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Phuket restaurant in hot water over charging tourists high prices

Phuket restaurant in hot water over charging tourists high prices

PHUKET: Kamala Police Chief Col Chaiyaphruk Phatiworakorn has intervened to diffuse a “misunderstanding” of a local restaurant charging a Thai tourist B3,000 just for cooking the seafood meals ordered, not including the ingredients.

tourism
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 06:01PM


Col Chaiyaphruk called the owner of the NaNork Sunset restaurant, Sitthithep Precha, 49, and the customer, Lalita Chaiyasit, to Kamala Police Station this afternoon (July 8) after a post on Facebook by Ms Lalita explaining the incident started going viral on Thai social media.

With Col Chaiyaphruk as witness, Mr Sitthithep and Ms Lalita apologised to each other, and settled their differences.

Present to oversee the talks were Yaowapha Phongkheha of the Phuket office of the Department of Commerce as well as officers from Dharongdharma Center (Ombudsman’s Office) and Tourist Police. 

Ms Lilita posted on her Facebook page in Thai at 10:08pm last night, “Warning for Phuket tourists. Today my family and I are travelling. We bought four lobsters, and then we ordered a restaurant to cook and added some more dishes.

“When seeing the bill, we were shocked by the prices of #fried squid for B2,500 and #spicy curry pork for B850. We ordered a lobster as sashimi, but we did not get it. The food was inedible, it did not taste right. We can eat some, but we already invested and expected the food to make us wow. (sic.) We can pay, but not for this overprice 55555.”

Ms Lalita later explained that she did not order the food directly, but instead placed her order through a guide who had accompanied her and her family from the hotel where they were staying.

“I just stayed at my hotel and ordered my tour guild to do it. PS. We have only just learned that a hotel staffer has suggested this restaurant to our guide.”

The bill presented, which also included several other dishes, totalled B6,750. 

Ms Lalita argued against the B850 charged for spicy curry pork dish, and the B2,500 for the fried squid dish, but found the  B100 for steamed vegetables, B150 for a serving of nam prik and another B150 for a serving of nam prik goong sot all acceptable.

The bill also included B3,000 just for cooking the ingredients, which became the focus of the conflict.

Mr Sitthithep told officers today that yesterday evening a tour guide came to his restaurant and ordered take-away meals for 10 people. 

The guide also brought four lobsters which were to be made into sashimi and fried with three different sauces, a Caranx fish to be made into sashimi and steamed with lime, and two Grouper fish to be fried with chili sauce. He also ordered a serving of tom yum and a serving of kaeng som curry.

“We only talked with the tour guide, not the customer when they came to order,” Mr Sittithep explained.

“We charged B3,000 for cooking. The amount of food cooked was for 10 people. In total 2kg of fried squid was cooked, for which we charged B250 per one-person serving, and the same for spicy curry pork,” he said.

However, when challenged over the prices, the bill presented was reduced three different times.

“When the customer called and told us that it was too expensive, we negotiated and ended the deal at the price of B4,900, but she transferred to us only B4,000,” Mr Sitthithep said. 

Mr Sitthithep also explained that he has operated the restaurant for 28 years and that this was the first time that he has had a problem with a customer.

“I’m sad that this kind of incident happened in my restaurant. We never overcharged our customers and will not ruin our reputation for this money for sure, as we know well about the current economic situation.

“Before this, we always gave a 10-20% discount to Thai customers, if they asked for it,” Mr Sitthithep said.

“This customer is ruining the Phuket tourism image, but I also have to apologise to other business operators for this incident,” Mr Sutthithep added.

Phuket Commerce Chief Ms Yaowapha told the press that from inspecting the menu prices at the restaurant, “The prices that the restaurant set for the food they serve are reasonable, not too high as explained in the post.

“The prices of food are clearly shown in their menu,” she added.

STERN WARNING

Regardless, Seri Lapmak, Deputy Chief of the Kamala Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor), today urged all restaurants to not overcharge any tourists.

“I understood both sides of the disagreement. I do not want to judge anyone right now. Our office is in talks about that with the restaurant owner,” Mr Seri told The Phuket News today.

“But I am concerned about the price for fried squid with the black pepper, because that cost B2,500 on the first bill, then B1,500 on the second bill and B1,000 on the third bill,” he added.

Mr Seri noted that how damaging such an incident going viral on Thai social media could be to Phuket

“This could affect Phuket’s tourism industry a lot. Restaurant owners must understand that right now there are only domestic tourists. Right now, we need them to come to Phuket,” he said.

“We understand that this COVID-19 situation is a hard time for everyone, and certainly not the time to charge high prices. Please set prices to be suitable for Thai tourists. I do not want any tourists being overcharged,” he said.

Mr Seri invited people who believe they have been overcharged to report it to the Kamala OrBorTor.

“Please call me on 081-5371334, or the Kamala OrBorTor at 076-385640,” Mr Seri said.

He also warned that any complaints of overcharging would be investigated, and any operators found overcharging tourists would face having their businesses shut down.

Additional reporting by Tanyaluk Sakoot

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stuff5000@gmail.com | 08 August 2020 - 12:59:20

Its all the norm for those who live here and know of these things...

Edward Reumann | 12 July 2020 - 19:26:27

This story speaks for itself.  Not only did the restaurant owner agree he overcharged the customer by reducing the final bill, but also let it be known he discriminates against foreign customers by offering  a 20% discount only to Thai customers.  All those reading this blog should boycott this restaurant! 

Pascale | 12 July 2020 - 10:41:29

Kurt,of course such an idea has to come from you ! Cheap Charlie at it's best.

DeKaaskopp | 11 July 2020 - 15:32:51

Wow Nasa 12, a well written comment !

Kurt | 11 July 2020 - 12:10:39

Thinking about it,  next time we go Kamala, will order meals+ drinks in that restaurant. When they write down the order we will ask 20% bill discount. If not given, we cancel order and walk out. That is fair.

Nasa12 | 11 July 2020 - 10:27:30

@Lalala, never comment to this DKK, This it’s are a very very si.k person. 

mgb | 11 July 2020 - 09:48:05

Before this, we always gave a 10-20% discount to Thai customers, if they asked for it,” Mr Sitthithep said. IT SAYS IT ALL. 

DeKaaskopp | 10 July 2020 - 15:59:43

@Tralala  Good luck with your "Freedom of speech" in your next destination Kazakhstan/ UAE. If you ever find a way out of here of course. 555

LALALA | 10 July 2020 - 09:32:46

DEK... I comment where I want and about what I want... Its called freedom of speech. If you like it or not.

DeKaaskopp | 09 July 2020 - 21:59:33

"Another brilliant example why foreigners should refrain from visiting..." And some should not only refrain from coming here,they should also refrain from commenting on forums regarding Thailand.

LALALA | 09 July 2020 - 11:42:40

This thing went only that way because they were Thai tourists involved. If it would have been foreigners nobody would have given a ... .Another brilliant example why foreigners should refrain from visiting Land of Scam in the future.

Kurt | 09 July 2020 - 10:50:11

Well, after all, as the Phuket tourist industry is in bad shape ( including financial positions restaurants) and Thailand has no other choice this moment than just play the domestic tourist card, I not understand that 10-20% discount happening for thai tourists. Do I miss something about thai business management?

Kurt | 09 July 2020 - 10:27:22

Funny to read how all 'involved' tried to make a great 'Gordian Knot'. At the end  of 'knotting' impossible to get the real picture. Than solve everything as a 'misunderstanding'. Case closed at police station with 'mediation'? How much mediation costs in Thailand? ( lawyers fee level?)

Kurt | 09 July 2020 - 10:17:46

Not overcharge Thai tourists, but overcharge foreign tourists 10-20%. Why this different charging/scamming?
It looks like some Thai entrepreneurs see foreign tourist as superior/'higher class' than thai tourists.
Business class and economy class in a Thai restaurant. Hahaha.

Nasa12 | 09 July 2020 - 09:56:27

”Toms88”  Right on the beach you wright, well if this it’s a public beach then it’s illegal. 

Galong | 09 July 2020 - 09:51:45

@Toms88 - OMG, are you actually trying to tell us that someone who charges 2,500 baht for a plate of fried squid with the black pepper is an honest/reasonable business person?

They should be put out of business over this either by the authorities (fat chance) or social media. 

Toms88 | 09 July 2020 - 08:26:30

Also it has to be noted that the restaurant is located right on the beach, which is one of the best location i found in Phuket, so prices are of course higher than others restaurants more far from the beach.

Toms88 | 09 July 2020 - 08:24:24

I am in good position to talk about this because i am living in the room on the top of this restaurant (same owner).
They are all extremely kind people, who often share food with me, give me cheap prices or let me use the surfboards.

I really don't think anyone was intentionnaly trying to steal money from the customer.

CaptainJack69 | 08 July 2020 - 23:21:17

Yeah, domestic tourism will save us. They complain on FaceBook about a pretty reasonably priced meal (that's probably inflated by a hefty % to the "guide") and to top it all off apparently a 10-20% racism discount is normal? Most restaurants only make 25-30% profit to start with.

charles | 08 July 2020 - 21:01:50

Would they have reacted the same to a foreign tourist being charged like this 

Fascinated | 08 July 2020 - 18:54:44

Good old 'mis-understandings' (code for - whoops, we got caught out). Very silly pulling this stunt on a Thai national and locals will remember this place from now on.

 

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