Turkish Salesmen

How the scam works:

Turkey is an amazing country to visit, but it has the most aggressive street vendors in the world. Walking through the streets of Istanbul or Urgup (Cappadocia), victims are approached by extremely pushy men urging them to come into their shops and buy.

Some victims might not see a problem with this, since they are on vacation. However, once inside the shop, merchants won't let you go until you buy something. They are not shy of standing in front of the door – especially if you are a woman – and pushing you back to purchase an item. “Please, please, buy, buy – discount, discount!”.


Oftentimes they even become physical. You are not in North America, so don't think you can sue for harassment – for any touch you get. We are not kidding; the Internet forums are jam-packed with traveler complaints on this topic.

As well, if you actually consider purchasing some memorabilia anyways, the Turkish merchants will have two prices: one for locals, one for foreigners. However, Turkey is not the only country where you might experience this. The same thing happens in other countries, such as Morocco or Egypt.

Watch the video below to see in action the carpet salesmen scam exposed on Travel and Escape.

Turkish Salesmen Scam Video

How to avoid:

If you decide to go inside the shop, just be ready for a serious one-on-one bargaining. Never pay the asking price. If they are aggressive salesmen like they prove to be, they should be able to handle a little bit of negotiation. If you want to buy something, try to negotiate in Turkish Lira, otherwise they will convert it at a rate 20% higher than the current. As a rule of thumb, in any country you visit you should ALWAYS have local petty cash when deciding to visit the street markets.

Also be aware of the Turkish Carpet Salesmen Scam. There are hundreds of them around Istanbul, inviting you in to show you a “125-year old rug”, which is actually much newer. Indeed, there are legitimate carpet dealers, since Turkey is well known for their beautiful rugs, but without proper word-of-mouth and a real certificate it is almost impossible to detect which one is which. The best thing to do extensive research before arriving so you would know how to recognize a fake.


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11 thoughts on “Turkish Salesmen”

  1. Turkey is full of scammers..hands in hands with Alibaba …online …they have fake names , fake shipping companies …they should be investigated by Interpol .thieves..that’s what they are

  2. You can be scammed in US aiso. In US or in Turkey it can be hard to trust people for carpets. I did find someone in Istanbul I trust but I only trust them because at the end of the day I still do not know carpets.

  3. i was so stupid

    Hi Renato. Thanks for answering. Thats very kind of you. But I won’t have any problems in Istanbul. I ll never go there again to this capital of scamm. And i ll give my family and friends the same advice. It s really incredible that police and government do nothing to stop this … internet is full with similar stories.

  4. Hello! I saw your comment and searched about this shop. Isn’t the same shop that they tried to scam me, but i read a lot of comments about this SADIR ART GALLERY. The scams follow the same script!
    The shop that they tried to scam me is in front of the Sultanahmet Parki, there’s a fontain and marble square and the shop is located in a very tight street on the left of this marble square.

  5. I was walking in Sultanahmed. A friendly man talked to me about my country and how welcome i was in Turkey ( and other bullshit talk!!!)and … invited me to the shop op his brother SEDIR ART GALLERY. There they scammed me. They let me pay to much for a shit carpet … I suppose this is the same shop in the Renato comment of March 28. STAY AWAY! And warn everyone you knows who goes to Istanbul!! These people ruin the imago of the beautiful city of Istanbul. Police should close their shop !!

  6. They tried to scam me today. I was walking near to the Sultan Ahmet Parki and a guy approached me and asked where am i from. When i said: "Brazil", he made a lot of compliments about my country and said his brother works in Brazil (bullshit). He conviced me to visit his store and since i entered there his "brother" gave me a cup of tea even though i didnt ask for it. He showed a lot of carpets and wrote down the price: € 1200.
    I said that i couldnt afford that but he insisted: "Tell me how much you can pay!". I declined. He tried to show me a little pray carpet for € 70. When i declined again he got angry, threw the carpet away and made a gesture for me to get out of the store.
    I’m going now to record a video i try to get him, i ll post here.

  7. We have just got back from Turkey having purchased 2 carpets for £5600.00 that we do not want. The whole deal including the the struggle we put up to not buy the carpets took about 30 minutes.. We had a limited time in the factory (1hour), where we were taken by our guide for a demonstaration!!! After the demonstration the salesmen were on us like a rash and did not ease up on the preasere until we signed a contract (which we did not have time to read and nor do we have a copy) and paid a 50% deposit. We were then guided out the factory through a labyrinth of rooms and corridors that if we had tried to escape ww would have found it very difficult. We are hoping there is a cooling off period and that we can cancel the contract. We are checking on the Internet hoping to find any information or legal loopholes so that we can get our deposit back and put this dreadful experience behind us. If anyone has got any info that will help us I would be very grateful. We are pensioners and we need this money back, we are very worried and feel so stupid at having been so week.

  8. My GF and I were recently scammed in Turkey and ripped off close to $1000 USD, which was as you can imagine not call at all. I love Turkey but these sorts of things really can out people off visiting the country. Anyway long story short we managed to get our money back after going through a government department, I write a travel blog and wrote 2 posts about the subject of scams in Turkey including how we managed to get our money back in all the detail. Anyway hopefully somebody else can get some benefit from our experiences. Here are the posts.
    Post 1: http://nomadicalsabbatical.com/scams-in-turkey-popular-turkish-scams/
    Post 2: http://nomadicalsabbatical.com/scams-in-turkey-how-to-get-your-money-back/

  9. I’ve just been scammed by a carpet shop and I am trying to distribute the information about the scam as widely as possible, in case other people are looking for information about it. Anyway, here goes: We went to Turkey over December for our honeymoon, and bought a lovely carpet from a shop (Bosphorus Handicrafts) in Istanbul. They delivered the first carpet no problem. Then a week ago, Mustafa phones me with loads of details from the first transaction, and tells me I have won another carpet, a very large and beautiful one, via a competition I entered at the shop. He emails me a pro forma invoice and everything, using the same email address that I corresponded with the shop with previously. There’s just a small problem – legally, I have to pay Turkish VAT before he can ship the carpet, and that comes alone comes to USD1900, because its such a big valuable carpet – but not to worry, it will be refunded after a year. Like a complete twit, I agree to this, and give him my credit card details. Anyway, the carpet just arrived today, and its completely not the carpet in the photo they sent, and the invoice attached says its only worth USD210. Bastards.

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