Thailand Tips #1: Returning Items at a Store

If you want to return an item you bought at a store in Thailand, a street stand, or from an individual…

Probably you can’t. Understand that first and have that in mind when you go back to where you bought the item to try to return it. Also have in mind that you are not going to accomplish anything by getting angry. Nothing positive anyway. Lose your temper and you lose face in front of those at the store, the employees, but also anybody you came to the store with.

If you are trying to return CD’s that don’t work to a street vendor in Pattaya and you lose your temper you might get beat and put into intensive care. In public in Pattaya, Bangkok, or Patong Beach it’s a real good idea not to lose your temper with someone because their friends will come behind you and whack you in the head with a bottle or metal bar.

Returning items is an art if you can make it work. I’ve been successful at it and unsuccessful more times. It will help if you can speak a bit of Thai. It will likely not help if you bring a Thai friend to try to negotiate it for you because the Thai friend understands there are no returns and will accept that and tell the store owner you just didn’t understand, mai pen rai, we’ll be leaving now.

You on the other hand won’t ‘mai pen rai’ so easily and get more angry that nobody is listening.

If an outright return is out of the question – and it usually is, you can try to swap the item (if it works) for another item of equal or greater value. I’ve done this with phones at TeleWiz.

Usually in Thailand a store that just sold you a phone, tv, something else of value must give you one in working condition if the one they gave you originally is inoperable. If they refuse I think you can call the tourist police on that if you wish. Thais hate the police more than you do – and the police will work with you to resolve it.

Another tip – if you ever threaten to call the police for any reason -Thais will usually give in to whatever you want. Unless they’re absolutely sure they are in the right. Remember that, it’s handy…

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.