There are many scams in Pattaya. Below are listed a few of the more common ones. Please remember that there are others so keep your wits about you. Also remember that it is not only the Thais who will try to deceive you. There are many farangs in Pattaya just as desperate as the Thais. Just like at home if you think something is not quite right then you should listen to your instincts.
However, please remember that it is your holiday. As such you should not be overly worried about being ripped off. With a little knowledge and keeping your wits about you many problems can be avoided.
Jet Ski Scam
This scam has been widely publicised locally and in Thai and international media. Despite this many people are still unaware of the problem. Others may not realise how much of a problem it is. The scam involves damage caused (whether actual or pre-existing) to jet skis while they are on hire.
What happens is that a foreigner hires a jet ski. On return the vehicle is checked for damage. The damage may have or may have not been caused by the hirer. They are then set up for an extortion bid where a disproportionate amount of money is demanded. The hirer may be threatened either actual or implied by being surrounded by a group of Thai men. Most people just pay to get out of an ugly situation.
It is unlikely that the hirer will be allowed to contact the police to assist in the situation. Even if able to they are unlikely to be of any assistance.
Some noise has been made to clean up the business but as things are in Thailand they are probably not going to change much. Some people recommend that you should never hire jet skis in Thailand. Others have done so and not had problems. My opinion is that it is not worth risking your holiday and would stay away from them.
Here is a Youtube video showing this scam in action: CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Thailand jet ski scam exposed!!!
Probably the most common Pattaya scam (particularly in bars) is bill padding. In most bars in Pattaya they operate a check bin system in which bits of paper are placed in a small cup to record the drinks you have and how much you owe the bar.
Some bars and/or ladies will slip in extra drinks into your bin while you are not watching. If it is just the lady doing it then it will be for extra lady drinks. If it is a bar policy then both normal and lady drinks may be placed in your bin.
There are a couple of things to do to avoid this. At all times you should keep close tabs on you bin. From time to time it is acceptable for you to check the contents of the bin. If possible do it while those with access to your bin are watching to give them a clear message.
If you want to be really paranoid about this you can pay your bin when you order a drink or after a few drinks. This makes it easier to keep tabs on how much you have consumed. The downside of this is that you may end up paying more in tips
1000 Baht becomes 500
Another Pattaya scam is not receiving the correct change. You must at all times count how much you receive back. However sometimes you may give a 1000 Baht note and only receive change from 500 Baht. The service staff will then say that you only gave them 500 Baht.
This one is a hard one to defend as what proof do you have that it was a 1000 Baht that you gave. It is your word against the bar’s. If this happens to you ask to speak to the manager. With a bit of luck it may be a farang manager and you may have more success.
Something that you can do to make the chances of this occurring less is when you pay is to hold up the 1000 Baht note and get her to acknowledge that it is 1000 Baht and not 500 Baht. An even easier way is to carry smaller notes when you are out drinking.
Long Time become Short Time
Now we get to a Pattaya scam involving ladies you have paid bar for. The scenario is that you have spoken to her in the bar and you have arranged for her to come with you long time. You get back to the room and do your business. Sometime later she says that she has to leave for whatever reason. Usually this is to check on her child, get her child ready for school or check on a sick friend. Sometimes she may receive a call and then say that she has to leave for some reason. You cannot hold her against her will so she has to go.
This is a very annoying situation and there is not a lot you can do about it. It is more common with the gogo girls than the beer bar girls. There is one thing you can do to reduce the likelihood of this occurring.
When you are discussing taking her away from the bar one of your questions could be what time she will leave the next day. If she says the usual ‘up to you’ be specific when you would like her to leave. Make sure that she understands what you mean.
Of course if the lady does want to leave early she will want her money. Remember that she has made the decision only to stay with you short time rather than the arranged long time. You should only pay her for short time. If you have agreed on a fee with her before you paid par give her half and send her on her way. She will not be happy but som nom na (in Thai that means serves her right.)
Increased BF during busy times
This Pattaya scam is something that you can do nothing about. Whether it is a scam or not is open to debate. Bar owner will tell you that they do it to keep girls in the bar for longer during busy times. A bar without ladies will have few customers. It happens mainly in gogo bars.
I have put this here just so that people are aware of it. A good way to ensure that this practice continues (and increasing) is for visitors to pay, the sometimes ridiculous, prices.
This is no doubt the most common Pattaya scam. As you are walking around in the day time and early evening you will get approached by someone with a clip board. They will ask either if you have a minute or where you are from. The pretence is that they are doing a short survey and that you have a chance to win a prize for completing the survey.
What is actually happening is that they are lining you up to be subjected to a sales pitch for holiday home time shares. When you win a ‘prize’ (which you will) you will have to go and collect it from somewhere. It is here that you will be subjected to the sales pitch.
The best way to get around this one is not to take part in the survey. Just say no thanks. If you want to practice your Thai just say mai ow krap (meaning I not want.)
Foreigners on the Scam
You may think that foreigners are safe to associate with in Thailand. While in general this is true you still need to be a little wary as there are foreigners looking for victims in Pattaya. Be particularly careful if somebody contacts you via the internet eg through forums.
One scam that I have seen a number of times involves a foreigner approaching you on the street asking you where a particular hotel is. They come across very friendly but the question will eventually come. Usually it will be a line about losing his wallet and needs some money to get home. Just smile and at most say no thinks and just walk away.
Bus station scam
A good and cheap way of getting between Pattaya and Bangkok is by bus. There are many departures in either direction all day. When you get to the bus station you buy a ticket.
Recently there have been many reports of what seems an organised scam. When you pay for the ticket they will short change you by 100 or so Baht. Just be aware of this and count your change carefully in full view of the ticket seller. People who have done this have got the scammed money back with no arguments.
New Years Compulsory Ball Fee
If you are going to be in Pattaya for New Years check with the hotel if there is a compulsory ball fee. Some of the hotels do this. If your chosen hotel does this then try to find another