Expensive Karaoke Scam

(The following is a brief Thai>English translation from various local news sources)

Customers at Melody Karaoke, in the close vicinity of Prachacheurn Police Station, were originally charged an astonishing 30,000 Baht for 3 hours of karaoke. Charges included 100 Baht for a piece of candy.

It all started with a former policeman from Phayao province, Mr Atthaphan, who attended Melody Karaoke along Ngam Wong Wan Road in Bangkok with his girlfriend. After just 3 hours or so of having a fruit snack, a bottle of whiskey and enjoying a bout of karaoke, Mr Atthaphan was astounded to get a bill for approximately 30,000 Baht. After complaining of course, he was given a reduced bill with all the prices on, but it still run at an extortionate 16,350 Baht.

“This is not unique for Melody Karaoke; this thieving establishment has a well-known history for scamming patrons” says the Thai language Manager newspaper

At 12:30, last Tuesday, Pol Lt Col Suraphon from Prachacheurn Police Station received a report from a former Pol Lt cop, Mr Atthaphan, 42, that not only was he physically threatened to pay an extortionate bill, but Melody Karaoke also seized his and her mobile phones. Mr Atthaphan went on to say “We entered the karaoke at about 8:30, asked for a private karaoke room and ordered a bottle of whiskey with water and soda. Since we fancied a bit of company to help sing a few songs we also asked that a couple of hostesses come and join us”.

(After bargaining down the original bill of 30,000 Baht, Mr Atthaphon received a reduced one at just more than 16,000 Baht)

Yet, when Mr Atthaphon finally got the actual ‘correct’ bill he found that the karaoke had charged for the company of 7 hostesses, at an incredible 1-1,200 Baht per girl. With fast mouths, the girls supoosedly drank orange juice worth 3,900 Baht, sucked a few candy at 100 Baht a pop and munched on 3 plates of rose apples at 600 Baht

Even at the reduced charge of 16,350 Baht, Mr Atthaphon just did not have enough money to foot the bill – he only had 7,000 on him. He was then threatened by a bunch of bouncers to go immediately to the ATM machine next to the karaoke and withdraw the remainder. To make sure he wouldn’t do a runner, they seized the mobiles.

According to reporters, Melody Karaoke have been running a scam for a long time – just a few days previous another few gullible teenage customers got a bill for virtually 50,000 Baht – unable to pay the bill, they seized a motorbike.

Prachacheurn police claimed that they could nothing to help get any of the money back, as the couple had already willingly paid the bill. This, however, is in stark contrast to the law which specifically states that any establishment selling beverage or food must have a menu with prices on it. Melody Karaoake did not have one, and so the couple did in fact, not have to pay a single baht – Prachacheurn police looked over the matter though, and told the couple to just go home and forget about it. “16,000 Baht isn’t the end of the world” one police guy was reported to have said.

People living in the local vicinity claim that some Prachacheurn police are actually taking kickbacks from scamming karaoke bars like Melody. Prachacheurn police, however, deny this claim.

11 responses to “Expensive Karaoke Scam

  1. What a shocker – should have just called the police in before paying a single Baht!

  2. It goes to show it is not just farangs getting ripped off. and the police are on the make, even against another cop!! even though former.

  3. You can bet the police are involved since they would have acted before now to ensure a legal menu was displayed. If you called the police in this situation they would support the owner because they would get a kickback on the bill, normally 30-40%.

    This is the same sense of responsibility and legal enforcement that led to the Santika fire and the deaths of dozens of innocent people: police circumventing regulations in order to make money.

  4. Why would anyone bring his girlfriend to this type of “karaoke” with hostresses?

  5. According to news reports, the owner of Melody has already closed shop and done a runner. And according to Thai language forums, this certain owner has been constantly changing locations of his karaokes, ie… when trouble arises he closes shop and moves to a new location in the vicinity – always under a different name.

    Many Thai forum posters claim that this kind of scam happens all over Bangkok and especially in Chiang Mai. So, you have been warned!

  6. Always annoys me whenever a foreigner complains it would never have happened to a Thai.

    Actually Thais get ripped off for more money, more frequently and with greater complexity than any tourists can imagine. Unlike tourists Thais find it embarrassing, compliently hand over the cash then keep quiet about it.

    I once knew of a Thai company that didn’t pay any of its staff, ever, they took on recent graduates, it would get two of three months out of them before they cottoned on and left. When I asked a former employee why he didn’t go to the police, he just said too embarrassed.

  7. I had the same problem in a bar in bkk I REFUSED POINT BLANK TO PAY THE BILL. eventually we agreed on the right price. I mean the bill was out landish. I am a regular visitor to bkk soI just kept my cool and refused to pay the first bill

  8. I think the best place to go for karaoke session avoiding being scammed is to go to those karaoke jukebox found in most of the shopping complexes where you won’t be tempted to have any sweet talking hostesses to con you.

  9. 16,000 isn’t the end of the world? I guess he (policeman) even bargain just to buy a piece of 100 Baht shirt.

  10. Let’s not rush to judgment. It’s possible that this guy was a John Denver fan and this bill was wholly justified.

  11. John Denver would turn in his grave if he found out that 8 folk were murdered for singing his classic ‘country roads’ just one too many times.

    I’ve read many a times during my years in Thailand of shootings occurring in karaokes, often arguments about who is gonna sing next