Time 1987, i have talked to Many guys ho have been cheated,incl.your Scam.It has been very famous for bangkok, i guess most embassys have warning notes in there info for tourists.Cardplays are another scam.Never trust to pollite people in bkk.hope all get some cash back,In Havanna they whant u to by dry milkpowder, small scam,but still à scam, and fake cigarrs haha,happy travels…..per

  53. Travellers says:

    I was also a victim of this scam, starting with the “Tourist Police” at the Royal Palace saying it was closed and the recommendation for a 50 THB tuk-tuk tour of other temples. Andy was at an abandoned temple and told us the same story as others explained above. We then went to Premier Sapphire Factory Export Centre and made purchases and then were provided with a driver. In hindsight it was so obviously a scam and there were many clues along the way. Luckily I read these postings on the same day as we made our purchase. I called my credit card company, but they explained that it was too late to cancel the transaction and that it was not considered fraud, based on their definition, which is unauthorized use of the card. I was told that I would instead need to deal with it as a dispute, but that this would only be possible in one or two days when the charge is posted. They did however open a file and I referred them to this website.

    Today we went to the Tourist Police at 4 Rajdammon Rd. (Tel. 1155) – You will see this indicated on most tourist maps. The Tourist Police were very helpful and arranged to have a representative from the store come and meet us in person at the station. It took the representative about 30 minutes to get there. After negotiating with her and then to her manager on the phone (I think that this is another pressure tactic), we were able to negotiate a 90% refund. The Tourist Police made copies of all of the documents for us and kept a copy for their files. After the representative left, they indicated that we could have pushed a bit further, but when the representative got up and threatened to leave we decided to settle. I’m not sure if we would have been able to get more. At the conclusion of the negotiation I signed an agreement for the refund that states that all parties are in agreement with the settlement and that no further action can be taken. I am now waiting 14 days for the refund to be processed and I’m hopeful that the funds will be returned based on what others on this site have said. My advice is to be persistent and push for a settlement higher than 80%.

  54. Raphael says:

    Had the exact same experience. Very disappointed. Thanks to this website, manage to get 90% refund back with the help of tourist police. Also manage to make an official complaint to the tourism authority of Thailand which is just next to the tourist police station. I suggest all to do the same. You can send an e-complaint form through their website at http://www.tourismthailand.org/home at the bottom of the page under e-services complaint link also. If the police can’t do anything hopefully the tourism authority can help to close them down. Telling them its giving their country a #$($*$**$ name.

    • Travellers says:

      Raphael, did you receive your refund yet? We’re still waiting for ours. We agreed to the 90% refund on March 16th, so we’re at day 18 (it was supposed to only take 14 days) and we have not seen the refund come through (however the online credit card statement is a couple of days behind). If any others have advice such as following up with the Premier Sapphire Factory Export Centre directly can you please let me know? I will post an update when I have news. Fingers crossed!

      • Travellers says:

        Finally received our refund. It came through on April 13th and we signed the 90% refund agreement with them on March 16th. Needless to say we’re happy to finally have our funds. Had we not received the funds the credit card company would have done a charge back as we had already provided them with all of the documentation, however they need to wait 30 days before they proceed.

  55. Chuck says:

    Was in Bangkok Mar 27-30, 2013. , Same scam, same Andy. Upon realizing scam(after purchasing and returning to hotel), contacted tourist police, went to tourist police office next morning and negotiated a 90% refund. Knowing we were to blame for believing such a “golden opporitunity” we were happy to receive 90%
    Since returned to Canada and money has been refunded back to my credit card. It took 15 days to refund.

  56. PP says:

    Was in bangkok and undergoes same story on 28.04.2013.
    I only realised this is a gem scamming after search for the company online.
    I made my report to tourist police and they did help me a lot.
    Before that I checked the status of the company named Premier Sapphire Factory co. Ltd with Thai Germ trading association. The company is not member of the association hence the service officer advised me to call tourist police.
    I only managed to get back 90% of what I had paid.
    Is there something we can do to stop this kind of scamming?
    Totally ruined my holiday in bangkok.

  57. Milan says:

    For everybody who has been scammed by this fraudulent company.
    Here is the manual how to get most of you money back:
    1. Immediatelly go to tourist police personally….it is located near National Stadium
    2. Ask them for help…they will call the shop manager and try to negotiate refund
    3. Firt bid will be 90% refund….be tough and ask for minimum 95%
    4. It will take apx. 20 min to get 95% but you have to tough (maybe some you can ask 100% also)
    5. In my case 95% was refunded in 18 days back to my account

    Good luck

    • PP says:

      18 days? It’s been 14 days since the incident but the money not yet refund to my credit card. I am so worry about it.

  58. Margaret A says:

    Hi, Fell for this scam too! Same as others, we were stopped from entering Grand Palace by “tourist policeman”,taken on a tuktuk, bought a ruby ring for a forthcoming 40th wedding anniversary on the last day of Premiere Sapphire’s once-a-year sale… only to read internet reports of scam when we returned to hotel. Phoned Tourist police, who accompanied us to shop but were unable to reach satisfactory outcome. We then were escorted to Tourist Police Office, where lieutenant ‘phoned shop and negotiated 90% refund. Still not satisfied, we askedto be taken to Police station to file a report but instead were taken to Tourist Consumer Protection office. We had taken photos of tuktuk driver and places we visited, which we handed to the Tourist Consumer Protection officer who called in a rep from the company. Tried for 100% refund, finally accepted 93%. Signed papers, waiting for refund. However, our visa was charged at a very low exchange rate of 43 Baht/pound, and Premiere Sapphire export co will refund only in Thai Baht. We are expecting loss on exchange. Why did Visa not know of this scam? Hopefully now they will keep a record and stop other trusting tourists from falling into same trap.

  59. Clog says:

    A Dutch tv program has done research in Bangkok. To cut a long story short, there are more of this kind of jewelry’s but all are owned by the same people. The tourist police is heavily involved as well, but they will take action when scammed people are asking for help. I guess this is stay out of trouble themselves. I wonder what deal they have during negotiation with the jewelry shop. People who read this and are in doubt to go to the Tourist police, just go to them as they will help you but stand on 100% refund! To see the program (some in Dutch some in English, last part is the Gem scam): http://www.sbs6.nl/programmas/oplichters-in-het-buitenland/videos/seizoen-0/4-thailand/oplichters-in-het-buitenland-4-thailand

  60. Edy Purwanto says:

    I’m a victim of this gem scam too having checked from this site and tripadvisor. It happened to me JUST THIS AFTERNOON. Please help

  61. David says:

    Hi All

    As per my postings last year, I got scammed as desribed by others and on the advice of James – thanks James if you read this – I took the jewels to a Hatton Garden dealer in London for a valuation. In fact I ended up taking it to two separate jewelers and paying for two independent valuations / description of goods. I couldn’t return the jewels as I flew out of Bangkok the same day I purchased them so therefore instaed had to make representations to my Visa Co. The issue I had was the stones weights could only be estimated by the valuers as they were set whereas the certificate gave individual actual weights and without removing them – which would be very expensive – I was a bit stuck as my Visa Co. Barclaycard argued that I hadn’t exclusively proved the actual weights were different to the ‘Guarantee’. In all cases (I bought 2 rings and a pendant) the stones were proved genuine albeit very low grade and therefore worth only 20% of what I paid. I argued with my visa co. repeatedly by letter and eventually as a gesture of goodwill in full and final settlement they offered me £1000 and I keep the jewels. I rejected this offer and instead challenged them via further letter using an argument based on the total overall weight of the goods which I DID have a definite weight of. On the certificate there was no total weight listed but instead separately the gold was listed in grammes and the stones in carats. I used a recognised online conversion tool to calculate the actual stones weight (as per the guarantee claimed) converted from carats into grammes and deducted this from the total weight of each item established by the London Jewelers, therefore giving the true weight of the gold in grammes which proved a conflict with the guarantee as they were lighter and this demonstrated that even if the carat weights of the stones were as accurately described as per the guarantee the gold therefore was less than described. On this basis Barclaycard offered a full refund upon receipt of the goods so I got all my money back less the cost of DHL to courier the goods, two valuations at circa £80 each and some minor Bhat /Pound currency conversion differences but overall I got off lightly after a major wrangle that took almost 5 months….

    Good Luck Everyone else!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi David

      Very glad to hear you succeeded in the end. In my case, Nat West initially did a charge back which was challenged by the merchant. Out of the blue, Nat West asked me to return the jewellery to them. I asked why and they said that since they had refunded me the money, the goods now belonged to them. They would not elaborate further but I rather suspect they did not follow the rules of the charge back to the letter and therefore they stood the loss themselves. Brownie points to them for treating me well as a customer but am annoyed that the original merchants got away with it yet again!!

      One day I will go back to Bangkok and look up Andy again :)

    • James says:

      Hi David

      Very glad to hear you were successful!

      A follow up to my story….the merchant challenged the charge back that Nat West did and some correspondence went back and forth. Then out of the blue, Nat West asked me to return the jewellery back to them. When I asked why, they said the items now belonged to them. When I queried that as well, they were rather cagey but I got them to admit that they were standing the loss themselves. Reading between the lines, I suspect that they did not do the charge back correctly to the letter. Brownie points to them for treating me well as a customer but I am so annoyed that the original merchant got away with the scam yet again :(

      James

  62. Marco says:

    Hi All
    I fell into this scam too last July 27th 2013. The shop in 463/9-12 1st Fl., Look-Luang Rd. is now called Siam Ida Mining.

    That day we had to fly back home so we decided to use the morning to go to MBK shopping centre on foot from our hotel (nearly 1km away). While walking watching a map in a street without any tourists, a thai person who was walking pretty quick (not the classic person looking for tourists I would have thought) start talking to us about some Buddha celebration (the day before actually the Emerald Buddha Temple was closed for some reason), that MBK was closed till 2pm and bla bla bla… then suggested the same tour above stopping a Tuk Tuk for us, mentioning the cheap fare and not asking anything for himself.
    When at the Lucky Buddha we found another Thai men who started talking about the same story. So I thought, why 2 different people would independently tell the same false story?
    Now, considering that:

    – I am overseas and the items are here with me (16000 baht)
    – I stupidely agreed for a discounted fare paying in cash
    – In the agreement the say the conditions (80% buyback etc. are valid only if the company is contacted in person, “Mercahandise return by post will not be acceptable)

    What would you suggest me?

  63. sargeant singer says:

    Reading this forum remembering when I fell for the gem scam in Bangkok about 10 years ago now.. surprised that it still seems to be going strong. I remember I bought a sapphire ring for about 1200 USD, my first day in bangkok.. Read about the scam in my lonely planet book right afterwards, didn’t sleep all night I was so pissed at myself. Went back to the shop the next day with a no nonsense attitude and asked for a refund. The guy asked me how much I wanted back – I said “all of it”. I can’t remember exactly but he gave me 80-90% back in cash. For some reason he also kept trying to get me to admit to what happened. Not sure why they seem to be obliged to give refunds – some sort of legal thing in Thailand?

    Also I see a lot of recommendations about the police, filing legal suits, so forth and so on. What a nightmare! I guess I was lucky, just asked for my money back and I got it right there. Anyway good luck, Thailand is a beautiful country. If you got scammed go to one of the islands and buy some rum – it helped me :)

  64. Alex says:

    I had the same story with you, guys! what is worse is that i hadn’t known it until i returned to my county and searched the name.
    The shop name is SIAM IDA MINING, Address is 463/9-12 1st Floor, LookLuang Rd, Mahanak, Dusi,Bkk 10300 Thailand.
    I met Andy at WHITE BUDDA with the same story. I will fly to Thailand to get my refund. I contacted to Tourist Police this morning and they said it is not a complicated thing. we are able to finish the whole process within one day.Reporting to Tourist Police is obviously a good idea, because we reach a Three-party agreement and will follow the refunding process then. The policeman said if they wouldn’t pay back your money, they committed a crime. i will update my story later.

  65. Jana says:

    The same story happened to us at 25th sep 2013. We will write down the whole story when we are back at home. Short version: after holidays in the south of thailand we came back to bangkok for two more days and we did the things which you recommended. Went to the tourist police office near boxing stadium. The people were very nice and helpful
    . We made a report and the officers called the shop (Siam ida mining) and a lady from the shop came to the office for negotiating. Now we will get 90% refund in the next 14 days.
    Good luck for all of you.

  66. Jana says:

    We got our money back – 11 days after the visit at the tourist office police.

  67. Huiling says:

    Hi,

    I have recently bought a set of sapphire earrings, ring and pendant that cost me almost $8000 from Siam Ida Mining. I knew that I was totally ripped of when I came across this website. I am planning to bring my case to the tourist police to see if they could help me but I would like to know if there are any documents / appraisal certificates / anything that might help that I would have to bring with me in order to get my money refunded. And also, does the tourist police work on weekends ? If I was staying in Siam area, which would be the nearest tourist police station that I could go to ? Thank you so much in advance.

    • Daniela says:

      Hello everybody,
      As many of you i ve been ripped off as well, by these thefts, on 7th Nov.
      After 2 days I’ve realized the ring i bought was a fake. Therefore, i went to the tourist police near boxing stadium, they asked a lady from the shop to come there, and after 20min of negotiation with her, she told me she’ll refund me 90%.
      Today, after 16days, they have finally refunded me!
      So, address to police and things will arrange for you.
      Good luck!

  68. Lili says:

    We too got scammed in October 2013. We were out visiting temples, not even planning on buying anything and “bumbled into some nice people”. They looked like tourists too. we had at least 15-20 minutes of conversation with them where one of them happened to try this expo center.Needless to say, we spent a lot of money on 2 pieces. We got back early from their plan of a day so my husband could nap. I googled the jewelry store address and name and I saw “GEM SCAM!!” My heart sank. We had to wait for the other piece to arrive because they fitted it for me. The hotel staff helped alert the authorities and we returned to items for their” refund” which they would only do 80% for us. when we went to Chiang Mai and Krabi, we met other tourists that did the same thing and did not know it was a scam until our conversation. The actors in the intricate woven plot really play into the power of suggestion so that you find yourself going there. Found out that Thailand’s Mines have dried up and there are no more rubies or sapphires unless imported into the country.

  69. Lili says:

    Huiling- the nearest police station in Siam Center area is Nua Huang Police Station where we filed a report as well assisted by the Hotel staff

  70. Sebastian says:

    Is the name of the Shop Still Tak Fah?? … and witch adress is the shop? . please help me

  71. John1 says:

    Following on from earlier post: Of course this tale above does nothing to convey the stress, once you realise you have been scammed. What to do? who to contact? who do you trust? First cancel the credit card-refunds can still be applied even to the cancelled card. Contact Thai tourist police who are not very helpful-but be persistent and they will reluctantly assist you. The guy who assisted me, by driving me (on the back of his motorbike)from the Thai tourist police station by the stadium to the shop was Pol.Sub.Lt.Winya (Peter) Thengnimitr telephone number 0813422150. address of Thai tourist police office 154 Bangkok Tourist police, National Stadium, Rama1rd, Wangmai,Putmwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand. Nearest train station ‘National Stadium’.
    I hope this info helps, because I wish it was available when it happened to me. Good luck!

    • sillygullible says:

      Hi john thank you for your comment.

      i just got scammed. i am going back on 22nd july. i am a female travelling alone. Do you have any advice for me? Which police station is best/most helpful? Any place near by to stay? Anything i should bring with me that would help apart from the sales receipts and “guarantees”. Also once they agree to the refund what documentation should i ensure is given to me as receipt or “proof” of agreement to the refund?? Any advice would be dearly appreciated. Many thanks

  72. Philipp says:

    Refunded!
    We were scammed on the 26th of november and got a recharge of 90% (~900 of ~1000€) on the 20th of december.
    If there is someone still in Bangkok Reading this, please meet that Andi and kick him in his nuts and finally burn down that fucking shop!

  73. Bot scanner says:

    Lol! Hate to read all the scam stories! Bought Royal blue saphire earrings laced with diamonds for 2000 euro. Back in Holland iT was appraised at 4000 euro. One of the best quality Stones they ever saw. Read up on the Stones Bedford you buy them and dont act as a gullible moron and you can go on a free holiday every year :):):)

  74. Jagar says:

    Well apparently they are still thriving, we just arrived home from Thailand and met the most helpful Andy in the lucky budha temple who worked in the UK but was from Singapore and worked for HSBC. Knew lots of Canadians and even some friends who go to university here and pay for their tuition with the money they make from selling the jewelry over here. We feel sick to our stomachs having just read all of this. Really wished we would have been smarter and checked out something online before leaving Bangkok.

    They are now called Siam Ida Mining with the same address: 463/9-12 1st floor, Look-Luang Roa, Nahanak, Dusit, Bangkok 10300.
    Tel 0-2628-3565, 0-2628-3566

  75. Anonymous says:

    yet got scammed march 13th. We felt terrible at first. Thanks to this forum, we went back and returned the products the next day. They originally gave us 80% refund. But our credit card company refunded the additional 20% few days ago. We told them that it was a scan.

  76. Stefanie says:

    Dear Andy, Since I’m conviced you are checking this side to keep yourself updated I’m addressing you directly. Your performance last Thursday was quite impressing but not clever enough. Before (!) signing the credit card receipt we found out that it’s all fraud. And in addition to this we have been warning another couple to step into this trap. Your story is very smart but their is room for improvement. Whenever you’ll be back to Munich I can help to clarify what went definetly wrong from your side. And for sure I know some excellent shopping opportunities here in Munich. They are all absolut trustworthy!

    Best regards,
    Stefanie and Christoph

    • David says:

      Well done Stefanie and Christoph, that’s the way to play it. If you fall for this or any other scam it’s a hard lesson. Others should learn from these two how to conduct business on foreign territory.

  77. sillygullible says:

    i just got scammed. I am planning to fly back next week and get my money back. I will aim for 100% but wont accept less than 90%. Does anyone have any advice for me? I am a girl travelling alone. i am just going back to get the refund so want to be in and out of there as quick as possible and want the trip to be as short as possible. Where should i stay that is relatively cheap and close to a police station? Also which police station is best and most helpful?? If anyone is reading this and has been scammed and would like to join me in getting a refund please feel free to join me. I will be arriving there on the morning of the 22nd of July. So annoyed at myself for falling for this. Andy i come back to Bangkok regularly. (for the last 5 years in fact) One day i will have my 4 brothers in toe.. ;)

  78. Danielle says:

    I feel like such a dumbass – I got fooled by this as well. Normally I wouldn’t have got in the tuktuk except that I was traveling by myself so must have been an easy target! Seems like such an elaborate set up that I thought it must be for real. I rang up my bank and reported my card stolen so hopefully the joke is on them!

  79. Me says:

    We are first day in Bangkok …. And the same story like most of the people here….. Some trustment mam said us that Grand Pałace “now is for only for Thai peoples….” but only yelow tuk-tuk recomend us other wonderfull templates like white Budda and happy Budda …in happy Budda we met Andy who looks like turist. He said that he is from Singapore and know many innformation about our country etc. He said during conversation that it is his trip to Thailand because only one weekend in the year is the Budda Day and Siam Ida Mining has only last day of promotion of saphires without tax. We bought ring etc wchich cost was about 4 thousand euros!!!!! We fill like stupid people, idiots etc…..

  80. David says:

    This happened to me in 1995 when I came to Thailand on my first holiday here. Or rather it ddn’t. Luckily I am from Sheffield and it took about three sentences uttered by this ‘friendly’ young man from Derby before I became suspicous.

    Also because I don’t believe it’s that easy to make £10 never mind £1000 , I was also, lets say cautious.

    I have now been living in Thailand since 2010 and realise that this is just their way of doing business here. No more fraud ( although it obviously is ) than your mobile company tying you into ‘deals’ that are totally one sided in their favour. In fact this ‘scam’ is the tip of the iceberg. For example try getting a meaningful ‘guarantee’ on any product here. Initially, when I purchased an electrical item here I used to retrieve the guarantee card and fill it in, in readiness to post off. My Thai wife simply tore them up.

    Be happy in your work making money…and don’t let a simple thing like being ripped off spoil your day, it’s inevitable in life unless you were born tighter than a Scot ..like me.

  81. Ryan says:

    Got scammed by Siam Ida Mining! We had exactly the same experience. We were told Golden Palace was closed, got into a tuk-tuk, which took us to the Lucky Buddha. At the Lucky Buddha, Andy was waiting to tell us tales of fortune about the export center, which we asked to go to next.

    We followed the directions that Milan wrote above to get our refund. We were still in Bangkok, luckily. The tourist police were definitely reluctant to help. By the way, to get there, just tell a taxi cab driver Supachalasai stadion (National Stadium). Another landmark is the MBK center, which is a well-known shopping area right next door. Our taxi was confused that we wanted to go to a boxing stadium in the morning, so MBK might be better. If you enter the national stadium area from Rama I Road, there’s a sign that points to the tourist Police Station.

    At the station, they called the shop and put us on the line. I told the lady it was a scam and I wanted a full refund. She got mad and said if I called it a scam I wouldn’t get a refund. She said she could do 80%, and I said no. One of the tourist police went outside and called the shop (I assume) on her cell phone afterwards, and then another officer told me he talked to the shop and I could get 90% right now. I said no and told them I wanted to meet with the shop representative.

    We then went over to another tourist police office closer to the shop. The tourist police drove me there. The lady showed up and started negotiating at 80%, claiming they never offered 90%. I held on to my 100%, and, given David’s information that his ring was under weight, told her that the Guarantee she gave me did not reflect the actual jewelry that she sold me, and that a Guarantee means 100%. Throughout the ~hour that we were “negotiating”, the police kept telling me to just file a report and let the courts handle it. However, I kept telling the police, and the shop lady, that the courts weren’t an option because I knew they would just close their business and open up a new one, so I would never see my money. The shop lady walked out of the building 2 times during negotiations, which made me really nervous. I think it’s just a power play. She makes you think she’s going to leave, but she won’t. Worst case scenario, you could always go to the shop with a police officer if she actually left.

    I got her back up to 90%, but I couldn’t get any more out of her. She’s a tough old bag. Not even 92%. I ended up signing the docs for 90%, and she said it’ll take 20 days to get the money. I think standard procedure is 15 business days, which is usually 20 days. I’ll post again when I get the money, but the paperwork seemed legitimate. My gf and I lost $300 in the process, but that’s much better than having to sell much cheaper jewelry IMO (in my opinion).

    Thanks so much to everyone who posted about their refund experience. To others who got scammed, don’t feel too dumb, this is a pretty sophisticated scam. I’ve travelled a lot and never been scammed like this, but they got me too :) In fact, while I was in the office, a family came in and reported exactly the same thing! They received fake jewelry and paid a lot more to a different shop, so count yourself lucky that you can get any refund. I sure feel lucky!

  82. Jo says:

    Ryan – I think it was my family that you saw at the Tourist Police station.

    Our story is similar to everybody else’s, except my family and I were at Chit Lom BTS station, walking towards Central World when my mother was approached from behind by a woman. She asked us where we were going and we said Central World. She asked us what we wanted to buy and we said “local products” (as we really didn’t have anything in mind). She gave us the story about government sale, 30% off, and then wrote down the address of the “Thai Export Center” where we could get the jewelry. She walked off and we were planning to disregard her, but then a second man approached us and asked us and saw the paper on which the address was written. He started saying how he just went there and got a 40% discount off jewelry for his wife. He spent about 15 minutes just talking to us, sounding very friendly, and then he said he will put us on a tuk-tuk and get us to the Export Center. He even told us to look for a Mr. Chairat, the manager, who “took good care of him” when he was there. A tuk-tuk then miraculously arrived and he put us on the tuk-tuk, giving the address to the driver in Thai.

    The tuk tuk took us to a shop called “Gems and Jewelry Trading Center Co. Ltd.” There, we met the Mr. Chairat who ushered us into the VIP room and started bombarding us with loads of jewelry. Personally, I am not interested at all in any jewelry, but it is my parents’ 30th anniversary and my mother wanted some jewelry. My brother was also looking for a ring to give to his girlfriend. Mr. Chairat was an amazing salesman — we didn’t realize until afterwards that he had brainwashed us into trusting him completely, by giving us water and bombarding us with merchandise and talking so much that we had no time to think. My father ended up purchasing a set of rubies for my mother as an anniversary present for a lot of money. Mr. Chairat had the nerve to say to my mother, “You are very lucky to have married a man who loves his family.”

    They drove us back to our hotel and it wasn’t until a couple of hours later, when my brother googled “gem scam” that we realized we had been scammed. It was after business hours and we panicked about our safety as the shopkeeper knew were we lived.

    After reading this website, the next morning we told the hotel what happened. They arranged for a security officer to accompany us to the Tourist Police. The police officer didn’t seem to want to deal with us at first, until he heard how much money we had spent, and then he called the shop. The owner arranged for his driver to drive us back to the store. The tourist police didn’t come with us as we had the security officer come along.

    It took over three hours before we could reach a settlement. Mr. Chairat refused to give us any refund at first and tried to give us more merchandise, which we refused. He asked us why we thought the jewelry was fake/overpriced and I ended up having to show him the reports on the internet. After that, he finally agreed to refund 90% of what we paid, but via credit voucher. I didn’t exactly trust the credit voucher system, so he faxed it to the bank and had the bank fax a letter confirming the request for refund.

    I still didn’t trust him so as soon as we left the store, I went to the bank a couple blocks away and asked the bank to verify that the fax was real and that the request had been put through. The bank called the head office and confirmed that the fax is real. We are now waiting for the refund, which we hope will go through in about a week’s time.

    Many thanks to everyone who posted about their refund experience. Needless to say, my family and I all feel pretty stupid for falling for this scam and not doing enough research on Bangkok before we traveled. The worst part is that the scammers had preyed on my parents’ love for one another. We had about 3.5 days in Bangkok and spent 2 days dealing with this. Our holiday will be forever marred by this experience.

    We have now returned home and will be contacting the Tourist Authority of Thailand here to follow up the case. Just to warn others from falling into the same trap, our shop was

    Gems and Jewelry Trade Centre Co. Ltd
    12 Soi Rong Muang 2, Rong Muang Rd,
    Prathumwan Bangkok 10330.

  83. Jing says:

    Unfortunately we fell in to the same exact scam last month. To cut the story short, On Aug 26, My husband went back to Siam Ida with a tourist police. He was given a credit note for the 80% of the original amount we paid and was told that money will be in our account by Sept 19. Today is Sept 25 and still no refund to our account. We rang the Tourist police and we were just told over and over again that we will get our money back (yeah right!) So we decided to file a dispute to our bank and let them handle this situation directly with the merchant. We provided the bank the credit note that was given to us. I think the whole dispute process takes more than a month, but that’s fine as long we get the money back. This whole thing actually change how I see Thai people now. We didn’t buy the jewellery to make money but something to keep for our future kids, something valuable that they can keep. Sad..

  84. Joe in Florida says:

    2014 September 25: BE WARNED! The SCAM is still going only EXACTLY as described. Official with badge at Golden Temple advising temple was closed until 13:30 for special holiday prayers, sincere advice as to how spend the morning untill it reopened to the public, warning and advice about which were the “honest” tuk tuk drivers, help negotiatiing 40 baht tuk price, same tours to 2nd rate temples and lucky break to be able to get in on one day only open to public at Siam Ida Miining for wholesale gem buying, then to James Tailors special deal, and more stops which we finally refused, etc. It it all seemed too well orchestrated for me, but my traveling companion was mesmerized by the great deals, and eventually I got suckered but limited my expense exposure. I wish I had the time to research these scammers before I left Bangkok, though not sure what I could have done after the fact I HOPE SOMEONE READS THIS BEFORE HANDING OVER THEIR CREDIT CARTS.

  85. Moni says:

    Hi guys,
    exaxtly the same procedure happened to me and my boyfriend. They promised us the refund till 22. september but now we still don´t have our money back (although we came back to them with the tourist police). After calling the tourist police I had a little bit hope but I think I won´t get my money back… The tourist police officer told us that they will pay else this will be a crime and the police could take action against them but probably the mafia has too much power here in bangkok.
    Is there anybody who didn´t get back his money, too?

    Best regards,
    Moni

    • GoodLOL says:

      I got the same scam yesterday 23 October 2014 when my friend and I walking on foot from MBK to Chinatown. We think THB40 for Tuk Tuk with such route to Chinatown is worth of this ‘Adventure’ journey plus free photography service too. We didn’t buy anything from Siam Ida Mining, thanks to this forum when we Google it at the shop before handling our credit card. The same Andy was there at Lucky Buddha temple but I think his story is too good to be true. We paid THB40 + THB10 tips to the Tuk Tuk driver for taking us around and drop us at Chinatown during this rainy day. Thank you ‘Boxing teacher’ who is so ‘helpful’ by introducing us this trip and yes we are so LUCKY to get a government Tuk Tuk which has 50 cars compared to 1000 company Tuk Tuk? Just too lucky that the one you flagged is only THB40. What a foolish.

      Andy, if you are reading this, I think you better check your story again. When I asked you for a business card (you said you are a chef in a Thai restaurant name Mango Tree at Perth, you give me your email which is Andy_nn1812@yahoo.co.uk and keep explaining to me why it is UK. I have a good laugh, who cares what email you are using. So, 190% tax? Good fortune from Gem scam business? LOL

      I have a wonderful day for such a luck. I feels lucky already for not falling into the gem scam. So all traveler, please be aware and for those victims, good luck for your refund. It is a costly lesson which I can feel you pain too.

      Thailand is a land of smile? Too bad.

  86. Dave77 says:

    Oct 21 2014 – scam still going strong with SIAM IDA MINING

    AS ABOVE – friendly boxing teacher, this area better later, visit lucky Buddha, government tuk tuk cheaper
    Meet ANDY At lucky Buddha – from Singapore but comes and buys jewellery a few times a year to sell for double at home. Chat for some time. Has big knowledge of uk football teams – not just Man Utd and Chelsea, but Darlington ffs!!
    Taken to SIAM IDA MINING. Get talked into £2000 spend.
    No data plan on my phone so couldn’t look up scam on Google (doh!)

    Now I’m back in the UK and will try to stop the payment with my VISA company. Oh well

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