While Hong Kong's reputation as being a haven for conmen and swindlers is regularly overstated, the city does have a few unscrupulous retailers who will cheat tourists, if given the chance. There are a couple of scams that are particularly popular and over there next few days we'll be revealing what they are and how to avoid them
Largely in decline since the dramatic fall in electronic prices over the last decade, the bait and switch involved selling the customer a certain product, taking payment and then switching the product for an inferior model or brand before handing it over.
Probably Hong Kong's most famous scam, salesmen would sell you, for example, a Sony Focus 500 camera. After examining and trying out the product on display you would agree to buy the camera and the salesmen would go into the stockroom to bring you your purchase. However, instead of giving you the Sony Focus 500, he would give you the Sony Focus 400 or, even worse, the Soony Focus 500, usually in the Sony Focus 500 box. This trick relied on the customer leaving the store without checking inside the box. When the customer returned to complain and obtain the camera they paid for the store would simply refer to their no returns policy. Some stores were even so bold to accuse the customer of attempting to cheat them, claiming they had switched the product at home.
This scam is still in use and you should be sure to check the actual product and any accessories before leaving the store and always keep your receipt. If you fall victim to the switch and are near the store contact a police officer, who will often accompany you to try and obtain a refund or exchange. Alternatively, many people, particularly locals, advocate 'causing a scene'. Having a customer shouting loudly in their shop is bad business and shopkeepers will usually relent, if only to shut you up.