Macau
Las Vegas of the Orient
Macau Shopping Guide, buyer’s tips

Important tips for the savvy buyer

Macau's tradesmen and shop owners are smart and experienced and there is nothing wrong with it, except that a few of them (not too many though) seem to have forgotten the difference between decent trade and swindle...

 

When shopping, it is advisable to pay attention to a few simple tips that will help you get a better value for your money:

 

  1. Do you know what exactly are you looking for? Especially when it comes to electronics and computer ware, it is advisable to decide what is the exact product you want to buy, including model number, and think on an alternative or two in case you don't find it.  You'll better also check the price of that product in your home country (including online shops) and see that the price you managed to get in Macau is, truly, a bargain.
  2. Don't fall for the "parallel product trick"... one of Macau's traders most favorite tactics is to give you an excellent price for the product you want and then to pretend it is "coincidently" out of stock... The vendor will then tell you that he has another product that is almost identical to the one you wanted... Obviously, the "identical product" is inferior, compare to the one you wanted, and the price you'll pay for it will not be such a bargain...  As mentioned already, know what you are looking for and think about an alternative or two. If none of these can be found at a certain shop, just move on and keep looking for it somewhere else...
  3. Make sure you got the price right: if a price-tag is attached to the product, make sure it is not changed (that can happen sometimes...) if there is no price-tag, make sure you clearly understand what the price is. In both cases you have to confirm that the price is in Patacas (MOP$) and do not hesitate to bargain (obviously, that won't work in big chain shops).
  4. Hong Kong dollars are widely accepted in Macau.  However, the rate of the HK$ is usually slightly higher than the MOP$.  When plying with HK$, make sure the seller does not "conveniently" calculate the rate as 1 = 1...
  5. Some shops, restaurants and other businesses restrict the use of credit cards to purchases of more than MOP$ 100 - 200... Others add "service charge" of 2-3% to purchases, done with credit card... both these practices are against the regulations but there is very little you can do about it.
  6. Don't be fooled by shops that offer "special deals" to foreign passport holders. 
  7. Have you looked around? Don't run to buy anything (especially if it's expensive) before you compared the price in a few different shops.  The folks in MGTO (Macau Government Tourist Office) will probably know something about Sales and special deals that are currently on and will also be in a position to tell you about recommended shops.  You can also call the Consumer Council (Conselho de Consumidores) on 8988 9315 for suggested retail prices and advise.
  8. Are you buying the right product at the right place? In many cases, you'll find there are "areas" that specialize in certain products group. Focusing on those areas will make life easier for you as the product you are looking for can be found in many nearby shops.
  9. As in many big cities around the world, "street touts" and taxi drivers will try to promote shops and restaurants from which they receive commissions... There is absolutely no need for you to follow them, as you are likely to end up spending more money on an inferior product...
  10. Did you get what you paid for? You'll better Check that the product comes in its original pack, that it has all the components it should have, that there is a certificate of warranty (which is valid in your home country), that there is a clear return policy in that shop and, of course, that the product is adapted to work in your country.
  11. Have you asked for a receipt? In addition to the ultimate certificate of warranty, it is also important to get a receipt and to make sure that all the details are properly written there (should not be a problem as most receipts are computer generated now days). In case of a problem, you can contact the Consumer Council, show them the receipt and ask them to help you out.
  12. What exactly are you paying for? When buying bulk products, such as Chinese medicines, spices, dried foods and the like... you'll better find out if the price is per piece, per kilo or per packet.

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Related articles you may also want to read...

Introduction to shopping in Macau (Opening hours, Etc...)

What is worth buying in Macau ?