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Tourists warned to beware forced shopping stops

By Deng Jingyin (Global Times)

08:24, September 19, 2012

As the October 1 National Day holiday approaches, the Beijing Consumer Association (BCA) has issued a warning to tourists to be cautious about sharp practices in the tourism industry, including forced shopping stops, and has advised consumers to take photographic evidence of any such instances.

As complaints about the travel industry always rise after the week-long October holiday, BCA issues an advisory every year for travelers to Beijing to be on guard against shopping fraud, illegal travel agencies and tour guides, the association said Tuesday.

"More people come to Beijing during the holiday, especially this year when the Mid-Autumn Festival connects with the National Day holiday, so both Chinese and foreign tourists should choose legal travel agencies and be cautious about the shopping during the trip," a BCA media officer, surnamed Li, told the Global Times.

The most common complaints include too many shopping stops, promised services which are not provided, and illegal travel agencies and guides.

Li said tourists should pay particular attention to cheap tour packages. When paying for the trip, the agency must provide an invoice and tourists must check whether the agency has bought travel insurance.

"Due to the language barrier, some foreigners may find difficulties in communicating with the travel agency or the store, so we suggest they can call our hotline, 96315, to make a complaint and we will conduct mediation according to their requests," Li noted.

However, the Global Times found Tuesday that it could not get through to the hotline after several attempts, and there is no English service.

According to BCA, a Beijing resident surnamed Li claimed he bought fake jade on a tour, but when complained to the association, his only evidence was an invalid receipt without a stamp, so nothing could be done to help him.

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