Scams in Turkey – What To Do if You Get Ripped Off or Scammed in Turkey

Scams In Turkey Post - Scams in Turkey

Scams in Turkey – What To Do if You Get Ripped Off or Scammed in Turkey

DIE YOU DODGY AND EVIL STORE OWNER, DIEEEEE!!! The daydream ends with me chasing the sneaky bastard through the streets of Kusadasi brandishing a screaming chainsaw aloft and laughing maniacally, REVENGE!! – Just another reaction to the many scams in Turkey.

Yes, getting ripped off can really suck, with consequences that range from ruining your day to ruining your whole trip, it’s one of those painful and unforgettable experiences. Having read my previous post on how to avoid Istanbul scams either you want more information or you have been ripped off already and now want to know what you can do about it.

While in Kusadasi recently my girlfriend and I were ripped off close to $1,000, which suffice to say was not my fondest memory of the area, BUT we managed to get our money back. WHAT!! You exclaim, how the hell did you get a refund from a guy who was so dodgy that Dr Evil seemed like a perfect gentleman? Here’s the story and the process of how we did it, with any luck if you’ve been the victim of one of the various scams in Turkey it might be of use.

Our Story in 2 sentences: We bought a leather jacket that was quoted and discussed in Turkish Lira but we were charged in Euro’s.. and stupidly didn’t check the currency properly before paying, we only checked the amount (and there’s a pretty big difference between them). We also didn’t realise that we’d been ripped off until we were 650kms away in another city after checking the credit card statements… not cool.

The place that ripped us off was a leather goods store called ‘Benny’s Shop’ in Kusadasi.. they are evil.. don’t ever shop there… ever.

So what can you do about it if you’ve been the victim of one of the many scams in Turkey and you’re down X amount of your hard-earned money? After an evening spent researching online, we discovered that there was basically NO information about what to do if you are scammed out there at all. Like literally nothing. Most of the travel advice was about how to avoid scams that all had a ‘better luck next time’ sort of approach to actually getting your money back, I was starting to panic.

In this current situation, either one of two things was going to happen:

1)  We get the money back

2)  I fly back to Kusadasi purchase a chainsaw and live out my for-mentioned daydream.

Here’s what happened next

  • We emailed the shop – The ’customer service’ email address we were given was fake.
  • We called the shop – The number we were given was not the correct store. I was passed from person to person and after calling them back several more times I finally was able to speak to the dodgy bastard who ripped us off AND he laughed at me, accused me of being drunk and hung up on me. Okay, fuck this guy, this means war.
  • We called the police – They laughed at me and hung up. Ok then, fuck the Turkish police too.

The chainsaw growled and spluttered into life in my head, ok it’s on. 

After another hour of research, I discovered that there are tourist police in Istanbul specifically there to help foreigners with police matters. The next day we ventured into the middle of Sultanahmet to seek out perhaps the only people who could help us. The Tourism Police are located opposite the Basilica Cistern right near the Blue Mosque. You need to go down the side of the building which is marked (admittedly not that well). There might be a guard out the front with some sort of machine gun too, just for added impact.

After speaking with the police officers there, who could not only speak English but were also very helpful, we reported the scam and the culprits and were given the address of the government department for consumer rights, near Taksim.

We headed to the address we were given, which was 133 Istiklal Ave, close to Taksim Square. The Consumer Rights Office was in a larger government building which was on our left as we walked down the street away from Taksim square, on the historic Istanbul tram line. The building was a rather nondescript doorway with a security guy in the lobby.

Department of Consumer Protection Istanbul - Scams in Turkey
If you’re the victim of scams in Turkey.. go here. 


Long story short we were led around the building, passed between various people of different rank before calls were made to Benny’s Shop, and an email was sent from the department asking for a refund of the difference between the two currencies and after about 3 hours we were asked to return the following day. On our return the department informed us that the store had responded, saying that a ‘mistake’ had been made and they were going to refund us the difference we were owed. Boom.

However, our contact at the department said it was still not 100% since they still might not actually pay. However, we now had it in writing (email string from a government agency) that the store had admitted fault, which if the Benny’s Shop then refused to pay we could use the email as solid evidence of their ‘mistake’ for disputing the charge with Mastercard.

It took about 2 weeks after our initial visit to the Consumer Rights Office yet we did get our refund of the difference between the currencies in the end, without bloodshed or anybody losing their heads or any other body parts. Special thanks for the work of one particular government employee who I would love to credit here but I can’t pronounce or spell his name, you know who are you are good sir! Hopefully, this post can help someone else out if they are unlucky enough to be on the wrong end of one of the various scams in Turkey. If anyone wants to ask me anything more specific about anything, just flick me an email.

The chainsaw’s grinding screech dies away as I pull the plug.. lucky bastard.

A few tips for getting your money back if you’re the victim of any scams in Turkey

1)      Ensure you have all your ‘official’ documents like receipts (if any were provided)

2)      Check your travel insurance for fraud/scam coverage

3)      Check your credit card insurance for fraud/scam coverage

4)      Contact your credit card and dispute the charges

5)      Try to contact the shop (if possible)

6)      Contact the Turkish authorities as described here.

Scams in Turkey – Resources

Istanbul Tourism Police Hotline – (212) 527 4505

Address: Emniyet Müdürlüğü Turizm Şube Müdürlüğü Yerebatan Cad. No: 6 Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Here’s a screenshot of their location.

Tourism Police Istanbul - Scams in Turkey
Screenshot of the location in case you fall victim to any scams in Turkey

The Department of Customer Rights Office – Go there in person, as like the local police non-Turkish speaking calls will simply be hung up on.

Address: 133 Istiklal Ave, head down the street (with the old tram) away from Taksim Square and it will be on your left about a quarter of the way down.

Here’s a picture of the location and entrance.

Department of Consumer Rights Istanbul - Scams in Turkey

Remember though that prevention is key (as annoying as that is to hear in hindsight)! Read all about the different and most common scams in Turkey and how best to avoid them here!

Find more tales of travel and high adventure on the Nomadical Sabbatical homepage.

About Author

Pete

Hi, I'm Pete, an ex-cubical slave and corporate love monkey currently writing my way around the world. My background is in branding, digital marketing, media and I'm probably about a level 10 at moustaches.

Comments

  1. Wow! I’m in shock that this worked for you. Great post. I hope people know that most of the people you come across in Turkey are like your government employee who helped you, not the store owner, but it is also a good reminder to check your receipts. While we lived in Turkey, we tried to never pay with a credit card; it’s just too easy for something like this to happen. Another good tip is that the vendors always want to make the sale, so you can have them hold the merchandise and then go get cash to pay for it. Once you have determined and both agreed on a price, it won’t change so there’s no reason to hurry up and buy whatever it is you want.

    1. Yeh great tip about paying with cash Corinne, thanks for the comment, you’re absolutely right about the people though, most Turkish people are really helpful and friendly, it’s just the odd dodgy store owner that gives them a bad reputation !

  2. Bas

    Great story, thats not how things usually end. It goes against common practice, even in the west it would be impossible to prove your story and misconduct. That’s how i heard it anyway; although ethically wrong overcharging an article is not a crime if the buyer paid in free will and sanity. Hmm, maybe the currency thing is the crime. Besides that; Congratulations! The guy that helped you must have been very convincing, as I understand the culture this means pulling mayor rank or having his cousin the mayor of Kusadasi sending in the goons. I can easily imagine you guys getting lost in some apparatshiks web and having to throw down some extra dollars to oil the machine.
    A truely positive story on Turkey and the sense of justice that seems to work in the places where it matters.

  3. Refundless

    Talking about scams – Aegean Airlines is terrible! They will gladly take your money for a ticket and say that you can have a small refund and then not even refund that. I have never seen such a difficult procedure. Things must be bad in Greece when a major airline like this will not perform a small service like a partial refund.

    1. Wow, that really sucks mate. I’ve heard of a few Eastern European Airlines doing the same. That must have been a nightmare!

  4. Giselleandcody

    Good on you for getting the difference back. It is one of the worst feelings to get ripped off while traveling and thinking there is nothing you can do. We will make sure to stay away from Benny’s while we are here. Thanks!!

  5. Maria

    We just come back from Turkey
    Visited Benny’s and went through a very difficult bargaining for a leather jacket we were quoted 1300 TL. My husband the tough negotiator bargained it down to 300TL and paid it cash. After we finished with the purchase of my jacked my husband asked to see one for himself the slick salesman refused to sell him any. He told my husband that he would not do business with him, so we left the store with a bad taste.!!!!

    1. Wow, your husband has very impressive bargaining skills Maria, great work. They probably want to aim for more ‘low hanging fruit’. Glad you guys didn’t get ripped off though. Nice work.

  6. Rea

    Hi there, Can the The Department of Customer Rights Office & the Tourism Police help you if you get scammed buying Property? Lots of Foreigners I know, including my husband who is Turk got scammed. They have had long drawn out court battles over property that they own but end up not being entitled to, or having to pay more than what was asked etc just to get it back.

    1. Hey Rea, i’m sorry I wish I could help but i’m not sure about that one. I know we were lucky to get our money back and it took days of red tape. Can’t really talk to much about property over there sorry. Best of luck with it though.

  7. Natalie

    So glad to come across this very informative page as I’m headed there in the next couple of months. Thanks =)

  8. Came here looking for advice as I have had the same chainsaw wielding daydream. Have realised I might be overreacting just a smidgen as we were swindled out of around TL40. But every time I read another review of the particular restaurant on Tripadvisor, I realise they have been getting away with this crap since 2010 and I want them shut down and dragged out in the street. Shot down will work too. Ironically they are less than a block from the Department of Customer Rights, so I’m thinking someone at that office is getting fat, free kebabs from Konak every day. I will, however, make an effort to try and report them. Thanks for the advice!

    You’re funny. I like you and want your life. You can have my restaurant in return.

  9. Malik

    Hi,
    Thanks For The Useful Information.I Had a Terrible Experience Last Week And Now That Am Back in My Country I Need To Ask That is there any way that i can complain online.i was ripped of by a bar+scamer .

  10. Racheal

    This was a great post!! Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  11. Nathalie björk

    Hi Pete! Do you think we could call the department of costumer rights office?
    We have been scammed and lost 450€ because of this. Just came back to sweden, and had our rings valued that we bought from a jewellery. They fooled us big time!

    1. Hi Nathalie, You definitely could give it a go if you have the number. However, I get the feeling that not physically being in the office may work against you (out of sight, out of mind as they say). Best of luck, sorry to hear about the trouble!

  12. vivek chugh

    Can you complain online after your return to your country?

    1. Unfortunately I don’t think online will get you very far. Best to go in and meet someone face to face if you’re looking to make any headway!

  13. David from travelscams.org

    Great article, thanks for the tips! As the point where Asia and Europe meet, Turkey is a culturally fascinating place to visit. However, tourism targeted scams are abound here.

    Do be wary of the would you like a drink scam, fake carpets/coins, overpriced items, currency scam, shoe shine scam, no change back, faulty credit card machine scam, rogue taxi drivers, your car/wheel is damaged scam, ferry cruise touts, and many more!

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