If you are visiting abroad and are an obvious tourist, you will invariably become the target of a scammer. Foreign tourists tend to let their guard down thus, are ripe for the picking.
But street hustlers aren’t the only ones scamming tourists, as Allen B. learned after purchasing a moderately expensive painting from a reputable dealer in Myanmar.
Eric Jordan wrote the following article for Conde Nast Traveler recounting Allen’s expensive art lesson and provides some tips on how not to get scammed while shopping abroad.
Looking to buy something on your next trip out of the country? Make sure you love it for its own sake, and carry or ship it yourself.
Q: I visited Mr. Kyi & K Antique & Decorative Art, a shop in Yangon, Myanmar, and bought a painting for $2,600. The shop has been written up with good reviews. The large painting was described to me by Mr. Kyi himself as “from a monastery in the Shan state of Myanmar, at least 200 years old.” His written quote states this as well. Because Mr. Kyi was very clear in pointing out pieces in his shop that were and were not old/antique, I believed his description of the piece, which is why I decided to purchase it when I returned home.
When the painting arrived after shipment (approximately $500 after customs and import fees), I was troubled when I examined it more closely, as it appeared to have a dark substance applied to it. I emailed Mr. Kyi, but his answer did not satisfy me, so I took it to a painting authority, a gentleman who used to be a restoration expert at a museum. He was able to say, “with 100 percent certainty,”… continue reading
As the proverb says, a word to the wise should be sufficient. If you are not sure of an item’s value, pass on it. Better yet, limiting your purchases to souvenirs will serve to remind you of all the fun you had on your trip and won’t lighten your wallet.