Tour Scams, Beijing
Please do not use this tour/travel agency for any tours in Beijing. It is managed by a person called Lee and he will lie to get your bookings - A seasoned conman!! The reason we booked this specific tour was due to a mobility issue but guess greed got the better of Lee.
Myself along with family & friends - 5 adults (including a senior citizen) & 2 children, booked a tour with Capital International Travel Agency. We were suppose to travel in a new bus and get an english speaking driver and tour guide.
On the day of the tour, the bus turned out to be a run down van along with an arrogant driver that couldn't speak a word of english. When we reached the destination, there was no proper guide and later realized that this was a doggy tour company. We also had to walk a fair bit to the entrance of Great Wall as they did not park closely (to save money) even though a person on our tour could not walk a lot which was known to the tour agency.
I stayed at Novotel Peace, Beijing and hence used this company - a regret I need to live it. Uploading a picture of the travel/tour agent office.
My wife and I had booked through our travel agent in India for a trip to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai. When we landed at Beijing, we were received by the local partner, a company called China Dragon, of our India travel agent. The first day was okay. The second day evening trouble started. We were in the Silk Market in Beijing doing some shopping and the driver was to pick us up at 645pm. We waited till past 715pm with on signs of the driver. We called up our guide who had left for the day only to discover that the travel company China Dragon had told him to leave us as they had some payment dispute with the India travel agent. So there we were stranded without a clue and with no message from the agent. We returned to the hotel in a taxi to find that the hotel had also received similar instructions that we were on our own and the agent would not pay the hotel. All subsequent legs of our journey, to Xian and Shanghai were also cancelled.
This is the worst possible behaviour by a travel agent leaving us stranded without even informing us. The guide and driver who were looking like they were all nice and friendly till then also disappeared. So much for their hospitality.
We called up our India agent only to find out that the money had been transferred but the local partner, China Dragon, was wanting some more money and hence the problem. we found it personally ridiculous, outrageous and most unprofessional on part of the China Dragon company. Please avoid them totally
Unique Suggestions: When you go on a trip to China, please make sure that you don't rely on your country's agent. Please take the number of the local partner and call them up directly, insist on seeing all the hotel bookings, air/ train booking tickets. Leave nothing to chance
Fun Alternatives: Beijing is less fun than Xian. But still the Great Wall of China is worth a look
We signed up for a Great Wall tour on the following travel site for Tuesday, February 9, 2016:
The tour company’s name is Beijing Youth Travel Ltd. Their ad was one of the top 5 listed in a Baidu search when we were checking for a Badaling Great Wall one day tour. We contacted Mr. Chen at 15300200602 and signed up for this tour.
We were picked up at our hotel by a van at 7am and were taken to the “Traditional Beijing Noodle Restaurant” at No. 3 Qianmen West Street, Beijing. There we paid the 160 rmb (about $30-$35 cad) per person requested. We were not given a receipt or a brochure or an itinerary. We were told that we would go to the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall (Badaling portion) and Beijing Olympic Park.
Once the tour started and we headed north out of Beijing, Li (a woman in her 30's), our tour guide, informed us that the money we already paid was only for the sales people and we would need to pay another 160 rmb per person to the tour guide to continue the tour. Some people on the bus were outraged and did not pay, others paid the fee. We did not. The tour guide mentioned that those who didn't pay in the past we taken care of. We didn't know what that meant exactly but it certainly sounded like a threat. We noticed we were the only Canadians on the bus. The rest were Chinese residents from other provinces and not familiar with Beijing.
Once we got to the Ming Tombs, we were told that we would not be going in; that there were bad spirits there. The bus drove by the tombs and continued to the Great Wall. We also found out that we would not be going to the Badaling portion of the Great Wall, but the Shuiguan portion. It was at this point that the two of us decided we were being cheated and demanded that we get off the bus. I noticed that there were bus stops by the road so it should be easy to get back to Beijing by public transit.
In order to get off the bus, we were told that we would need to pay another 100 rmb. We refused and shouted that we want off the bus now. They eventually let us off on the S216 Highway outside of Nankou. We talked to a convenience store owner who said that several people get off tour buses outside of his store in anger. He suggested to take a local bus to the Great Wall which we did. We enjoyed the rest of the day at the Badaling Great Wall. It is really quite amazing. Make sure you dress warm and wear comfortable shoes because you will be climbing hundreds of steps up and down mountains. We did not receive any refund from the tour company.
We went to the Ming Tombs later on that week. We were lucky enough to have a driver that time. We had already been to Beijing Olympic Park which is easily accessible by subway.
I would strongly suggest to both international and interprovincial visitors to Beijing to avoid these tours. Avoid tour companies that are not registered or cannot provide evidence of an established company with an office. If you find yourself in our position, make your objections known loudly and clearly and stop them from continuing to cheat you.
The Chinese National government or the Beijing Municipal government should put a full stop to this practice. It looks bad on your city and your country. Before this experience, I had nothing but good things to say about Beijing. Now I'm hesitant to recommend the City to anyone. If you want to promote tourism, please protect your citizens and visitors from companies that intimidate and scam people.
We were strong in our objections on that bus and the tour guide was loud and intimidating, yet we persisted. I wonder what happened to the two young women or the mother and their two children who came from other parts of China. Did they see anything that they wanted to see?
Jane and James
Unique Suggestions: To anyone wanting to see the Great Wall or the Ming Tombs, please consider using public transit and be your own tour guide. It's cheaper and a better experience. Beijing’s Line 2 subway has great connections. From Xizhimen Subway station there is an S2 train that leaves from the nearby Beijing North Railway Station that goes to the Great Wall. Also, there is the 919 bus that leave from Jishuitan station on Line 2 that will take you to the wall as well.
We took two group tours booked through Viator. One day to Forbidden City and other city attractions, the other day to Badaling and Ming Tombs. Our tour groups on both the days were led, quite unannounced, to silk and jade shops on one day and pearl and tea shop -- Dr. Tea -- on the other day.
Because the Viator charges themselves very steep ( ... I am wondering where the scam really begins ...) which us world citizens have already paid in good green bucks by credit cards ten to 15 days before the event, giving the tour company its running capital, probably there was no undue pressure on us to buy anything.
Unique Suggestions: For me overpricing began with Viator, thought the service was excellent. It is true, as other stories retell, that they will get you involved and engaged in many ways, most of all of course by being very polite and hospitable.
It was always possible for us to say NO. I think most of the time nobody from our group bought anything. But it did seem to cause a gigantic waste of time during which we could have visited a site or two more, thus getting more worth for the money.
That said, a word on Dr. Tea. The tea costs rage from 300 to 1000 rmb per kg. Considering I and friends to whom I gave gifts are thoroughly enjoying the teas, I don't really mind. Also, I checked out an kiosk for special teas inside a Walmart where the local population shops. The prices were similar. I also found that the chinese liqors are nice, and the price matches the quality. The tags were only about 20% markup in the Wangfujin type tourist areas compared to small neighbourhood shops for locals.
Fun Alternatives: On the other hand, The directions to taking public transports are readily available, for example [travel china guide dot com]. Read this or similar sites carefully, and you can do a lot for reasonably little. National tourism is itself a huge industry in China and the public transport will most likely be packed with national tourists, who are generally very friendly.
The flip side is that the maps and web instructions may suddenly stop being applicable as you will get lost. Even if you are in the right monument, some of these are sprawling huge. Where to begin and what is the tourist "must see" may elude you. And then it may be a long walk and much trial and asking a lot of people who may end up giving you garbled information etc. So potentially there is a trade off between paying Viator well and venturing on your own. If you have only a day or two spare from a business trip, just think of the charges and the overpriced purchases as "tourist tax".
Note that your tourist tax does make the economy go round. It certainly employs a chain of trained ( even luring customers is a skill :-) ) employees, and look where the boss is putting his exorbitant profits -- into a bmw or a ferrari ! For comparison consider the mighty Ap*le charges you for their great design while Xi***mi has the same for quarter the price. When the original innovators had recovered all the costs and from when on they are only seeking rent on their older innovation is beyond the consumer's ken.
So in summary if you have enough red currency spend them on a few overpriced mementos -- of course do not forget to bargain. The country, its monuments and landscape are amazing, and they have cleaned it up nicely for international tourists. So advice (i) -- If you are on a shoestring, can walk and search a lot, then use public transport like mentioned above. Have fun, and in the end, advice (ii) as Confucius say, ( or did not say :-) ) if you are being had, lie back and enjoy. Don't nurse the grouses, remember the good times.
Ive been in Beijing for the past week and I wanted to write a friendly note to travellers that are going to come here. This is my 2nd time here and I thought I was pretty good at seeing through a ruse. Well apparently not...
Watch out for the fake money scam. Its more prevalent than you think! Heres our story. My girlfriend and I were on Nan Chizi street, a street famous for dishonest con-artist scams, and we had decided to change some of our smaller Mao bills to the red 100 Mao bills.
We had at least 700 rmb in small 20 Maos and 10 Maos.
After going around asking a few of the locals on Nan Chizi, they all, very conveniently, directed us to a particular store that sells those little fruits and different little snacks.
We went inside this little place and there was a young girl, who said she was 15, who approached us and asked us what we needed. She understood our request a little differently, and asked if we needed to withdraw money.
Apparently they had a little " card swiper" as they called it, that could withdraw money on their " money machine". They used very elementary-school terms to describe these things. It was pretty hilarious. Had me and my girl laughing. Haha But I would be terrified what would happen to a innocent tourist if they actually used that "card swiper "... I bet their credit card number would be stolen and the whole nine yards!
The next thing that happened to us would not be a laughing matter, however, we decided to let it go in the end.
So. We had finally got her to understand we needed to "change the money " and she said sure sure sure OK. She went to the back of the store and came back with 700 rmb in red Mao bills. We gave her the equivalent of 700 rmb in 20s and 10s. We happily left after buying an overpriced piece of fruit, which they charged us 15 rmb for.
Everything seemed fine until we got to a little souvenir shop down the road where we were trying to buy shirts with the money. 3 of the 7 bills were fake, as confirmed by the shop owner of the souvenir shop. That little girl had stolen 300 rmb from us!
We told them wait a few minutes and we went back to the store to confront the girl. Upon seeing us, she knew immediately what was going on but she did not seem the least bit worried. She was cleaning under her nails with a little knife, just chilling! Ha!
She told us to get out of the store and started reaching over the fruits and items, to try to knock my phone out of my hand. Her boss came out from the back about 5 minutes into it, and told us if we did not get out, they would call police.
Since we were not trying to cause a scene, and really, 300 rmb isn't too much money, we decided to let it go. Also we were concerned if the police really did come, how would we communicate with them.
We did get a picture of the little girl who scammed us for the 300 rmb. We also found out later, the same little girl is running Tea scams with Tea houses in the area. So no wonder she is so crooked. At 15 and running scams like these, she will grow up to be a real good scam artist, I'm sure. Her parents must be soo proud!
If you need to change money or withdraw money, always go to a bank and stick to the ATM.
Some hotels can also change your money. They can change all bills, even 1 Mao bills.
If you are suspicious that you have a fake bill, usually, you can check Mao Zedongs hair on the bill. Feel it, and see if it feels edgy.
Also, generally, the paper that the notes are printed on, is smooth and crisp, and does not glow when its put under a ultraviolet light. Thats because there’s no fluorescent fiber in the notes.
Check out the “tiny characters” that are on the top left-hand corner of the side of the note with the serial number on it. They are not clear on the fake bills. The tiny characters are the tiny “100 rmb” that is repeatedly seen on the small pink 100 that is on the top left-hand corner of the bill.
I hope this helps in someones travels. Do not let this Scam happen to you, and watch out for that little girl!
Unique Suggestions: If you do decide to call the police or wait for police to come after being fleeced by this money scam, I would tell you to prepare to have a long drawn out process of telling the police what happened. If you are really wanting your money back, this is worth it to do.
For us, we just chalked it up as experience and we decided it would be better not to let this consume us and get angry about it.
Fun Alternatives: Just do not go to a local store, especially on Nan Chizi Street, to change your bills.
BEFORE agreeing or confirming acceptance of a tour package in Beijing, please do take the time to check with your local travel agent on the itinerary of the tour. Some of the ground tour in Beijing consists of mandatory visits to factory shops/outlets. There you will be persuade into buying commodities such as silk, jade, jewelry and tea....so called at a good price since those are government's owned factories. At one of the outlet, there is a minimal time frame where visitors are not allowed to leave too early otherwise a penalty charge of Y100 will be imposed. Here is something you should know, the local tour guide and driver are mostly freelance who works for 4 -5 local travel agents, they earns commission on every purchase made by the tourist who they brought to the factory outlet. This sort of tour is ok for those who actually want to go spend money rather than those who expects a 100% R&R vacation.
Its not entirely a con, 50% of the itinerary still includes visits to historical sites such as the Summer Palace, acrobatic show, Forbidden City, ski playground, Great wall of China and shopping markets. Since these attractions does not generate extra income to the local tour guide/agent the time for these visits shall be quite short....to squeeze time for those other tour destination with the Kachingggg sound.
I felt my last trip was not so bad, just wish we spent more time in the attraction which we prefer rather than those factory outlets.....wasted a lot of time traveling on the road and listening to briefing at each factory outlet.
The local tour guide/agent understanding is the the tourist with his/her wallet has social obligation to help them earn more income.
Unique Suggestions: If you have somehow agree to go on this type of tour, here's what you do to save your wallet :
1) In the jade, bamboo and silk center - tell the sales lady you are allergic to mineral stones, bamboo and has a skin reaction to silk....therefore "not buying nothing"....just walk away (after the time is up).
2) In the foot massage center there will be a bogus "Doctor" who sense your pulse and conclude you have more than 5 diseases (that cracks me up hahahahhaha)...after the free consultation he will ask you do you want to cure your diseases ? just say "NO"...if it escalates any further just say you yourself is a certified medical doctor...I bet that will get him running for cover.
3) At the jewelry center - just say NO!!! not sure whether those are real or fake.... tell them "I left my wallet and credit cards in the hotel".
4) At the tea center - just say "I HATE TEA"...that is the only way you walk home with your wallter still being healthy. If you buy 1 can of tea, the sell person with beg you to buy another 1....better not buy nothing at all.
otherwise all and all a cheap vacation will turn into an expensive con....
whether you are on a big tour bus tour or in a small van tour or even a private car tour of all the attractions in Beijing, the tour guides have enterprising friends who happens to pop up at one of the attraction you go to and snap a picture of you and after two hours, he will go back to another attraction that you are going and then offer to sell you the framed pictures of you and your friends at the attraction for a high price.
Unique Suggestions: just don't buy ok
or haggle for the price if your really want the framed picture, they cost from RM 40 if you would haggle and up to RM 70 if not.
Fun Alternatives: just don't buy if you are not interested
We were in Beijing on 25 Dec 13. We were approaching to the entrance of Forbidden City and one lady named "Lucy" approached us. She said, she is from some university in Xian and she is volunteering a Water Paint exhibition of her university. She asked us to visit the place. We followed her to see the exhibition. On our way to the place, she asked us whether we are planning for visiting the Great Wall. We told her we already have some arrangements. She then said do not go with any tour package they will make you to visit some factories and ask you to buy stuffs from there.
She was talking nicely and was telling us in such a way that she is just a volunteer of the exhibition. We were coming from Guilin and until that time we never had any issues from any one from China and she was able to convince us to think about another tour option.
She put it as follows. "This is the off-season for many taxi drivers here, I can help to arrange taxi for you to visit the Great wall. It cost you only 400 RMB and unlike other tour operators this taxi driver wont ask you to visit the factories and you can utilize it based on your interests.
We were impressed about it because we can go to Great Wall and spend time there. So we agreed to take her taxi and she said the English speaking driver will call you in the evening and make the arrangements.
In the evening the taxi driver "Peter" called us and told he would pick us from our home next day morning 8:00 AM.
We got the call from Peter and he said he is waiting near our apartment. We met him at 8:05 AM and started the journey to Muttiyanyu.
We reached Muttiyanyu and Peter said he will wait in the car and he said he will call after 2 hrs. (We were bit puzzled, why he has to call us?)
Peter called in my mobile and asked us to come back to the Parking lot. We didn't give much attention to it because it is not Peter who should decide our vacation. We went back by 1:15 PM and by that time he called me 4 times.
We went back to the car and Peter was looking very angry. We didn't give a *** to it.
He brought us to a silk factory !!! Asked us to go in and see. We went in an saw the place and returned back to the taxi without buying anything. Once we reached at the taxi point he asked us why we didn't buy any silk. We said we do get same thing in our hometown and we don't to buy this from here.
He told us to visit a tea factory (Dr. Tea), we went and saw the place and tasted some tea. We purchased a dry fruit tea for 200 RMB and returned to the taxi.
When we got in taxi Peter said the following
"You have to pay me more because you are not purchasing anything from these places or whatever you purchased until now will not get me much money"
I was very pissed of with this statement and told him clearly that we took the taxi just for seeing the Great Wall and not for any tea factory and it is what we agreed yesterday. He then called up Lucy and told all these. Then Lucy talked to us and asked for more money. We said we are not going to pay a penny more and we wont give any tip to him because of his arrogance.
Since we had this experience our energy also lost and we decided to go back and asked him to drop at our place.
We as tourists are visiting the country only for 2 or 3 days and the treatment by the people like this will make the entire interest or happiness in the trip.
It is a gentle reminder for everyone that not to take these kinds of crooked tour guides.
Following are the details of the tour agency
National Travel Service
National Travel Service Building,Fuxing Men Street
I joined a company trip to Zhu Hai a week ago. One of the shopping stops was this shop. The shop is located in a very isolated industrial area. Before we reached there, the tour guide had explained that this Jewelry shop was reputable, many branches in Beijing and around China. He gave us the assurance that the purchases in the shop are guarantee genuine and quality assured.
When we reached the Jewelry shop, we were ushered into a room to hear the promoter promote their products. The promoter came in and talked like very inexperienced and made herself a clown.
The promoter went out a few times to find a manager to help explain the Jade and Pearl but she always came back and said all managers were engaged with other customers. Then, not long came in a young man. The promoter showed fear and subservient when this man walked in. He asked the promoter to go out and he continued from where the promoter stopped. He also showed inexperienced and could see he was very nervous. My group laughed at him and made fun of him until he claimed himself was the son of the Company owner and he was very reluctant to do marketing. He related his lifestyle as a spoiled brag and the family not really happy with him for not helping the business. The father decided to send him far from the HQ which is Beijing to operate in Zhu Hai.
My group was very fascinated with the story and changed their attitude towards him. The group asked for free gift and he was quick to agree and went out then came back and said he could only give us each a ring. The ring was embedded with low grade pearl and made out of cheap materials. However, the Group was charmed by him when he tried to build rapport and friendship with us more than selling the products. He even could provide emails, facebook and whatapps, for us to add him. His acting was really convincing and further convinced by various reactions from the staff too.
Then, he brought us to VIP room. Inside the room stored many kinds of jade which exceeded RMB1000. He said those price tags for other people but for friends, he willing to sell to us at cost. He started with promoting jade pendants with gold horoscope animals embedded on them. The price tag showed RMB3800 each and he could give discount until RMB1000 each. Many people bought the pendants. I was near to buying the pendants until the sale person diverted my attention to another type which has dragon and phoenix. The sales person said these two were more suitable for couples or parents. She knew who I wanted to buy for. The price per piece priced at RMB6,800 and the son said he could give the discount up to RMB3,000 for a pair. I decided to buy and when I went out to make payment for it, I realized outside hall was empty. I just felt strange where all the people have gone.
When I got back to the VIP room, I somehow shown another pair of pendants. My first impression was nice and liked it. The promoter kept trying to sell the pair to me for RMB30,000. I declined. The Boss Son then approached me and said for friendship and he was happy today, he sold for RMB20,000 and less out the purchase earlier, net at RMB17,000. I told him I couldn’t afford since it has exceeded my credit limit. He then looked at me with very sincere eyes and said not about money but more about friendship and I owed him big for this. So he sold the pendants to me at RMB8,800.
I was like Ok, convinced that this would be a good deal and bought it. The jade is a black jade which I rarely see and I thought was uncommon.
After leaving the premise, I talked to another friend who bought over RMB20, 000 worth of jewelry. Then, I realized this could be a scam. I wasn’t confirmed until I read all the postings here. Knowing it is a scam, I couldn’t do much. I just think that if they could come out with such elaborated scam, they could also well prepared for countering a refund. Alas, I have to accept this as an expensive lesson learnt when shopping in China.
Unique Suggestions: Don't buy anything. Walk away. Don't let them convince you that you get a bargain. This will never happened. Too good to be true is always a scam.
Fun Alternatives: Spread words around to prevent another tourist get victimized.
I've visited Beijing last week with other 15 people accompanied by the local tour guide who can speak Bahasa so good. He brought us to silk factory, jade factory, bamboo factory, tea house, massage herbal factory and pearl factory. I didn't shop a lot as I only brought 1200 RMB to Beijing. Lesson learned, as we stepped into pearl factory at the bird nest stadium.
We have been brought into a room where the trainer introduced us all about pearl. She takes 10 minutes explaining about the lotion which made from pearl that can smooth our skin. She said another trainer will take over her place but after waiting for another 5 minutes, she said all trainers are busy at the moment and the son of the factory owner will guide us. So a cute and handsome guy pertaining as 'son' of the pearl owner came in. He said that it is his first day working and he just graduate from University. He have 3 siblings and other 2 brothers runs another pearl factory. He got a BMW car with driver and his mom drove Ferrari to work. I was like..wowww! He's so lucky! He wanted to visit our country and need us to entertain him so we treat him as a friend. SInce that day is mothers day, he gave us pearl ring for free but in return, need us to pray for his mother's health. I was like...no biggie, good son.
So he brought us to VIP room and show the pearl bracelet.The price is 2280 RMB for a bracelet! Since he already treat us as his friend, he marked down the price to 300 RMB! We're shocked! The staff also gasping and murmuring like...'damn..our boss is crazy giving very low price!'. So other group members roughly grab the bracelets without any delay. I was like...something wrong instead. So I didn't pick any.
After that we had lunch at restaurant and other tour group from Indonesia saw I'm wearing the pearl ring. He get closer to me and ask me about the pearl. His group went there yesterday. I was like....Damnnn!! yesterday? Same story: first day working, got BMW, treat as friend. Ok, so we have been fooled. I think the market price for original pearl bracelet is around 100 RMB. But I'm not sure wether the pearl is fake or not. Hmmm... Lucky I didn't buy any.
Unique Suggestions: Show no intrests at all. Don't get influence by the marked down price!
I was a victim just two days ago. Apparently this 'Rocky' and his fellow subordinates think they have a full proof scam plan that could potentially be a long term money earner. I have never been so furious! Given the link to this site and re-reading the exact same things Rocky told us just last Saturday made me even more frustrated as my tour guide, 'Ricky' was in it as well. Although I was safe, as I did not purchase anything from the scam, my tour mates spent a bucketload of money on low quality jades!
It was definitely not right for him to be selling jade to us in a pearl factory aint it? I think, the pearls are probably just a cover up. The tour guide took us to the Derun at the last day I was in Beijing as well.
He also gave us that 'I believe in fate and you are all my friends' bullcrap as well. He tried to impress us by wrapping a jade with a piece of plastic and then burning it. Then taking us to this 'VIP' room where he gave us discounts of jades that were priced from 8000 Yuen to 500 Yuen. This is just too ridiculous!
Well its a good thing I was all touristy with my camera at the shop. I took a close up of his grey suit ass.
He seems pretty confident when he talks. Exclaiming that he would be the CEO his father's jade mine and shop and how he had ties with the Olympic stadiums and medal making. His conditions when we were to buy his discounted jades were:
1. You must never tell anyone of the price he gave you.
2. You must not resell them.
3. Advertise his 'shop'.
I have read all the other reviews and concluded that there are multiple 'sons of the boss'. Some doing it more than once. Gosh, Rocky might have been to the factory for the first time for who knows, 20 times already.
I was under Reliance, Subang branch. I bet they are accomplices to this scam as I read in previous tips on this page, they too followed a Reliance tour. Not too reliable after all.
Unique Suggestions: Leave, or at least show no interest.
Fun Alternatives: DO NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING.
Inform other tour mates of this.
Other fun alternatives: Sue their sorry ass / expose them in public or flash this site at their faces if you have 3G.
Having seen so many reviews regarding Derun right before I went for my Beijing trip, I would have never thought that one of my tour stops included this scam store as well. The modus oprandi remained the same as all the fellow reviews below.
Firstly, we were brought into a room with a lady explaining to us the benefits and uses of pearl powder. Not before long, she claimed that an expert will arrive shortly to educate us with knowledge about authentic and imitation jade. The expert never came, and instead came a fair-skinned, fairly good looking young lad dressed prim and proper. He appeared nervous and told us he was an intern at Derun and would be doing the explanation instead. After an extremely long-winded explanation, it was obvious by now that he was trying to forge a fake friendship by telling us his "real" identity : the son of Derun's owner and the fact that Derun has many stores all over China, and that Derun also used to be a distributor for the famed jeweller Chow Tai Fook, which was all nothing but ***. I didn't discover something was wrong until I saw the store's name and he started giving out free gifts.
He then offered us a free gift which was a pearl ring each, and then chatted it up with us while trying to convince us of his identity and make us let our guard down by emphasizing his intent to make friends. After that, he brought us to a so-called "VIP room" which had a remote-controlled door with all sorts of jade and items inside. After constant emphasis on how he simply "wanted to make friends" with us, he then showed us a piece of jade pendant with plated gold in the middle. He told us that its original price was 8202RMB, and now he was going to sell it to us simply for 1000RMB. He also told one assistant to simply send the purchase bills of our group straight to his office and bypass the finance department.
After that enormous slash in price, he also brought us around to see the various sections of jewellery, and I concede that he had put up an extremely convincing act that it would have been difficult to see through his act had I not read virtualtourist before I visited the store. I left the store without buying anything and spent the few hours simply sitting around and taking a rest. It was also very unethical on the tour guide's side to have stopped at the store for the entire morning since time could have been spent on other non-scam attractions and landmarks. For fellow tourists visiting Beijing with a local-based tour agency, please be beware of Derun and other shopping stops included in the tour itinerary, a vast majority of these stores offer tourist-based prices and locals do not ever patronize them.
Unique Suggestions: If Derun or any other scam shops are already unfortunately included on one of your stops, please hold a firm stand and resist any thought to purchase something despite it's seemingly attractive price and various discounts. Do NOT say yes or even think of buying anything, not even the cheapest thing in the store. Making up an excuse works sometimes as well, such as visiting the restroom or simply staying outside of the store til the entire group has exited the store.
I was a victim as well. All the earlier accounts of their modus operandi are true. The staff will say that the son of the boss will serve us personally. The so called "son of the boss" is a big time con artiste. Boy is he good! I really must hand it to him. He reeks of Andy Lau charisma. He will try to convince you about making friends and offering 90% discount in his VIP room. The supporting act by his staff to look in disbelief added the cherry on top to complete the performance. I must admit i was an idiot at that time to fall for such a scam. But i must also defend myself, the whole act is a Golden Horse Award winner.
But God is good. Luckily i paid using my credit card and disputed the claim through the tour agency and kicked up a big fuss with my local agency. It's a long story of overall bad services coming from the tour guide, the driver and the hotel. Everything was terrible for me.
The good will always triumph over the evil. Just got my money credited after waiting for 3mths. Always use credit card to pay for purchases overseas my friends. Haha.... see who gets the last laugh. The so called "son of the boss" of the jade company must be thumping his fists on his chest. All his Andy Lau charisma and acting gone to waste. What a douche....
Unique Suggestions: If it is too good to be true. It is a scam!
Fun Alternatives: .........
I was a victim of Derun scam as well. The shop is located at the"bird nest" shape Olympic stadium. Unfortunately didn't read previous articles prior to my trip to Beijing in May'12 and to add salt to the injury, my 8d/7n Beijing tour was with Reliance Travel Malaysia at Sungei Wang Kuala Lumpur, a supposedly reputable tour company. Their China counterpart was Beijing Tour Company and local tour leader name was Serena (pic attached). Bought pearl and jade pendants at very exorbitant prices. Story line same as what was mentioned in other articles ie. briefing by young boss son then 80-90% discount offer as friendship.
Careful not to buy expensive items as the unscrupulous tour companies and or their agents collude with the shops at client expense. Most disgusting! Chinese authorities should put a stop to such scams and these people behind bars !!
Any malaysians who sign up for beijing local tours, please be aware of all this side stops especially the one at beijing olympic stadium.
Our group got con by this artists too claiming that he is the owner son and today is his special day and he will give us good price on the the supposedly Grade A jadeite. That guy is such a smooth talker. The modus operandis is the same as what dot_dot had mention.
You can see there's a lot of smart young boys in suits claiming either he is the manager or he is the owner son.
Our group purchased more than rmb30k of jade where they thought they got a good deal but in fact, after reading the story here, their jade could have been just a few hundred rmb worth of B, C grade.
I hope with my posting and thanks to internet, any folks who's planning for their trip to beijing and signing up any local tours, please be wary of all this con artists. They sounded so real and genuine that it is all lies.
You are better off buying jade from shopping mall instead where the local patronise.
The other con artist is the herbal medicine where a group of mens in lab coat will diagnose you and claim either you have kidney or liver issue. They will target those men and will persuade your wive/gf to buy the medicine if you want to cure your loved one. The price of some the medicines runs into thousand of rmb which in fact, you could get it for less than 100 yuan outside.
Their acting is so good that when they touch your hand, you will feel a jot of static when his hand touches yours.....the con doctor says, it is chi power. He will spray something on your stomach areas and when he rubs your stomach, you can see red patches which he claims is toxin from your body.
I didn't buy the acting and just smiled and told him, i only believe in western medicine. Left the room.
So, with my input, i hope those who read will try to advise their friends who is planning a trip to beijing, just be wary of all this side stops. No matter how good a deal is, just walk away. Afterall, china is a land of con and fake.
Unique Suggestions: just pretend to be bored and look not interested.
Fun Alternatives: Dont' buy.