Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

The Beijing Tea Scam (and a few others)


roddy
 Share

Recommended Posts

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

The scammers are a self-selected sample of the Chinese population, and it is quite possible that for the average tourists 100% of unsolicited offers of friendship or companionship are of this nature.

 

Yeah, because of where they are, whether they appear to be local to/familiar with where they are, etc. I know I'm a target because I'm an Anglo foreigner.

 

So far I've not been scammed in China (overpriced dumplings in tourist areas notwithstanding), but I accept that most (not all) of that is down to knowledge and judgement. In retrospect, the bloke in Shanghai who offered to show me his gym could well have been dodgy, but as it turned out he just wanted to show me his gym.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

You *might* call it a scam?

What makes it a scam?

jen001 joins a couple of girls and they visit a teahouse.

jen001 sees the menu, notices it's expensive but agree's and orders

the final bill is split so presumably each paid (roughly) own consumption according to menu prices.

 

what remains is a lack of transparency about the interests of the girls. Technically that would probably qualify as a scam. However if a lack of transparency results in a scam there is an awfull lot of scamming going on. Few people are fully transparant about there interests in business dealings and many even lie about there interests and/or offerings. For me a scam is a dealing in which you're presented with a bill that was reasonably unforeseenable or delivered goods that significantly differ from what you reasonably might expect and you're forced to pay that bill or take your loss be it through violence, threat of excessive legal hassle, (attempted) evasion of legal sanction  etc. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why did they insist she pays with her credit card if it wasn't a scam? She is lucky she had some cash with her, otherwise she would have paid 7000 or 70000 or 700000.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re the last story, I think it was a scam. But then jen001 met two friendly girls and spent some quality time in a nice enough tea room enjoying tea, wine, food and good company, and everything felt great. And all she paid was less than 700 RMB. So perhaps it was not that bad.

Such things happen to travellers. It is not a very big deal, is it? But my friend who found his lost backpack intact in Japan has a much nicer story to tell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

the final bill is split so presumably each paid (roughly) own consumption according to menu prices.

 

Pretty sure the girls don't actually pay a cent and in fact make money from the proceedings.  That part is just a sham.

 

I don't think there's much more that can be said on the topic.  

 

When it's happened to me a few times in different circumstances I've realized later I've been emotionally manipulated and have learned a lot about how that works and how to avoid it.   The cheaper the lesson the better.

 

Plus I gained a few insights into how my culture has not prepared me for these kinds of deceptions.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

angelina well I do look like a chinese person (in terms of complexion) and I do so often get asked where places are and so thats y my alarm did not go off like 100%.

And yeah at the end of the day 700y is not that high (though then later on when i think about what was ordered it did not amount to so much).

But the point is playing with a person and I'm sure they got a commission out of it is what really pissed me off.

I was 'lucky' enough to have cash on me and that they accepted to split the bill. But some might not be so lucky and when you are a girl alone in a closed room and owner a guy and with 2 girls u just met it now really seems dangerous (especially i'm not sure if I was yelling someone from outside would have heard).

In all a lesson well learnt and scam even if the persons were friendly and bill was not so 'high' by certain standard.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The facts and any reasonable definition of the word 'scam' are what make it a 'scam'. If the girls had walked up to Jen and said 'Hi, we want to take you to this place we work for to spend about 700Y - actually a lot more if we can get you to pay the entire thing - via a combination of overpriced and non-existent items' that'd be a different matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Overcharging and intent to deceive are not enough?

What is the definition of overcharging? As I understand it the prices according to the menu are paid and they were transparant about the prices. Prices differ from place to place and jen001 found them not unreasonable based on the statement " (but I once bought oolong tea in Taiwan duty free airport which were quite expensive so I thought must be ok)"

 

Deceive is, what I already mentioned, the lack of transparency, I agree that's no good but lack of transparency is everywhere. So if this is considered a scam, which is fair enough, an awfull lot of scamming is going on. Also managers and politicians are very good in telling/suggesting one thing in order to make people do something and doing something else then promised/suggested.

 

If a large company makes big bucks by telling people big lies in a commercial to buy some crappy product no-one blinks an eye. But these companies do exactly the same and more. They deceive, they lie and they overcharge. The difference is that we're habited to it and consequently accept it as a fact of life. Only in a very few cases where many people get disgruntled some showcase is made to suggest that people are protected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nobody blinks an eye because it's a commercial. It's not someone walking up to you in the street and deliberately lying to you about who they are and what they want from you. You can pretend those are the same if you want, but those of us in the reality-based community aren't going to take you very seriously. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Nobody blinks an eye because it's a commercial.

Which pretty much answer the questions I was reacting on in a different way. Overcharging and intent to deceive are not enough to make it a scam. There's also context, or as I put it in my definition, reasonable expectations. And this is a slippery slope as what is a reasonable expectation?

 

If you read the story what jen001 met was within her reasonable expectation. Only afterwards, when she thought about what happened when the bill was paid she felt deceived as the girls apprarently had other interests then what she expected. Had the play be played a little better, had the girls paid, left with her and gone back later to get the payback she might have talked about a nice time with some friendly locals that turned out a bit more expensive then anticipated.

 

I've seen many people happy to largely overpay after some sweettalking. I would consider it a scam, but those people are happy to pay. I personally have felt scammed several times not because I was really scammed but because I had to pay while my expectations were not met. I think what one considers a scam hinges on your expectations and the 'crowd' decides whether it's a scam or unreasonable expectations. As said, a slippery slope as what are (un)reasonable expectations largely depends on context, culture and era. I'm a cynic so I expect people to behave dishonest and behave in their own interest even more when those people approached me while travelling in a poorer country and at touristic area's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Each person has his own description of things. I do admit I thought that it might be expensive but price I paid is one paid after a split in 3! And that is what made me realised it was a scam (and a little mental conversion to USD)

It is not only as you said that I felt deceived that the girls had other interests.

And if we stick to the definition of the word scam:

"A fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual, group, or company in an attempt obtain money or something else of value."

So I would say that whatever the scenario is, if there is some acting done by a person with a goal to obtain money from another party in a non-transparent way then it IS a scam.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overcharging and intent to deceive are not enough to make it a scam.

 

Of course they're enough. 

 

I'm also not sure why we're whipping out dictionaries now. Jen001 was pretty clearly scammed by people who are from China but claimed they couldn't find the huge 天安门广场 right behind them, immediately dropped their sightseeing plans in favour of wandering off with a tourist they'd only just met, just happened to end up in a tea house that charges 676元 per head for a meal and some tea, and asked if they could 'borrow' 100元.

 

When my throat gets dry in Beijing, I buy a bottle of water/tea from one of the nine thousand stalls within strolling range (4元 if I'm being really ripped off). I've never even seen a meal and tea deal that's anything like 676元 (wine's always expensive but it's pretty well signposted). And no person in China has ever asked to borrow money from me, even those I know well—as my hosts, they don't even want me paying for myself.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In relation to the bill. It is well known that scammers ascertain the ability and willingness to pay via the conversation with the dupe. Once the scammers determine the wealth level of the dupe they then set the price for the scam. It could well be 7000. They don't want to set a price so high that an individual balks and refuses to pay at all (game theory). In Jen001's case they saw that her upper limit was 700 RMB, so that was the price. It could have been any other price for a different person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just an observation. Such things happen in other places too. When I was in Italy and Spain and Paris I was on constant alert, and that did not stop myself being robbed (3 times). And I was not even aware that I was the target of a scam when in Milan someone told me that my coat was dirty (someone had put some cream on it) and offered to help me clean it, until I texted a friend who is married to a policeman. My friend told me that those were called "ketchup gang" in HK. They put ketchup on people's clothes and then offer to help clean it and steal things when the target is busy cleaning. I did not suffer much loss in Milan (except the coat) as common sense told me to move away from such locals.

So I think such things do happen to travellers. I don't think jen001's case is particularly bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 just happened to end up in a tea house that charges 676元 per head for a meal and some tea, and asked if they could 'borrow' 100元.

 

They wanted to borrow 100元 probably because, I guess, the 700元 paid was slightly under the target amount  :D 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually was fooled by one of those girls as well. This was my first time in China, and I was left alone in Beijing because the person responsible for me was too busy. I later went to Tianjin, and was taken well care of. 

 

I had just eaten food at Pizza Hut and they met me on the way out. I found it strange that they tried to talk to me, but they quickly recovered, telling me about how they were on vacation in Beijing. Then they brought me to a street food street and suggested I try some special chuan. Then a little later, they asked me if I wanted some tea, and then they brought me to a tea place. 

 

We went into a cozy room, and looked at a menu. They first pointed at some expensive tea for 300 RMB, but I said it was too expensive. So we decided to order some tea for 40 RMB instead. I had a good time, and they told me a lot of interesting stories. When we felt finished, they brought in the bill which was about 900 RMB. I thought they charged 40 for all of the tea, but they were actually charging 40 RMB for every single cup. They also charged 100 in room charge and 100 in service charge. They paid their share, and I paid my own share of 300. I paid with cash, because I didn't trust them with my credit card. The girls pretended they were on my side, and also complained about how expensive it was.

 

Then they brought me to the subway station, and told me to hurry because the last subway will leave soon. When I was in the subway, I realized the place was a scam, but I wasn't sure if the girls was part of it or not. Then when I got back to the hotel, I saw the warning sign and realized I had been scammed. These kind of scams are not ignored by the police because they are legal, they are ignored because they bribe the police officers to look another way. They also target locals, but they trick them in a different way. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...