Used car scam in Pattaya

There are many known scams in Thailand. Some scams occur simply because a situation creates an opportunity to make an easy sting without being caught. Dave has lived in Pattaya for 6 years. His friend Bob lives in Sriracha about 30 kilometers north of Pattaya on the way to Bangkok.

Bob was in the market for a new second hand car. He had already looked at a 2012 Honda and the price was right. However a few days before making his final decision to buy, Bob saw an advertisement in the local English language newspaper advertising a second hand 2012 Toyota Altis, the tough competitor to Honda, at a very attractive price.

The Toyota interested Bob so much that he called the owner to get more details. He discovered that the private seller of the car is located in Pattaya. The seller is a doctor who is currently employed at the Bangkok Pattaya hospital. Bob’s daughter was sick and he and his wife were busy with their daily work routine and commitments in Sriracha so Bob called David in Pattaya to ask him if he could take a look at the car for him. Dave agreed to check out the car the next day.

The next day Dave called Bob to get more details about the car deal but Bob explained that his Thai wife had just contacted the owner of the car and made arrangements for the owner to drive the car up to Sriracha. The good doctor offered to bring the car right to Bob’s front door on the condition that Bob’s wife make a deposit of eight thousand baht (8,000 baht) to the doctor’s bank account to cover travelling costs. The deposit would be deducted from the price of the car if Bob decided to buy it. Does this sound like a scam brewing in the background?

Bob’s wife made the eight thousand baht funds transfer to the doctor’s bank account. Bob was happy that he did not have to travel in the traffic down to Pattaya to inspect the car. The doctor told Bob’s wife that he would arrive with the car at around 13:00. Bob and his wife waited. At 15:30 the doctor had not yet arrived. Bob became suspicious and asked his wife to call the doctor.

The doctor’s phone was turned off and not receiving calls. Most unusual for someone who has made an appointment to deliver a car. Bob decided to do something that he felt in hind sight he should have done before his wife transferred the funds to the car seller’s bank account.

Bob turned on his computer, connected to the internet and began a Google search for the doctor’s name at Pattaya Bangkok hospital. Sure enough the name came up in the search results on the hospital’s website. This doctor’s name was so easy to find that it indicated to Bob that he just might be the victim of a Thai scam.

I know you are by now thinking that Bob was a naïve fool for transferring a large sum of money to the doctor’s bank account. Why didn’t he just send enough to cover travel expenses? About 1,000 to 2,000 would have been more than enough for the sixty kilometer return journey, right?

Remember it was Bob’s Thai wife who made the deal with the doctor. Now, here is where Thai culture and saving face eases it’s way into the decision making process. I’ll just mention here that Bill Williams delves into these matters in his two e-books After-The-Rush and Pattaya Bar Girls Report. They are well worth reading and could save you a lot of wasted time and money if you are planning to visit Thailand or already live in Thailand.

Bob asked his wife to call the hospital and ask to speak to the doctor. She did not want to do that. Bill Williams explains why in his reports. At the end of the day the good doctor did not turn up. His mobile phone remained turned off and he, lets call him "the scammer", is now eight thousand baht richer.

Can the perpetrator be tracked down? That is a big possibility. But Bob will probably have to deal with not receiving too much help from his Thai wife. Bob hasn’t read either of the eBooks recommended above but plans to do so. He could approach the bank and try tracking down the good doctor that way or just go straight to the police. Stay tuned for an update regarding this scam. Just press Ctrl+D to bookmark this page and come back in a week or two.