EXPAT SCAMMED AT THAI TRAVEL AGENT – I read some of the horrifying stories made public on meebal.com hence I’ve decided to give you my story.
I live in Pattaya with my honest and lovely Thai girlfriend; we’ve being living together now for 2 and a half years.
This year I took Noi with me to UK for a three week vacation and decided to I use a local Thai travel agent to buy her ticket here.
The mistake I made was to pay in cash. I didn’t think anything the Thai travel agent would do could be dodgy or that I would experience any problems as she (the travel agent) had been here for a while, in fact at least 3 years that I know of.
I obtained a ticket from her last year for the same purpose, with the exception that, last year I paid using my credit card.
After a few days of buying the ticket I contacted EVA AIR to confirm our seating, they told me that there was no such booking for Noi.
I went straight to see the travel agent and asked her about it. She quickly told me that she forgot to actually book the flight that day as she was busy. She then proceeded to re-confirm the flight and handed me a new ticket, I was happy again.
Few days later I decided again to confirm our seats with EVA and yet again I was told that there wasn’t a ticket for Noi and was informed that I should go back to the travel agent and deal with the problem directly with them.
I did but this time I was furious. The travel agent again apologised and issued me with yet another ticket, this time I was sure that things would be OK.
Two days before departure I again called EVA in Bangkok to confirm our seats and I was informed that we did have our seats together.
However, being cautious I asked Noi to call EVA again just as a precaution to confirm our seats; this time she was told the flight had been cancelled. I really didn’t have a choice so I decided to purchase a new set of tickets online.
Noi’s ticket cost me in total £2,500 (premium economy) 53,000 Baht was lost to the dishonest travel agent and £1,500 on line to EVA.
Moral of the story is, NEVER PAY WITH CASH. Having been cheated by several people here in Pattaya it was no real surprise that when I went to get my money back from the Thai Travel agent she had vanished.
Her office has now been taken over by an honest Thai lady who is happily married to an American; they have been married for a little over 15 years.
The usual police report was made but the Thai authorities do a huge disservice to foreigners and it is clear that they simply do not care.
The more one digs the more one finds the corruption of the police, politicians, Jet Ski scammers (I hear the police are in on it too, which is probably why it will never stop) etc, the list goes on. It’s a great shame as I do believe there are honest, trustworthy people here as there are everywhere else on the planet but it doesn’t justify the corruption here.
Because I have found a lovely girl here, I will not leave Thailand but, as and when our situation here allows us, I will spend more time in UK and Italy, where I come from.
Hope my story will help some of you out there in the hope that you don’t fall foul to the ever growing number of scams leveled at foreigners in Thailand.
We asked M.F why did he only book Noi’s ticket with the agent and not at the same time online when booking his own; we received the following reply to our inquiry;
“I already had my ticket, I book all mine online earlier with EVA directly whilst I waited for Noi’s visa application to be approved. I was about to do the same for Noi’s ticket when I stopped and thought booking it from the agent I’ve mentioned to you.
The agent told me on our previous meeting that, May had been a slow month for her business, I thought I could help her, I was wrong and consequently I ended up booking Noi’s ticket online, directly with EVA.”
We guess the moral of this story is to always book your airline tickets online directly with the airline and use a credit card. This practice may be damaging to the local Thai tour agents but if there are no measures in place to protect the consumer and if the attitude of the Royal Thai Police doesn’t change then they simply do not deserve the business.