Two Taiwanese tourists were charged HK$11,100 for a catty of American ginseng, 15 times more than the price they were told by the staff of a drugstore in Mong Kok, Apple Daily reported Monday.
A tourist surnamed Chung and his girlfriend, surnamed Chen, were shopping Saturday afternoon on Sai Yeung Choi Street.
They wanted to buy some American ginseng and entered a drugstore.
The pair recalled that the drugstore staff told them the American ginseng was HK$700 per catty.
Chung and Chen decided to buy one catty and asked to pay in cash.
However, the staff said they would give them some ginseng tea for free if they used a credit card.
Chen said the staff urged her boyfriend to enter his passcode on the credit card terminal, but they covered up part of the screen as he did so.
Before making payment, he didn’t see the transaction amount, which came to HK$11,100.
The price was calculated based on about HK$700 per tael instead of per catty (a catty is 16 taels).
Chen was furious that she had been cheated.
She insisted on calling the police, but she said the drugstore staff kicked her handbag and quickly drove the pair out of the store.
“This is the first time in my life I have been cheated,” Chung said.
“I will never shop in Hong Kong again.”
When the police arrived, they ignored the victims and merely wrote down the phone number of the Consumer Council and asked the couple to file a complaint themselves.
The incident will certainly affect Hong Kong’s image, Chung said.
The Consumer Council received 531 complaints about transactions in drugstores and shops selling Chinese medicine and dried seafood in the first seven months of this year, 13 percent more than in the same period last year.
Legislator Yiu Si-wing, who represents the tourism sector, said police should enforce the law rather than pass the buck to the Consumer Council, as such actions by drugstores violate the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.
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