Fixed prices are the norm in department stores and a number of shops in Bangkok, but at most other places bargaining is acceptable and expected. Generally, shopping in Thailand is easy, fun and very rewarding, but the following advice is useful especially when making gem and jewellery purchases :
- Shop around to compare prices - this is especially important with gems and jewellery.
- Obtain a receipt for goods bought and check if is correct before leaving the shop
- Never let a tout or new found friend take you shopping. Stores give commission to these people, and the cost is reflected in the price you pay.
- In general, jewellery items cannot be returned. If refunds are allowed, then often 25-30% of the selling price will be deducted as costs of damages. More reputable companies may offer a full refund although usually only within a certain time limit, such as 30 days. Do not believe any claims by shop owners that purchases can be refunded at Thai embassies, consulates or other government offices overseas.
- Reputable shops will give a written agreement to a full refund on any goods returned within 90 days. If a shop refuses to do this, go eslewhere.
- Shops in hotel arcades pay high rents and accordingly prices tend to be higher than at street shops. On the other hand, hotel arcades are very convenient if you have little time for shopping.
Packing and Shipping Services Thanks to the ever-increasing number of tourists coming to Thailand, most shops are experienced at shipping abroad and will attend to all the documents such as insurance, customs and necessary permits. The Central Post Office also offers a parcel-wrapping service for those who want to make small shipments themselves. For larger items or bulk shipments, there are several Bangkok companies who specialise in such matters.
VAT Refund Visitors entering the Kingdom on tourist visas are entitled to refunds of the 7% value added tax (VAT) paid on goods purchased at shops, department stores and other retail outlets displaying " VAT Refund for Tourists " signs, where tax refund application forms are available. Prior to airport departure, visitors must present a completed VAT refund form, plus passport information and purchase receipts, to a customs officer.
- Certain luxury goods must be shown to an excise official.
- Refunds may be in bank draft form or credited to a credit card.
- For more information, please contact the VAT Refunds for Tourists Office
Tel: 0 2272 9388 or VAT Refund Office at Bangkok International Airport Tel : 02535 6577-8