Aussie Tourist Latest Victim Of Elaborate Scam
Marcus' message: beware of brand name fakes when travelling
An Australian tourist says he felt “completely helpless and alone” after attempting to return a faulty pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses to a market stall at one of Phuket’s main shopping districts.
Service station attendant Marcus Jefferies, was visiting Phuket with long time girlfriend Sharon Williams after Ms Williams had lucked onto ‘Scoopon’ deal for a five night stay in the tropical paradise. “We felt like the luckiest people on earth, there were only 20,000 deals available and we somehow managed to get one” she said.
Jefferies, a self confessed bargain hunter, said he had heard there were plenty of bargains to be had, but admitted he was blown away by just how good the deals were. “It was amazing, every stall had brand name items, the same brands you get here in Australia, but at just a fraction of the cost.” Despite not having a lot of money in the spending budget, the couple agreed the deals were simply too good to pass up.
Some of the items they purchased included top of the line Rolex watches, Diesel jeans and a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. Jefferies highlighting that normally the sunglasses would set him back about $500 but, using his haggling skills, he was able to talk the salesman down to THB600 or approximately AUD$18.00. “I was on fire, he was originally asking for THB5000 (AUD$150), but I used to work in sales myself so I knew some tricks and was able to talk him down.”
However, four days later, Jefferies ran into trouble, explaining, “I was riding an elephant at the time. I went to take my new Ray-Ban’s off, being as careful as anyone would be with $500 sunnies, when the arm snapped off in my hand, a lens fell out and ants crawled out from where a screw should have been.”
Dejected, Jefferies went back to Patong Beach to the stall where the sunglasses were purchased, explained what had happened and asked for the glasses to be repaired or replaced under warranty. What happened next defied belief. “They all laughed at me.” He said. “Not only were they laughing, they denied they’d sold me the original pair and asked if I’d be interested in buying a new pair or some late release DVD’s. Then they high-fived each other. Totally unprofessional. I can’t believe they can still be in business with that kind of customer service.”
“I was furious. Eventually they gave me a number to call for warranty claims but when I got back to the hotel and rang the number all I could hear was heavy breathing and I’m pretty sure I could hear laughing and high-fiving in the background.” he said.
Dismayed Jefferies and Williams returned to Australia where he contacted Ray-Ban directly to explain the situation. He was shocked to learn the glasses were probably fake and he’d been the victim of a clever and elaborate con job. “I just really wanted to share my story and hopefully protect others from these fraudsters. We’re probably just lucky it was only a pair of sunglasses.”
Jefferies quickly concluded the interview after looking at his Rolex, leaping out of his seat and running out the door explaining he was late for his 9:00pm shift.
It was 6:23pm.