Tourist Scam – Bullied into Buying
As a tourist in Tenerife, your chances of getting ripped off on a camera or electronic purchase, especially in Los Cristianos, Las Americas and Adeje are high.
Although there are some reputable shops to buy quality electronics at a fair price, the regular tourist areas are bristling with practised conmen who are very good at parting tourists from their holiday money for shoddy, fake cameras, tablets and the like.
There is no question that Tenerife is a great holiday destination. It has so much to offer that it doesn’t really matter whether you are coming to enjoy a romantic honeymoon, a family holiday with kids in tow, a week of golfing or scuba diving with old friends or a raucous stag or hen night with the gang. Whatever your expectations, Tenerife can meet and exceed them.
But no matter where you go in the world and how wonderful the holiday destination, it will always have a seamy side. The thing to do is be aware of potential pitfalls before you travel to protect yourself from typical local scams. So, if you reading this prior to your holiday in Tenerife, well done! You are a few steps ahead of the people who have shared their stories in the comments after learning the hard way.
The tourism industry in Tenerife attracts not only those who would make a good living out of providing legitimate services to holidaymakers, it also attracts those who would grow as fat on Tenerife tourist scams as ticks on terriers.
It is not only naive first-time tourists that get taken in either. In his own words, “James”, describes himself and his wife as, “… not naive honeymooners. We are well travelled and experienced – not the sort of people you would expect to be hood-winked in Tenerife. If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.”
James’ experience, told in his own words below, is one that is shared by far too many other Tenerife visitors every single day.
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.
Name and Shame
Many of the scams that are pulled daily in Tenerife rely on you being bullied or confused into parting with money. As James’s story illustrates, everything starts off very nicely but quickly escalates. His first mistake was letting the camera shop cowboy get his hands on his camera in the first place. It all went downhill very rapidly from that point.
Don’t be afraid to be rude. Tell pushy sales people to p*** off as soon as you start feeling pressured. But James was not pulled in by high pressure. The camera shop man approached him with a friendly manner and asked to see his camera. BOOM!
Information is key. The more Tenerife tourists that are armed with knowledge of this type of scummy operation, the fewer will get burned and the better off that will be for Tenerife’s reputation as a great holiday destination.
If this has happened to you, first go here for resources to help you: Ripped Off in Tenerife and then share your story so others know what and who to avoid.
Alleged Camera Shop Cowboys
We receive regular comments and emails from those who have been ripped off in Tenerife. Obviously we have no way of checking whether every one of the shops listed here are using heavy-handed or unfair tactics to sell second rate products.
It is entirely possible that one scummy cowboy came across this page by accident and decided to send numerous emails and comments over a number of years bad-mouthing his competitors. Possible but unlikely. So if after reading lal the cautionary tales on eTenerife you are still determined to buy that camera, steer clear of anything branded Yashica and take extra caution if dealing with any of these shops:
- TEAM Cash and Carry
- Dream Cash and Carry
- Goodwill S. C.
- Buy & Fly
- Tip Top Regalos
- Media World