Scam warning, Luang Prabang
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Oct 18, 2013 4:02 AM Last Post By: lucapal
Sep 17, 2013 8:25 PM
Scam warning, Luang PrabangDear fellow travellers,
I would like to warn you all about a recent increase of a well-known scam in Luang Prabang, Laos: you rent a motorbike, but the rental agency has a spare copy of the keys, so when the bike gets 'stolen' (in fact by the agency itself) you are blamed for the theft and forced to pay a whole lot of money to the agency!
Sadly, despite knowing about this scam and managing to avoid it for almost two months of travelling in South-East Asia, we have recently been victims to it in Luang Prabang. The town seems to be suffering from an increase of such scams now (several other travellers had the same problem in just a couple of weeks), so much so that a couple of Ambassies are looking into the matter and trying to do something to stop it....
The rental shop that scammed us is called KHAMSAY - avoid it at all costs! It is the biggest in L.P. and it is scamming people like crazy! And be aware that they also work through different other agencies and tour operators in town (such as MyLaoTours & Travel, the one we went through), but the name on the contract you will have to sign to rent the bike will always be theirs, so read carefully!
We reported this agency & their scam to the local police, but received no help from them at all. Even though the bike was parked in front of some security cameras, they refused to check the video and said that they did not want to get involved in this...
We lost a lot of money due to this rental shop, but hopefully this will be of help to other travellers who can now avoid the awful KHAMSAY!
Sep 18, 2013 3:38 AM
Sep 18, 2013 4:19 AM
2Most travel agencies & rentals are along the main street in Luang Prabang (Sisavanvong Road). KHAMASAY has its own shop on a smaller road, parallel to the Nam Khan river and still quitecentral(sorry but I cannot remember the same of the street.).But as written before, they work with most other rentals in the center...
Sep 18, 2013 4:52 AM
Sep 18, 2013 4:56 AM
4I see I rented a motorbike form one near the river on the east side of town, had an accident and they did not even want me to pay for the damage, that was some years ago so maybe they have changed now, can't remember the name. If you go to the post office, turn down the road to the river and then turn left it was along that road. I did find Laos was not so friendly as before and more scams.
Sep 18, 2013 2:08 PM
5Few years ago, there were local law against farang foreigners renting motorbike in Luang Prabang. Regular self-power bicycle was OK to rent.
It is troublesome, if this is true. I know few shop owners, who are honest with their business activities.
Sep 19, 2013 2:48 AM
Sep 19, 2013 2:52 AM
7pbekkerh : the motorbike was parked (with many other bikes) in a parking spot in between two restaurants, with lots of people around and we ourselves were sitting on the restaurant veranda looking over the parking place! The motorbike disappeared in five minutes and everybody around said that that nobody had hammered the chain or jumped the bike, so... Besides, this is unfortunately a very old scam!
If the police had bothered watching the video of the security cameras right there, we would have more evidence, but they said they did not have time...
Sep 19, 2013 7:39 AM
8My own experience with the tourist police in LP was not bad..they did what they could for me ( a different agency and a different problem,but still very annoying.....Grace Travel Services,on the main stretch).
At least i got my money back..but i was not impressed with the dishonesty of some of the locals there.I guess any place that touristy attracts more than its fair share of scammers.....
Sep 19, 2013 9:54 AM
9Does Laos tourism board not recognized these problem yet? I'm going to Laos in Three weeks and it is disheartening to hear tourists are being scam...being a Laotian myself it is shameful to hear about Lao people are being dishonest business people. Do they not understand good honest service will benefit them in sustaining long term income? I guest dishonest people comes in all shapes,sizes and race...shame has to be hear about beautiful Laos...
Sep 23, 2013 8:18 AM
Sep 23, 2013 9:15 AM
11When in Laos make sure your door and windows are secure at night. Also do not leave, money or money belt lying where someone can reach through the window, even to go the bathroom, there have been several cases where people have been robbed, they used bamboo canes to reach inside the room. Nong Khiaw has had quite a few cases reported in the last few years. Someone tried to get into my room at night when I was there, but the door and window were secure.
Sep 24, 2013 8:29 PM
12WATCH OUT IN LUANG PRABANG, THEIVES AND SCAMMERS EVERYWHERE.
I moved here from Vientiane in May 2013, since moving here we have had our house broken into twice, a laptop stolen, a bicycle stolen, a motorbike stolen and been ripped off almost everywhere we go. Restaurants add things to our bill that we didnt have, shops and tuk tuk drivers scam us because we are English. Even buying petrol is a rip off, You cant just say "fill it" because they will put 28930 Kip in the bike but if you hand over a 50,000 Kip note you only get 20,000 back. Its peanuts for westerners but thats not the point.
If travelling to Laos, trust NO ONE. and remember "IF IT ISNT WELDED TO THE FLOOR AND ANCHORED IN CONCRETE THEY WILL NICK IT". P.S sleep with your passport and money in your bra or pants.
Sep 26, 2013 12:35 PM
Sep 29, 2013 7:16 PM
14Farengi: if you do rent a motorbike,make sureyou only use it togoondaytrips/out oftown. They do not follow you if you drivefar enough. The real problem is when you stay in town (any town..) and they keep an eye on you! :(
Hacky: after two months of travelling in SEA and ten around the world, with no other scam other than this motorbike one happening to me, I really do not think I was wearing the wrong sort of t-shirt!! :P
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