Another Kind Of Scam – Airport Taxi Scam
I don’t have any pictures or videos, just a short long story to tell you guys about a scam that I have never heard of nor seen referenced in any blog or the internet.
Last year I went Thailand in April for the 3rd time. I had been there in December 2011 with good experiences and I decided to go back again.
When I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport, around 4 – 5 AMI decided to catch a taxi to go the hotel quickly. The hotel was near Asoke station, around 30 minutes away.
I had a long trip (around 24 – 26 hours), so when I left the plane I went to pick up my bags and went straight to Immigration. Everything was good until I left the airport. The first thing people want when they arrive at destination is to grab a taxi and go to the hotel to rest a bit. That was exactly what I did. I went outside hoping to pick up a taxi. When I went outside soon a boy of 14-15 years of age called, “Taxi, taxi”. That was what I wanted to hear. At that time of the morning there’s not any official place where you can pick up a taxi, so I decided to go with the boy. I asked him if he had a taxi for me and he said yes. When I arrived near the “taxi” I saw it was not a taxi, but a mini-van like the ones at Victory Monument. I asked again, “Is this a taxi?”. The boy replies to me “Yes, yes. Give me your bags. Come inside”.
I felt reluctant, but I decide to go inside. Big mistake, as you will know soon. When I came inside the van I had noticed there were more 2 people inside at the front of the van, the driver and a “co-pilot” as well as the boy seated close to me. That started to ring a bell inside my head. They started the trip to the hotel and after 3 or 4 minutes the boy showed me a paper with the prices of a limo service. They wanted to rip me off! The limo service from the airport to Asoke station was 2500 baht! A perfect rip off! I was aware that a taxi runs around 250-300 baht. These guys wanted 10 times more for a “limo” service. I said no of course, and I replied that usually a run to Asoke was around 250-300 baht in day light.
They stopped near the airport in a street with no lights and I started to get afraid of the situation. Empty street with no lights, alone with 3 guys.
After some arguing the “co-pilot” started calling to some people that I don’t know who, talking Thai, and pointing the finger saying “You pay, you pay!”
That was when I started to get nervous and I said to them: “Pay nothing. Take me immediately to the airport”. The boy started saying they would give me a discount, now only 1500 baht, another rip off.
I start looking for my chances to survive the experience. Three guys, one a boy of 14-15, the driver, a young guy and the co-pilot a man of 40 something. I dunno if they had guns or knives and I dunno if my Krav Maga and sport combat training was enough to survive a confrontation. I decide to take the clever way. I started a negotiation with them. I offered them 600 baht so they would take me back to the airport and no harm done. The driver started saying they wanted 700 baht. That was when I started to get tension again. I told them like this: “Which part of this don't you understood? I only have 600 baht in Thai money. Take me to airport right now!” After a few moments the driver said “Ok”. We take you back to airport where you have a taxi driver waiting for you. He will take you to Asoke and don’t need to pay any more money.
And they did it. They took me to airport and some old man with a taxi took me safely to my hotel near Asoke, despite driving me to Nana first.
When I arrived at my hotel I felt good and relieved because I was safe and secure. Thank god I kept calm and I showed them that I was not afraid. But now after a few months I think things might have been wrong to me too. My Thai wife always say to me that I might get seriously injured in the process, because she heard about taxi drivers that killed customers to keep their money.
I never heard about this scam before. Maybe I was the first. Gem scam, jet ski scams and so on – I heard a lot of complaints.
I’ve been in Thailand before this last time and I’d never experienced nothing like this. This particular situation only happened because it was at dawn time, around 4 or 5 AM. No officials outside, no police, no-one to take care of tourists
who just arrived. Don’t know if you had heard about this particular scam ever.
This is a scam performed by little creeps without honesty. I think for a big group it may be good to have this kind of service (they called “Limo” service – LMAO), not for a sole farang.
Believe me, it’s not easy to rip me off. I survived all the scams in Thailand before – tuk-tuk scam, taxi scam, temple scam, gems scam, tailors scam, even absolute scam. I never falled in the gogo bar scam because I’m not a
sex tourist and I don’t think bargirls are an option (not in west, why should I have bargirls in Thailand?). Thailand have many decent and beautifull ladies, why many farang only want hookers and bargirls? I think I will never understand
this dilemma of the western sex tourist. I had great times with decent Thai ladies before and I have never payed directly to have sex with any of them (as you know, man always pay indirectly – dinner, drinks, taxi, even condoms … eheheh).
I hope you publish my story so every farang that goes to Thailand can be aware of this rip off.
This is a known problem at the airport and there is always talk of fixing the situation of unlicensed taxis and drivers collecting unsuspecting foreign passengers at the airport, but yet nothing ever seems to happen and the problem persists. The best we can do is, as you say, publish stories like this so people are aware of them and know what to look out for.
Of course one should always ask the price in advance when it is not obvious i.e. there is no meter running.