Friday, March 28, 2008

Russian Ruse

Almost got duped this week. The water filter in our apartment needed to be changed and our landlord had said we'd need to get the guard downstairs to call a technician to come by. Our driver spoke to the guard, and an appointment was made.

Technician comes by, says we needed to change 4 of the filter tubes, not just 1. He'll buy the rest and come by the next day. I managed to have a look at the price tag before he took our filter tube to the shop, the tag said 150r (about S$10).

Next day he comes by, does his job, and said total cost 7000r (about S$400+). I said, What?? He said each tube was 1500r (S$100) and there was his service fees. But I knew the tubes weren't so expensive. I asked my housekeeper who speaks a bit of Russian to ask him for a receipt. He said he had none. I asked him to sign my receipt book to acknowledge the payment. He made some excuses.

Meanwhile, I called my landlord, who said No Way, at most any change in filter would cost a few hundred rubles, and his filters were self-cleaning ones, so the technician only needed to change it, no cleaning needed. Passed the phone to the technician, and I could hear my landlord and him talking very loudly.

After 5 minutes, technician passes the phone back to me, and while my landlord was telling me to pay him at most 1000r, the technician just opened the door and made an exit, without taking any money from me! He is therefore out of pocket by a few hundred rubles since he did buy a few filter tubes, I think.

Thank goodness I managed to get my landlord at the time. And that my landlord spoke good enough English to understand me. Most landlords here do not speak English.

The technician must have realised when the phone was passed back to me that he couldn't take this foreigner for a ride and that we were on to his ruse. He thus decided to scram before we called his company up. I guess some foreigners would have just forked up the cash without question, too bad he bumped into Madam Scrooge herself ;) Silly fella, I was gonna pay him 1000r.


Hsien Lei said...

Screw the 1000 rubles. He's conned enough people that he's still in the black. So glad you are good at checking those things. You know I would definitely have been ripped off.

Lilian said...

Hehe I know. I just hate being ripped off. In London, Sainsbury's overcharges me about once every 3 visits. They don't mean to, but their special offers change so much that their system can't cope maybe. I check my receipts there every single time before leaving the store.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Tzzk tzzk tzzk! Sly sly sly!

Proud of you, Lilian!

Lilian said...

;) PP. Thanks.