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.]
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)