Drugstore charges tourist 100 times for HK$58 cod liver oil

July 23, 2015 12:49
A mainland tourist surnamed Qu (inset) is charged HK$5,800 for a bottle of cod liver oil priced at HK$58 at Prestige Pharmacy Ltd. in Causeway Bay. Photos: Google Map, Apple Daily

Five tourists paid over HK$30,000 for items they bought for a tiny fraction of that price from a drugstore in Causeway Bay, Apple Daily reported on Thursday.

The tourists filed complaints with the police, but the manager and staff of Prestige Pharmacy Ltd., located on Percival Street, insisted that all the transactions were above board.

The drugstore is registered with the Intellectual Property Department’s "No Fakes Pledge” scheme, which means that participating retailers only sell genuine products and observe honest and trustworthy trading practices.

A tourist from Hangzhou surnamed Qu went to the shop on July 7. He was told a bottle of cod liver oil would cost HK$58, and he paid with his credit card.

When he returned to his hotel room, he noticed from the receipt that he was charged HK$5,800.

Qu called the police and was advised to sort out the problem with the shop manager. But the shop refused to process a refund.

Qu filed a complaint with the Consumer Council.

“I never expected this would happen in a cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong,” Qu said. “I got punished for my carelessness.”

The same cod liver oil product is sold for HK$178 in other pharmacies in the area, which means Qu had bought one 30 times the market price.

Another tourist from Shenzhen surnamed Dong also complained to the police about Prestige's "price scam".

She wanted to pay in cash for a number of products, including cough syrup and ointments, but the clerk persuaded her to pay by credit card.

In the process, shop staff diverted her attention by taking her pulse and talking to her about her pimple problem.

She was handed a payment slip to sign and she left the shop shortly afterwards.

Back in Shenzhen, Dong found out from an SMS alert from her credit card issuing bank that the HK$400 bill from Prestige had soared to HK$8,888.

Dong returned to Hong Kong the next day and asked for a refund from the drugstore. Prestige did not comply with the request.

She called the police, who classified the case as a dispute.

Legislative Councilor Gary Fan Kwok-wai said the “No Fakes Pledge” sign displayed by the shop was meant to assure customers that it was a trustworthy retailer.

It's a shame that customers are being ripped off by the shop, he said.

Fan called on relevant government agencies to look into the matter.

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