'Joke's on us': Singaporean says he and companions were scammed of over $4,200 at Turkey pottery centre

'Joke's on us': Singaporean says he and companions were scammed of over $4,200 at Turkey pottery centre
PHOTO: TikTok/Eclair_travels

First, he was pickpocketed while he was taking some photographs during a holiday trip to Paris, in a TikTok video he posted earlier this month. 

Then, in a more recent TikTok uploaded on Tuesday (Sept 6), this Singaporean, who goes by the username Eclair_travels, shared how he and some of his travel companions were scammed some US$3,000 (S$4,200) at a pottery centre in Cappadocia, Turkey. 

"Oldest trick in the book yet we fell for it. Joke's on us," he said in the captions. 

This is really one unlucky traveller indeed. 

In his Turkey video, Eclair_travels starts off saying that the pottery centre that he was referring to – Bezirhane Culture, Arts and Ceramics Centre – was part of a private tour recommended by his hotel.


As it is rated one of the "top few hotels in Cappadocia", Eclair_travels said he and his fellow travellers did not suspect anything amiss about the private tour, admitting that they had a "false sense of security" then. 

Throughout their tour, they also had an assigned guide who spent a few days with them and eventually, the group even began to trust him "like a good friend". 

"Our guide was a master of believable storytelling," Eclair_travels said, adding that the man also shared "intricate stories" of how Covid-19 had severely impacted his traditional family-run business. 

However, over at the pottery centre, their guide allegedly worked with a "huge team", Eclair_travels said, adding that there were even fake tourists planted with the master craftsman to make it seem like visitors were getting the "best" deals. 

These travellers were then told told that the pottery pieces are usually priced in US dollars as their top-grade pottery is "different" due to factors like master craftsmen, heritage and unique pottery methods. 

Taken by their sales pitches, Eclair_travels said he and his travel companions forked out about US$3,000 in total for two decanters, a set of four cups and a plate. 

However, they realised much later that they had been scammed after leaving the country, that the items they paid US$3,000 for were actually supposed to cost $3,000 in Turkish lira, or just S$230 in total. 

In the comments section, one netizen asked why the group had even been willing to fork out so much money for "a pot". 

To that, Eclair_travels likened it to purchasing art and its NFT counterparts, saying there are "master craftsman pieces worth five to six digits". 

Lessons learned

While it was an expensive mistake, Eclair_travels shared in the TikTok video that he has learnt some valuable lessons from that incident, including to not always trust sob stories and to always research online about a destination or place first. 

After quickly scrolling through Tripadvisor reviews of Bezirhane Culture, Arts and Ceramics Centre, he said that he also found a slew of bad reviews about that place. 

He realised that many of these reviewers had similar bad encounters with that centre, with one saying that her guide even told her a vase was a "prestigious piece from an old craftsman who will retire soon".

Another posted that the centre was "run by crooks". 

In the TikTok comments section, Eclair_travels admitted that he did not post that video to gain sympathy but to "shed light on the unethical sales tactics" so others won't make the same mistake. 

"To those who think it's our naivety for being scammed, you're absolutely right and we have already recognised that fully in the video and caption," he wrote. 

AsiaOne has reached out to Eclair_travels for his comment. 

While travelling overseas after a long period of time can be exciting, it is prudent to stay vigilant to protect yourself from scams and pickpockets

Some tips to keep safe during your travels include using locks on luggages and bags, being aware of important belongings and avoid drawing attention to yourself. 

Unfortunately, Eclair_travels and his travel companions aren't the only ones who've encountered trouble overseas of late. 

Just a few days ago, a Singaporean shared that he had been a victim of aggression while travelling in Bangkok. 

The man had taken a tuk-tuk and despite agreeing on a price before his ride, the driver reneged on the deal and asked for more money

When the Singaporean refused, the driver got aggressive and started "yelling vulgarities". He also pushed the man and attempted to hit him. 

ALSO READ: 17 costly tourist scams you'll encounter in Asia


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