Fake hotel employee encourages us to buy fake antique jewellery

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  • #881 Reply

    Emmy81

    We took a taxi to one of the medinas in the town close to our resort, just to breathe a bit of local flavor and culture. When we got out of the taxi, a man waved at us and asked us if we recognized him. We told him we didn’t, and then he said he worked for our hotel, he had seen us in the restaurant earlier that day.
    He told us to make sure to take advantage of special discounts for tourists, only in specific government stores today, because of an Arab holiday. If we liked, he could take us there to make sure we wouldn’t be ripped off. Little did we know that he was making sure we WOULD get ripped off and that he’d get a cut of the profits. Although we were more interested in just enjoying the local atmosphere than in hardcore shopping, we decided it might be nice to have some kind of a local guide.
    We even offered him pay for his time, but he refused, saying he was glad to make friends and to show Tunisian hospitality. He took us to a store inside the medina, where the owner immediately showed us a document certifying that his store was government recommended. “That means you won’t have any trouble at customs and don’t need to pay VAT on your purchases”, he said.
    Then he showed us some jewellery, which he claimed was four to five hundred years old. The necklace we liked was on sale from a regular price of 500 Tunisian Dinar to 150 Dinar, but after some bargaining, we got it for 125 Dinar, which is about 55 Euros.
    After strolling through the medina some more, without buying anything, we decided to thank our friendly guide for his time and to get some food in a local restaurant. At the table, we were admiring the necklace some more, when the owner asked us about it.
    When we told him our story, he smiled and said we were likely to be ripped off, as it is forbidden to sell antique jewelry without a certificate of authenticity and besides that, genuine antiques can’t be bought anywhere in the world for the price we paid. He also explained that the guide probably took a large commission off the purchase price. He was appalled by these practices, which turn out to be all over town, as it was bad for the tourists and the image of his country.
    We then returned to the store and confronted the seller with this, and although he kept denying everything, he offered to give us back our money, which we agreed to. And we never saw the “guide” in our hotel at all, he probably lied about that as well.

  • #884 Reply

    Tourist-Scams
    Keymaster

    Thank you for sharing this experience, Emmy. Good to hear you got a refund for the fake antiques.
    The so-called hotel employee probably knew in which hotel you were staying because either the taxi driver who took you into town signaled him or he checked your all-inclusive wristbands. Read more at http://tourist-scams.com/tunisia/scam-helpful-local/

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