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Yavianice

Weird Yodobashi Akihabara experience, always check your receipts

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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

Hey all,

 

Just wanted to share this strange Yodobashi Camera experience I had 2 days ago at Yodobashi Akihabara.

 

Usually, I purchase all my train items from stores other than Yodobashi, such as TamTam, Joshin, MTP or RailGallery Rokko (who are awesome), but because it was my penultimate day in Japan, and all the other Hobbyshops were closed on January 1st, so I went to Yodobashi Camera instead to do some last minute shopping.

 

I saw a set that I wanted to purchase and some interior lighting. Behind the glass there is usually only 1 item with a price sticker on it, and the other items do not have a price sticker. Went to the counter, said I wanted to purchase something, guy goes to open the shelf, waits a bit, and then proceeds to get the item that is behind the stickered item. Whatever, I thought. I did some quick mental math what it would cost in total. The cash register employee told me what the total was which was approximately what I calculated so I went ahead and paid. But when I checked the receipt as I walked out (it was super busy), all items were a different price than was on the sticker, and I was off by about 180 or so yen of what I calculated the total should be. So I went to the information desk and they informed reminded me of the fact that Yodobashi has taxes included on the price sticker. But then, I calculated that I paid 3700 yen too much for one item! I made sure that I didn't hallucinate and confirmed that the sticker on the item in the display was still what I thought it was and made a picture.

 

I went back to the cash employee and when I showed him the price of the sticker on the item that was still on display and then the price I actually paid (3700 yen too much), he shrugged, and simply said "old price, old price" after which he quickly shoo-ed me away to let all the other people pay their items as it was nearing closing time.

 

Was very disappointed by the way I was treated by Yodobashi Akihabara employees. So I went back to the hotel I stayed at, explained my problem at the front desk employee (who speaks perfect English and Japanese), who contacted Yodobashi Akihabara on my behalf to clear it up. Not sure exactly what was said, but Yodobashi then asked me to go back to Yodobashi for a refund.

 

But when I went back to Yodobashi, the sticker of the "old price" was replaced by the "new price" which was 3700 or so yen higher. So when I went to the cash register person, I got the same "old price" excuse. But then I showed them the picture with a timestamp of the day before with the "old price" and told them someone (the hotel employee) called on my behalf to clear it. The department manager then showed up and cleared it for me and refunded me the excess money.

 

Moral of the story, always double check what the people at Yodobashi enter at the cash register, even though the price on the sticker was clearly visible to them and they knowingly enter a different price, and don't let Yodobashi people shoo you away with nonsense reasons such as "old price old price, now different price" (even though the price sticker is very clear and unchanged even after you purchase it), just because you are a foreigner and don't speak fluent Japanese.

 

I'll stick to my usual suppliers from now on, unless I'm desperate.

Edited by Yavianice
Fixed some grammar, corrected RG name
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paolo

Wow, that's something I would never expected to happen in a place like Yodobashi! I like the shop, but the paying experience is always chaotic, due to the amount of people usually in the shop, the fact that the trains are in the glass cabinets and you need to ask the staff to get them, and that many employees speak very very little English.

I'll be there next week, if I buy something there I'll make sure to check the receipt.

Thanks for sharing the experience!

 

Paolo

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chadbag

It is strange.  I expect it really was a new price with old sticker, but they should have honored it and then fixed the sticker.  (Since they scan the items and don't normally type in the prices on most things, the correct (new) price would have come up on the register.  Definitely a Yodobashi screw-up.

 

I've not bought much at Yodobashi Aki but have bought a lot at Yodobashi Umeda in Osaka.  At Umeda in the past a lot of the train stuff was not in glass cases except some small stuff like containers and some of the more expensive small items etc. IIRC.   Don't know how it is now and last August when we were there I was not buying a lot of train stuff.

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Das Steinkopf

Not good, I have shopped there and never had an issue, I will note that they did have a number of items such as Tomytec Railway Collection models still in stock that had sold out elsewhere 6 to 9 months earlier and possibly older which may cause some issues.

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Yavianice

Small update:

 

When I went back for the correction, instead of giving me 3700 yen they canceled the transaction and then made me pay it again for the correct price. Apparently my creditcard company didn’t get the memo and now I paid double (payment reservations are now turned into transactions and are now billed).

 

Fortunately I still have all receipts including the cancellation one.

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chadbag
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Yavianice said:

Small update:

 

When I went back for the correction, instead of giving me 3700 yen they canceled the transaction and then made me pay it again for the correct price. Apparently my creditcard company didn’t get the memo and now I paid double (payment reservations are now turned into transactions and are now billed).

 

Fortunately I still have all receipts including the cancellation one.

 

Wait a few days to see if the cancellation/refund hits.  I've had major delays sometimes from CC transactions in Japan.  Your CC company should clear it up if it does not self-clear eventually.  Credit card transactions are usually settled each day, so a cancellation a few days later will result in another transaction of a refund but won't actually cancel the original.

 

When you say "pay it again for the correct price", do you mean the lower stickered price?  (As the "correct" price in their system was the higher one you were billed originally if I am reading the situation correctly).

 

-----

 

On an unrelated note:

 

When talking about CC in Japan -- never select YES and never let the store select YES for you on charging your card in your native currency.  Always charge it in Yen.  You will get a much better rate in most cases.  My wife has had situations where the store people just told her to select YES (or they did it for her as I as not there) and she did not know what she was selecting YES for and they charged us in USD and at a much worse exchange.  I complained to the store but never heard anything back.  I complained to the CC company and they refunded me the difference between what it would have been and what we were charged,.

 

Edited by chadbag
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cteno4

Yes do let it sit a few week before taking any action on it as refunds go much slower with cc than purchases do. Here in the states it can be like 5 days after a retailer runs the cc for refund until it shows up online in my account, international and I would expect longer. Good thing is cc companies are on your side if you do have to contest a charge, but give it plenty of time as once you contest with your cc it usually comes down hard on the retailer so you want to make sure it’s just not in “processing”.

 

of course it’s stupid it should take days for these things to post on this modern microsecond trading world, but banks and credit companies are still getting away with kiting money this way ans picking up a few days interest. It’s like taking the rounding pennies on millions of accounts, it adds up.

 

before you charge in foreign currency make sure the card you are using does not have an international exchange fee that can 2-4%. Many do these days as they pass the “fee” onto you. Others will eat the fee (I’m sure it’s not really that much) to keep your business with them. A couple of my cards have quietly dropped exempting the foreign exchange fee without letting folks know other than reading really fine print or noticing your exchanges went up in price.

 

jeff

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Yavianice

Ok, so, final update, more updates:

 

I did get the money back now in a separate transaction from Yodobashi. Unfortunately that means that my bank skims a few % off the top. In the end it cost me about 10 euro to get 30 euro back....

 

For this purchase I used my normal creditcard in a pinch. But usually I use my transferwise debit card, which has the lowest amount of transaction fees, no yearly subscription fees (or any other kind of fees), and uses the current exchange rate. I use it for pretty much everything including paypal (which has a terribly poor exchange rate).

 

Regarding what @chadbag said about "convenience exchange rates", I don't fall for that trick anymore after learning about it on my trip to eastern Europe. But so far I have not encountered any japanese vendor or ATM that offered this "option".

 

Those scams are a scourge now in Europe, by the way. Euronet ATM's especially, and they are now everywhere (even in Germany), slowly taking over.

 

 

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chadbag
4 hours ago, Yavianice said:

 

Regarding what @chadbag said about "convenience exchange rates", I don't fall for that trick anymore after learning about it on my trip to eastern Europe. But so far I have not encountered any japanese vendor or ATM that offered this "option".

 

 

Glad you got the money back.  Sorry to hear the problems.

 

I use a couple US credit cards in Japan that have no foreign transaction fees.  Once I used the wrong card and got hit with a few percentage points in fees that really sucked.  You need to really watch that you use a "good" card for foreign travel.  At least for US processors, they tend to use a rate right off the current market rate, which is a good deal.  Other processors elsewhere might not be so advantageous.  And with PayPal, I ALWAYS have them process in the original currency (Yen, Euro, etc) and let my CC do the rate conversion, which always saves me a significant amount.  (And I have tended to use PP for places like Lippe as they usually fail my CC fraud system for some reason when I try and pay them directly but PP is no problem).

 

With the "convenience exchange rate" thing, some small shops in Japan we've run into have had it.  One in particular in Kobe really pissed me off, and they were full of Sumikko Gurashi stuff so my wife and daughter kept going there.  I've not seen in on ATMs in Japan (I always use 7-11 or the post office ATMs,  or Lawson if need be and they always have a very small flat fee).

 

I'll ask the question later, but I have been wondering how best to get Euros / Crowns when I go to France/Germany/Czech Republic later this year.  Last time I was in Germany 20 years ago I used the Citi ATMs at the Citi branches as they were tied into the US payment networks and had no extra fees.  Citi no longer has their consumer banks.

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cteno4

might contact your bank and complain that a voided/refunded transaction should give you charges. I’m sure there reflex “rule” is to skim you but sometimes if you ask nicely but infer you want to keep doing business with them they will remove the charges. I’ve found they usually want to keep your business and wil do something for you.
 

Yes need to keep checking on the cards as they change!

 

some of the Internet only banks now are trying to offer extras like no fee atm with no international fee charges or conversion charges. But again these can change and may have zero interest or require direct deposit. In the past it’s required making sure you were just using atms that were on the proper network while abroad. This was handy to avoid the cash advance fee most credit cards hit you with at atms and elsewhere for cash. Many countries we’ve traveled to the cash advance fee was at what the bank or hotel exchange rates were prior to atms everywhere so we would just do the cc for cash. Later some of the debit card deals came in, but not tracked them much the last few years.

 

cc does give you a little but more protection than the debit card as the money can be out of your account with a debit card until some investigation is done, where as they cc just puts a hold on the disputed stuff and you’re not responsible for paying until they have finished the investigation and ruled.

 

jeff

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Grant_T
On 1/4/2020 at 5:17 AM, Yavianice said:

I went back to the cash employee and when I showed him the price of the sticker on the item that was still on display and then the price I actually paid (3700 yen too much), he shrugged, and simply said "old price, old price" after which he quickly shoo-ed me away to let all the other people pay their items as it was nearing closing time.

 

A couple of years ago I had more or less the same experience Yodobashi Kyoto by the station, and about the same difference in price, but I caught it at the check out. I queried the difference in price and he said something inscrutable in Japanese, and I felt sort of embarrassed as though it was implied that I had tried to change the sticker. 😐

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Grant_T

Sort of ruined my night. 😆

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paolo

So a couple of days ago I went to Yodobashi, and had another weird experience, but not money related.

 

I went to the tax free counter to pay. The cashier took out all my stuff, and focused on a couple of items: a Mr Hobby Acrysion Tool Cleaner bottle and a few paint jar of the same line. He read the labels and before he said something I go, yes I know, they're not tax free. At that point, the madness started. He thought I was asking him that I wanted to pay taxes on all the items. After two minutes of trying to explain myself, he understood I wanted the tax free option.

But he insisted with those Acrysion items. He read all the labels, and then said that they were not allowed on the plane, so asked me if I wanted to buy them.

I said yes, don't worry, I'll buy them.

But he kept asking me the same thing over and over, not accepting my reply. After the fifth time, I yielded. Ok, I won't buy them.


I can understand the tool cleaner, which has the warning labels on it; but the paint jars don't. And also, it's my problem, not yours, so I accept the warning, but let me decide. Since when are they doing the airport security duties?

 

So I went to Volks and bought the paint there, with no questions asked.

 

Weird.

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railsquid
On 1/8/2020 at 5:00 PM, Grant_T said:

 

A couple of years ago I had more or less the same experience Yodobashi Kyoto by the station, and about the same difference in price, but I caught it at the check out. I queried the difference in price and he said something inscrutable in Japanese, and I felt sort of embarrassed as though it was implied that I had tried to change the sticker. 😐

 

Come to think of it, I'm sure I've noticed on a couple of occasions that the sticker price was different to the price listed on the website.

 

Had a slight annoyance a while back as they started refusing my credit card for online orders because the credit card name (first name/last name) didn't match the name I'd registered the account under (informal first name, last name); went along to sort it out and they insisted they add my middle name to the account as well, which would of course put me in the same situation as before, so I politely suggested I'd take my business elsewhere (I must have spent a couple of million yen there over the years), so after some back-and-forth telephone calls it got sorted out.

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Grant_T
1 hour ago, paolo said:

And also, it's my problem, not yours, so I accept the warning, but let me decide. Since when are they doing the airport security duties?

 

So I went to Volks and bought the paint there, with no questions asked.

 

As much as I love the country (and I don't mean to be politically contentious so please don't take it that way) there is a barely concealed authoritarianism under the surface. My first notable experience there after getting off the plane was being told to stand within the yellow lines before getting on the airport shuttle at Heneda.

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paolo
1 hour ago, Grant_T said:

 

As much as I love the country (and I don't mean to be politically contentious so please don't take it that way) there is a barely concealed authoritarianism under the surface. My first notable experience there after getting off the plane was being told to stand within the yellow lines before getting on the airport shuttle at Heneda.

 

Yes, they really love their rules. I was taking pictures and videos at Tokyo station, and as soon as I stepped on the yellow line, someone shouted at me to stay back.

I was standing ON the yellow line (which is like half a meter thick), but obviously that was not good enough.

But hey, at least they're consistent, you know exactly what the rules are and you adapt.

I find it much harder to be in places with no rules or random ones.

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railsquid

I was in a line proceeding towards immigration once and the officious lady in charge of organising the lanes was fiddling around with the ropes and it was not clear to me which way I should go so I stopped momentarily to get my bearings, and she shouted at me to keep going and physically pushed me.

 

Oh yes, this outbreak of barely concealed authoritarianism was in Canada.

 

A couple of years back I took the Squidlet, then around 2, on a spontaneous visit to the Shinkansen platforms at Tokyo Station, and the platform staff were going beserk about keeping people behind the yellow lines. It turned out someone had fallen off the platform (evidently without serious harm) earlier in the day.

 

I do find it amusing how people praise the general efficiency of things in Japan yet don't seem to realise it's because people (for the most part,  there are idiots and people who think they're exceptional) take notice of the lines on the floor.

 

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Tony Galiani

I understand the rules can be frustrating and it took me a little while to get used to things on my trip to Japan but I tend to like them.  Having worked in the USA and in South America and having traveled to various countries, I like to have some sort of guide to know how things work.

 

Knowing the rules surely can help in some situations.  We travel to Germany frequently.  With my advancing age I tend to dry less aggressively (not as fast) as in the past, but "ordnung" (order) certainly makes the Autobahn work.  I can recall driving at 125 mph (around 200 kph) without much stress.  That only could happen because I knew that people would be following the rules of the road.  On the other hand, trying to get a project done in South America where the rules were highly variable drove me crazy.  But I guess there wouldn't be much point in traveling if everything were the same ....

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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cteno4

I don’t find japan authoritarian. It’s a much more uniform culture and has its rules and the culture makes it so that folks are into follow the rules. The couple of times I did something wrong not knowing in japan where someone did something about it, it was always in a very courteous way and with information other than just do what I say. Other places in the world that is rare when I’ve run across it. ive had much more “authoritarian” incidents in many places around the world and here in the us, many pretty rude and more on a little bit of power than about specific rules. Similar things like squid around the world. 

 

yellow line is there for a good reason and like using a power saw safety only works if you follow it habitually as one screw up and no going back. Platforms can get very crowded and train crews want a good line of site. You have to draw the line somewhere and they do and everyone just follows it and thus it works so if you want to travel there just follow the rules. 

the solvent was not allowed on planes and as a tourist it’s obvious you would take it home on the plane thus it should be on the not for tax refund list along with paints and it was. Love how folks get mad when they get busted when they were planning on breaking the rules. Rules are just built into their culture more like this. It’s when in Rome, you are a guest so play by their rules, can’t expect to bring your cultures rules to other places and have them apply.

 

Electronic discount stores are also not the best place to shop if you want to get pleasant customer service. They are set up on high volume, lower margin and just have a system to push as may thru as easily and as quickly as possible. Staff many places get part of compensation on commissions so it’s get more thru fast, sales that take time cost them money. I’ve visited stores like this around the world and they are all pretty much the same, little help, gruff fast if you take much of their time or jam the system. In japan that would mean more rules and processes that other places so they have quick things to determine what to do with that take it or leave it attitude and you have to fight hard against the system if you want to get around some of these. There is no free lunch, if you want it cheap you probably wont get gobs of great customer service and will have a harder time if something goes amiss.

 

jeff

 

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Martijn Meerts

I very much prefer rules being enforced, as it makes sure (most) people actually follow them.

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Grant_T

Jeepers, maybe authoritarian was the wrong word. 🙄

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cteno4

Orderly would probably be a better word. It is a more orderly culture with more conformity than other cultures. I traveled in authoritarian countries with tons of chaos and where rules were there they were either absurd or unfair for the most part. All the rules and orderlyness I’ve run into in japan always made sense and was easy to conform to without it offending my feeling of personal freedom, they helped in a crowed bustling places things be safe and efficient. I’m use to a more loose culture here in the us, but I could see how that orderlyness in japan allowed things to function fairly and efficiently where our looseness here makes these things be less efficient or fair here are times... it’s hard to have one without the others when variable human beings are in the mix.

 

jeff

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chadbag

Let's just say I knew we were back in the USA after our last trip to Japan when we were standing in a long, disorderly line to go through the final customs checkpoint when there was a very large, burly, bouncer-type dude very directly and using very non-official language was keeping the foreigners, largely non-English speakers it seems, in-line and in line.

 

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railsquid

I know when I'm back in Japan when there's a sprightly guy of a certain age trying to direct me to the humungous tourist queue at passport control and I smile sweetly and stride up to the usually very short re-entry queue.

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chadbag

I know when our kids were small and in strollers, we often got pulled from the very long tourist line and put into the re-entry line once they were done with the  normal customers.  The privilege of kids-in-strollers I guess.

 

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