I had bought a tour package for Beijing for four days.
During the last day of the tour, we were brought to "shop" in many expensive stores. One of the shop that we were brought into was Derun Jewelry at the Beijing Olympic Stadium. When you enter, you will see many of their Pearl products,including the pearl powder and Pearl and Ginseng Cream.
When we enter, we were hussled into a "VIP room" to listen to one lady explain about pearls, its origin and what it can be made into. After that, she went out to ask for one "Shi-fu (master)" to come in to explain to us about Jade. Then, she came back in and said that the "shi-fu" was not around, and a guy with the name of Yan Hao came in, claiming that he is the son of the shop-owner.
He explained about jade and jadeite, and ways to differentiate a real from a fake jadeite. He even exaggerate and show that his company jadeite will be able to scratch his glass table. Upon seeing that my tour group was not interested and tired, he suddenly gave all of us a pendant as a gift, saying that that day was his parents' anniversary. He said he wanted to accumulate good blessings for his parents, thats why he gave us a gift.
Then we were hussled into a room where jadeite were displayed. As Yan Hao claimed that that day was his parents anniversary, he slashed the prices of all the items. Jadeite pendants initially selling for 360 RMB were slashed to 30 RMB, jadeite bangles selling for 16800 RMB were slashed to 3800 RMB. He claimed that his jadeite were of good quality and can be passed down from generations to generations.
After purchasing the jadeite, they gave us a certificate, citing good quality (or pin zhi bao zheng). Upon our return home, we sent the jadeite for testing, and realised that the jadeite was not of Type A grade, but rather B+C grade, and hence, the the jadeite bangle was not even worth 3800 RMB! We were rather upset with the result, and has decided to make a complain to the consumer association.
Unique Suggestions: If you ever enter this Derun Jewelry Shop in Beijing Olympic Stadium, don't ever trust their words. They will always make things sound very real and positive, but do not ever trust nor buy anything from them.
I strongly disadvice you to take any guided tour to the Great Wall from the tour operators that operate in the Forbiden City.
When visitng the Forbiden City, we were approached by a guy who called himself "Bill"(that was suposed to be his english name though he was a chinese). He offered us a tour to the Great Wall plus Ming Tombs. Because we anyway wanted to see it, we arranged it.
On a day of tour his van came to pick us at the hotel. Beside driver there was a woman who introduced herself as our guide. A first supprise(when we were already on the motorway) was when she told us that we wouldn't be visiting Ming Tombs. Apparently, because of the clousure on the motorway we would be forced to go via side roads and this would cause a delay and blah blah... We protested for a moment but we got along with it. Anyway it was said to us, this is merrely a park.
Before we got to the Wall, we unexpectedlly stoped at a "factory" in one village. She said we should go inside although it was not on the program. We didn't wanted to, because we heard many stories of people being forced to buy something in such "factories". She then even got angry and threated that she will leave us there in the middle of nowhere alone if we do not go inside. This was even more suspicios to us and when she realized that she won't succeed, we continued driving to the Wall.
When arriving at the Wall we entered the cable car and went atop. She didn't go with us but promissed to pick us at the parking some hundred metters before the entrance, a few hours later. When we arrived at the top she called us via mobile and said she wouldn't be back and she would leave us there. This was obviously a revenge for not visiting that bloody "factory". When we protested she began to blackmail us, saying she would come back to pick us but we would have to visit that "factory" and also go to a kind of tea degustation. There was time to do this but not obviously for the Ming Tombs being originaly on the program. And we of course heard the stories about degustations which costed the participants lurked into it, even up to 50 or 100 euros. So we smoothly denied it.
Luckilly, there were taxis near that parking which drove us to the nearest city when we were able to take the bus back to Beijing.
So under any condition, do not take anyone offering you a tour to the Great Wall in the Forbidden City or around.
Wangfujing street . You get just so many guys coming up to you with " Hello , where you going.." Where you from" . Of course it is the start of a scam . After doing research on sites like this , I find the best way is to totally ignore them . Treat their words as part of the traffic noise , not requiring any response for you at all . They soon see you are not a potential victim and give up in 5 seconds .
Even looking at them and saying "no" gives them an 'in' to start a conversation . And it will take another minute to shake them .
Fun Alternatives: However I had an experience that goes against all the warnings . Yes I was in a side street trying to buy a phone card . "Tom" spotted me and asked if he could help . My defences went up immediately . He followed me into shops and helped me ask for a phone card . Now all this is sounding like the start of a tale of woe , right ? Not so .
He was 41 years old it turned out , and Mongolian . Not your usual scam artist . He had a business card with phone numbers and email address , and tour price list . I started to talk to him in a more relaxed way . OK to cut a long story short I booked a Forbidden city tour with him for the next day . 200rmb plus entry fees . Everything went very well . No rip off . Booked him again for next day . long trip with car to Jinshanling Great Wall . 600rmb including car , driver and Tom , plus highway tolls and entry fees . Again , everything was just fine , actually a great day as now he and I were talking like old buddies . And again two more days and day long sight seeing trips with car , driver and Tom . All went well with no rip off . Of course I could have gotten it all cheaper but I was so glad to have someone I came to trust .
So , yes there are rip offs and if you are approached by an English speaking guy in the street , chances are you will get ripped off or annoyed . But there are other Chinese people just making an honest living offering their services to people on the street .
So here is "Tom's" mobile number in Beijing . 12340498125 Fixed line : +86-10-81305152
I haven't been able to get through on his email so I won't give you that . Tell him Steve the Australian sent you .
What happened to me was exactly like what MattXJT described. I was originally planning to go to teinamin square but was flusted with the huge crowds. Then was approached by the two men that MattXJT's described and photographed. What happened was as i was standing there looking at my map, they approached me and basically it was exactly as MAttXJT described. I still have time left in Beijing and im going to send MAttXJT's photo in to the police tomorrow and hopefully thee men will be stopped! Just like Matt i didn't think i would be tricked and thee men seemed genuine and caring. They paid for my taxi to a hutong to site see and then to the tea ceremony (they do this so you can't get the taxi receipt and find out the location of the tea house), they also tried to be in a hurrey (so i could not take location photos to use later). When they brought me to the tea house the conversation seemed really friendly and real, i told them how my dad had cancer and they did taste tests of the tea with me and pointed out which one was good to prevent caner and how i should buy it for my dad. So i said ok (thinking, everything cheap so far) and for 4 tins of tea the bill came to 1690 yuan. I said i couldn't pay at first and showed them my wallet didnt have any money, they then insisted i use my visa, but i usually never use my visa unless its in emergency, so i they said i must pay, and so they saw i had a debit card and took me an atm near by. Knowing i had alot of doubt jack took my debit card and started "showing me" how to use the debit machine in beijing and pressing buttons. I tried to stop him and slow the situation down but it was too late and my money was out, he quickly grabbed it and paid the women who did the tea ceremony for us (he also took my debit reciept and rushed me out of the atm booth). Confused and not knowing what to do, jack and tom said they would take me to the temple of heaven next, which i was further confused because i knew that it was a fixed price to enter so they seemed even more genuine now, and that maybe it was just a tea house for rich men and i got caught with an expensive bill... But as he got the taxi for me and we got to the temple, they got a phone call and had to leave.... Then it hit me... and its day 3 of 9 of my trip to beijing and i cannot enjoy a single hour. I feel betrayed, hurt, and completely stupid. People like this are scum, and make it hard for people trust one another.
Unique Suggestions: - Get all revcipts
-Take many photos of your soroundings, even if they are boring, the may help you later on
-if you meet english speaking chinese people in beijing, ignore them and politley ask them to f-off. You need to be aggressive, if they speak english they are most likley scam artists... mnay people in beijing ignore foriegners and dont speak english.
DO NOT HIRE ANY PRIVATE TOUR GUIDE. they all belong to the same scam group.They will take you to the most EXPANSIVE LUNCH restaurant to rip you.( 100rmb lunch for 800rmb) They talk to you to feel which group of wealth yoiu come from so they could see how much they could rob you. 100% of all the tour guide in CHINA are CON. They think all tourist all STUPID or RETARDED.
BEST is to take the subway. Cheap and fast.All info in ENGLISH and CHINESE.
I always ask my hotel front desk for any fun place when I visit new place where I stay.They are honest working people with kind heart, not like those tour guide SHARK. Looking for the KIll./
I went to Beijing lately. I got a 3-day tour package which already included the hotel, tour, food and transpo. Getting a tour package is convenient because you will be fetched from and taken to the airport without hassle of hailing a taxi or getting on the subway with your baggage.
For those who will get tour packages, watch out for these scams:
1. Jade shops - the tour guide brought us to 3 different jade shops. At first, two in our group bought some pieces. After touring the city on our own at night, we realized that the prices there were really bloated. The tour guide was just so persistent so that she will get her commission everytime one of us will buy something in these shops. One of us wanted just to buy a small piece then the tour guide who calls herself "Cristina" said that she should buy the bigger one. She was so obvious and pushy!
2. Tea house - we were also brought to a tea house near jingshan park and forbidden city. The prices were again bloated. We were made to drink for free several kinds of tea. After, we were asked what we wanted to buy. Take note: This was not originally part of the itinerary when we booked our tour package with the travel agency.
3. Tong ren tang shop/place - we were brought to this place after the Great Wall climb. we were given free massage. Then some people who were introduced as "doctors" (who were obviously frauds) came to check our pulses and said things like the boys had kidney dysfunction and the girls had dysmenorrhea. They had this RX thing where they wrote the medicine we should buy from them and how many months. They were so expensive. They also said that we should buy the pain killer they were selling as well as the tea used to soak our feet. They were all over expensive. Not one in our group of 9 bought so they look disgusted. The people there even made fun at our tour guide. Even if they said it in chinese, we knew that they laughed at her because she didnt get a commission because not one bought. The quack "doctor" who was introduced as one from Tibet checked my pulse and after i said that we will just think about buying his medicine, he look disgusted and left immediately. haha
4. Silk factory - we were also brought to this shop. there was again another demonstration on how it is made. The prices were again so bloated and expensive. Not one of us bought.
We were supposed to go the Pearl factory per our itinerary but the tour guide seemed hopeless because none of us were buying from these shops. hahaha
So, if you want to go to Beijing, just do the DIY (do it yourself) trip so that you wont waste your time in these shops. It was totally a waste of time because the tour guide hurried us up in the important tourist spots but she was all smiles when we were at the shops and said that we take our time. So disgusting!!
Just learn how to use the subway and you can tour the city on your own. Just get a 1-day tour package if you want to see the Great Wall because it is really far.
This tip serves as a warning for future travelers to this city.
I arrived in Bejing 3 weeks ago. Beware of the stone gallery most tour groups take tourists there before the Great Wall. They claim high quality jade, especially jewelry, because they are a "government" store. It was my first stop my first week in Bejing, and I didn't know any better... I love jade and purchased a beautiful golden jade pendant with a golden Chinese symbol for love on it. It was relatively inexpensive, but still a lot of money. I wore my pendant a lot so it didn't get lost during my long time in china... I was in china a total of 3 weeks. Week two I looked down and found out that the golden symbol was gone. I called, the store told me it fell off because it was "glued" on and that is what they do, glue the gold on pendants. I mean, I'm going back tomorrow to get a replacement... however I'm upset. I have other Jade necklaces at home from the states that are inlaid with gold and nothing has ever fallen off. Glue just isn't tough enough for jewelry you are going to wear a lot! They said they will replace it (which is nice), but if I get another one with a golden decal that's "glued" on, really how long will the necklace stay that way? I wear my jewelry a lot & it probably will fall off again. I might see if I can exchange the value of this necklace for a different one without a golden character. I'll keep you updated. Please beware!
Unique Suggestions: Don't look at necklaces here! Things look beautiful, but the gold chinese characters are glued on. You are better off not looking around & going to a privately owned store that has good reviews in China. I know Hong Kong had a lot of nice jewelry stores...
Fun Alternatives: All tour groups I talked to were taken to this place by the tour company - they book tours of a lot of government places. There is no alternative other than buying a different product or nothing at all. Don't even look.... you will get tempted. It is a beautiful store & they claim high quality.
This can happen anywhere in the world. You may be overcharged for a tour, you may get a service less than what has been promised. The overall quality of the tour may be less than what you expect. However, these scams are likely to happen more in Beijing and China. If you avoid accepting tour offers from guides located in touristic attraction entrances, you already make a big step. The best way to enjoy tours is to contact trusted agencies and read suggestions from VT members. As well as showing the tourist traps, we also suggest tours that we believe are reasonable in price and good in quality.
Unique Suggestions: Once you pay the price for the tour, you have to stick to it.
Fun Alternatives: Avoid fishy tours, know the average cost, choose trusted tours suggested by VT members
The pedi cab drivers can try and rip you off.
I got one the first day I was there, quoted 30rmb and at my destination he tried to get 300rmb. I (politely] of course) told him to go take a purge and walked leaving him with 30rmb. He started to get very ugly and intimidating and luckily I was at my destination.
Fun Alternatives: Taxi's are metered and very cheap - the same journey by taxi would have cost me like 15rmb (dependent of traffic of course.) Its easy to be wise after the event.
We went on a trip in May'08 and on the last day, our tourist guide brought us to this JJF jewerly shop in Beijing, China. Search for jiu jiu fu on this website and u will find how tourist are trapped. Different is that the owner Mr. Lin will tell you that he's from a neighbouring country and feels a strong connection to your kinsmen. Anyways, if you do get trapped in this, and felt suspicious and did a search to find this, do not fear. At least I hope that you can solve this, coz I did and managed to get my refund back minus the management fee of a few hundred bucks. better than losing a few thousand. What can I say, its the Chinese mind of hoping to get a good deal that makes us get conned.
Anyways, collect all your receipts. I strongly recommend that you file a formal complaint as soon as possible with your tour agent that you bought the trip from, coz we did it immediately the day after next of our arrival.
Write in a proper complaint letter attached with the pictures of the jewelry bought but don't say that they are fakes. Coz usually they give the real thing but very substandard and not worth the price that they represented it for. If you say that its fake, they will ask for prove.
JJF actually has a certificate saying that they allow return of the product even after purchase without any questions asked, sort of like their motto. We were lucky enough to ask for it, coz before we left we looked for a certificate that some of the jewerly had and asked for it, but was given a certificate about their motto instead. Don't deal directly with JJF yourself. We called JJF ourselves and they first asked why we were returning it. Instead of saying that it was a fake, we said that we were not happy that there wasn't enough of time to consider the purchase and wanted to return. Initially they said that they couldn and when we qouted their motto back to them, they retracted and mentioned that they would call us back the next day. Trust me, no calls will come back.
Instead, complain to your tour group abt say that u were hurried into the buy and want a full refund else you have to bring it up to the consumer group and travel authorities. My travel agent was responsible enough to actually chase for the return and to service our calls. Lucky for us. i hope that others might also get back their refund the same way if they get caught in this.
this happens in most places in the world. when you are walking towards the entrance of any tourist site (or amusement park) there will be people outside asking you to join their group to get the group price, claiming they only need ___ (however many you are traveling with) more people to get the discount price. i almost said yes once, then they told me to follow them across the road, i knew something was wrong, when i got into the park i heard announcements warning us against these groups. they will prob sell you fake tickets, or tell you to wait there while they go get their group, walking away with your money!!
Unique Suggestions: always buy your ticket from the ticket booth!!
Fun Alternatives: if you want to get a discount, see if they have student/elderly tickets or if you're in a large enough group call in advance and ask if they will offer any discounts.
This store is located near the 2008 Olympic Bird Nest Stadium, a new subway station in the front (under construction) with tall thick bushes with strands and strands of red yarns tied onto them. There are 2 western lion statues at the entrance with gold eyes. You need to pass through the doorway and descend down to the 'complex'. There is a Dr. Tea shop, a restaurant and a Jiu Jiu Fu (JJF) gemstone shop below as well as a stairway leading upstairs.
Upon entering the JJF store, you will need to cross a small bridge to face a huge dark green marble ship replica and you will be ushered into a briefing room where they are supposed to teach you how to examine gemstones. This will not happen as the 'owner's son' Mr Lin, will drop in and offer to take you around himself. He will then give obscene markdowns of the goods (80-90% less) and will shake hands with you and make you promise him not to sell the items.
All the jewelry are fakes. Normal metal (not platinum) and probably plastic/ glass/ cubic zirconia for the 'gemstones' (not ruby, sapphire, etc..) as confirmed by a local jeweler. Apparently, there is a syndicate operated by the shop together with the tour agency. Our local jeweler told us that this has happened many times and people have tried to take legal action against the tour agency/ shop but its all useless as the purchases are done willingly.
Unique Suggestions: Try to avoid all tour agency arranged shopping (tea, jade, silk, jewelry, feng shui items, medicine and pearl goods, etc...). The agency will get a cut from the profits. Goods are mostly sub-standard (if you're lucky) and/or fake and harmful. If you must participate, avoid purchases or at the very least, limit your purchases. Less lost the better. the tour leaders might show their displeasure ('cos they won't get commission if you don't buy anything)
Fun Alternatives: Some friends recommend going to jewelry shops in major shopping malls. They are less likely to con because licenses are needed to set up shop, however, pricing might be higher.
It is common for local guides to try to include 'shopping trips' into your itinerary. These will frequently involve a visit to a factory to see how the items are made (e.g. cloisonne enamal, silk carpets) or a tasting (tea). Another lure is the promise of clean toilets at these establishments. The idea is that you will then feel obliged to purchase something.
It used to be the case that guides were obliged by their agency to include such trips, and had to obtain signatures from the establishments concerned, though I believe this is no longer the case as the majority of guides are now freelance.
Unique Suggestions: If you have a guide, you are unlikely to be able to avoid these visits entirely, but try to agree only to those establishments you will find interesting, and don't buy anything unless you are really sure you want it. I rather enjoyed the tea-tasting, though the prices of the tea offered for sale at the end were extremely high. The cloisonne factory was also interesting.
As my girlfriend and I were leaving our hotel, two middle aged men approached us and asked us where we were from etc... Turns out one of the men was from Beijing and the other visiting from Shanghai. The Beijinger was giving a tour to his visiting friend. They asked if we would like to join in on their tour of the hutong, and we were delighted to get a "free" tour of the hutong. They took us along and walked us into various antique stores and schmoozed us the whole time with interesting history and asking a lot about our US culture. They had very convincing back stories (the stories were so convincing i'm not even sure if they were entirely fake). The whole time they walked us they split us up, one walked with me and the other walked with my girlfriend. Eventually one of them suggested we get some tea and we enterred a small govt. tea shop with an elaborate bar carved outof wood. The whole ceremony proceeded as others have described and then at the end of the ceremony our "friends" asked us to pick out our two favorite teas. The lady then proceeded to start packaging out teas. At this point an alarm went off in my head and I got out of my chair to ask our Beijing friend how much this was all going to run. The tea lady showed me the bill and it turned out for the ceremony for my girlfriend and I plus the two teas was about $450 US. I got instantly nervous and told them that this was more than the cost of our hotel and we could not afford it. They politely asked me to sit down and said that the tea was already packaged and could not be returned to the shelf. I said that we would only take one box of tea then and that they could buy the other. To calm me, the Shanghainese man said he would buy me the other box. So my girlfriend and I ended up shelling out 300 for the ceremony and one box of tea. They then said that they had an important business meeting to get to and quickly hurried us to a cab that then took us to the Forbidden City.
Unique Suggestions: We thought the tea ceremony was very cool but at the same time we felt cheated and stupid about the whole thing. We knew "face" was very important to the Chinese so neither of us wanted to make a scene, although looking back on it I wish I had.
Look out for Jack who has a big mole to the left of his nose and "Tom".
On our last day of our tour , late in the afternoon our tourist guide brought us to JJF (Jiu Jiu Fu) gemstones store. . A polite lady greeted us. She was amazed to find out that we are from Manila. She told us that her superior or boss is also from the Philippines. .He introduced himself, He told us that his mother is still staying in the Philippines somewhere in Binondo. That they have also a jewelry store in Ongpin, Manila and it carries the name of JJF . At the back of my mind I was thinking that I have seen him in a photo at the airport beside the photo of Jackie Chan holding a mastercard adverstising the Beijing Olympics of 2008.
JJF gemstone store is near the place where the olympics will be held that looks like a birds nest. There is an entry where in there are red yarns tied on the leaves and branches. If you are not familiar with the place you cannot find the entry because of the big bushes of plants. Going to that place the store is at the right side and the olympics site is at the left side.He explained to us that the gemstore store gets the items by the bulk and he can give us a big discount So my companions bought without any hesitation.
He introduced me to a set of black sapphire which include a pair of earrings, necklace, bracelet and ring. I bought the set for US$1,000. When I returned home to Manila, I went to my friend who is also a jeweler and I showed her the items that I bought because they look different with what was shown to me and to my disappointment when she appraised the items, they are fake. My friend told me that the items given to me were not of the same items showed to me.
In my mind I could still hear his voice when he advised me not to sell this set when I returned home because it can be an heirloom to my daughters. Maybe that advised is to prevent me from discovering that I was deceived.