Your best defence is not to be afraid to give offence
My wife and I were visiting Tenerife in January. On the second day of our holiday we visited the nearby shopping centre at San Eugenio. I had my camera with me (Canon EOS 400D) as per normal. As we approached Sherina Electronics, Centro Comercial San Eugenio, Local 33, Playa de Americas, X-1381968-J, Tenerife, a shopkeeper asked if he could have a look at my camera so I let him have a look and he invited us into the shop.
He wanted to show me the images on my camera in HD. Without my consent he called upon a second person to programme the memory card at first, then the camera itself and displayed the images on a standard TV. For doing this uncalled for task the assistant demanded in excess of 800€ which I refused to pay. He reduced the sum to 689€ which I still refused to pay. I asked for the programme to be removed but was informed this could not be done and was asked to pay 689€ or he would retain the camera. Reluctantly I paid by credit card.
Recognising I wasn’t happy the salesman immediately mentioned upgrading the camera in part-exchange for our existing one. He brought out a Canon EOS 550D then went into great detail about the benefits of the camera much of which I later learned was simply untrue. Every time I asked a question the assistant would confuse the issue and even offered my wife and I drinks to distract us from the point. After some considerable time we ended up paying 3140€ by credit card.
The assistant brought out a ‘grip’, charger and memory cards. Again, when we questioned the price he would delve into details about the functions of the bits and pieces and cause confusion and all the time spinning a whole load of yarn. He also showed us the price on the bottom of the packaging/box trying to convince us he was not over charging. These items cost us a further 986€ for which he asked if we could pay by cash. I refused and paid by credit card.
Prior to returning to the UK we found out that we could complain to the local European Consumer Office in Los Cristianos and got a form to complete. As we did not have much time left in Tenerife, we returned to the shop to sort things out. The shady assistant offered a full refund if I could purchase the same camera for less and have the camera in my possession at the lower price. I took him up on the offer. However, when we got near to the other shop where I had been given a much lower quote the assistant decided to chicken out.
He asked me to return at 7pm when the manager would be there but I asked that he meet me instead at 4pm. I received a telephone call saying could not make 4pm and had received an arrangement by fax. Upon returning to shop, I queried all the prices and was given an offer of 230€ or 780€ in “gifts”, plus the return of our old camera. Taking this all into account we still ended up paying 3/4 times over the odds.
Since contacting Canon UK I now know that my original camera could not have been programmed for HD imaging and that I had been hooked into the shop on a scam from the moment the first salesman spied my wife and I walking in the area with our camera on view. From the outset, the people in this shop used a sophisticated (and well practised) routine to confuse us into parting with our money on what amounted to little more than a cheap con trick.