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“Double charged me!”

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Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel
Ranked #117 of 157 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Reviewed April 5, 2013

I stayed here for four nights and left the day before my friend, I paid on leaving and when she went to leave they would not let her go without paying for me again. When I went back to ask for my money back the manager was unbelievably rude and called me a liar as it was his girlfriend on reception. Please be careful if you are visiting this hostel as the staff are dishonest.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank RoseC181
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PhilKohTao, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded April 6, 2013

I have been waiting for this review to come in as I remember this customer well as it was an entertaining tale over a 300 baht charge which we showed them they had not in fact paid twice for and was simply a mistake by the customer. I was starting to think that perhaps I wouldn't get the opportunity to share this particular hostel story with the masses. I'd also like to point out that I was in no way rude to this customer or call them a liar I simply pointed out to her the flaws in her story although I do admit I did laugh when she threatened to sue me. Our staff and indeed my girlfriend are certainly not dishonest and have no need to try to cheat 300 baht from our customers.
Okay so the first time I met this customer was when I was called to the hostel as they said they had paid twice for a night's stay, as the owner of the hostel I went to see what the problem was as the hostel manager was unable to resolve the problem.
The first thing that the customer said to me when I arrived at the hostel was 'I have an excellent memory and never forget anything', which seemed an odd thing to say when I said hello.
They then proceeded to tell me their version of what had happened, she told me how on the day that she checked out (the previous day) she had paid for both her final night of accommodation and another girls accommodation that she had met at the hostel who was sick and so she had given money to her so that she didn't have to get out of bed. The following day the girl who had been sick, then checked out and was charged for 2 nights stay at the hostel, she assumed that the other girl had actually just not paid for her accommodation, but was meeting up with her later on and so would sort it out then. When they met up the first customer said no she had paid the accommodation the previous night for both of them and so both girls came back to the hostel to ask for a refund of this double paid night of accommodation.
However upon their arrival back at the hostel there was a different member of staff than had been working when they both checked out. They had both checked out with my girlfriend, who I must admit has a pretty good memory herself, for example she'll often know every customer's name that is staying in the hostel which is often full to capacity at 32 people. As she recalled the events of the previous morning when this customer checked out she came to the reception to check out but was confused when told that she still needed to pay for the previous night as she thought she had paid for all the nights she had stayed already and so went back to her room without paying to check with her sick friend how many nights she had been staying at the hostel because she couldn't remember (the same girl who said she never forgot anything when I first met her). Then returned and paid for her own nights of accommodation and checked out and left. So the following day when her friend who had recovered from her sickness checked out she was simply charged for her accommodation. As my girlfriend didn't follow the first customer into the room when she went to check how many nights she had been staying at the hostel she was unaware of any money exchange between the 2 girls to pay for the sick girls accommodation.
So there was clearly a dispute over who had paid what, so I explained to the customers that there was a simple way to determine if they had indeed paid an additional 300 baht or not for a night of accommodation for the girl who had been sick and that was to look in the accounts. As we write down every payment that comes in and out each day and then at the end of the day we record what the float for the start of the day was, how much has come in and what has gone out and it gives us a cash total for the day, which should add up to the amount of cash in the cash draw. So I checked the records for the previous day, funnily enough there was no record written down of the customer paying an additional 300 baht for the girl that was sick. To which the customers response was no I definitely paid it to the receptionist (my girlfriend), so she must have just forgotten to write it down. So I explained how the system worked and that even if that was the case then the accounts for the day would be over by 300 baht, which they weren't. The customer then started to get very agitated and was saying that they really couldn't afford to lose this 300 baht that they were claiming to have paid, it was a lot of money to them and could potentially ruin their whole trip, which seemed slightly unlikely even at this stage as it costs more than that just to get a ferry off the island. So I explained again to them how the accounting system works and that it clearly showed that we did in fact not have a surplus 300 baht from the previous day when she checked out and the receptionist (my girlfriend) from when she checked out who had come back to the hostel to speak to the customer and explained to her that she had in fact not paid for a night of accommodation for herself before returning to the room to check with her sick friend if she had already paid or not as she couldn't remember how many days she'd been staying at the hostel. Then when she came back to the reception just paid for her own stay of one night and not her sick friend's night.
This wasn't acceptable to the customer who suggested that it was perhaps my girlfriend who had stolen money from me/them, and pocketed the 300 baht she claimed to have paid and not recorded it in the accounts. I did mention to the customers that my girlfriend wouldn't actually need to steal cash from either myself or them as if she needed any cash she would simply write it down as a payment out and take it from the money in the hostel, as is normal for meals, magazines, going to get her nails done etc, etc.
So as I wasn't accepting her theory that my girlfriend had stolen the 300 baht (when there would be absolutely no need to do so as she has access to the hostel money every single day), I suggested maybe just maybe she could be mistaken and have actually not paid the additional 300 baht as the receptionist (my girlfriend) had said had happened.
No the customer wasn't having this and repeated again that she never forgot anything and was clearly getting angry now and threw in that she was in fact a lawyer in the UK (hey she may have been a lawyer for all I know as it's possible to become a lawyer by the time you are 23ish just about after the degree and the next couple of years along the career path) and this was the reason she had an excellent memory and so couldn't possibly be mistaken. At this point I was thinking wow a poor backpacking lawyer staying in hostels in Thailand that is financially ruined after the supposed loss of 300 baht that's got to be a first.
To snap me out of this thought the customer decided that no they were definitely right and so told me that they were not going to go anywhere and going to wait at the hostel reception until they got the 300 baht that they claimed to have paid and the receptionist (my girlfriend) had subsequently stolen...
At that point I thought okay I've shown them they haven't paid it, as it's not in the accounts, she's been told by the person she claimed to have paid it to that she didn't and their perfect memory argument was pretty much blown out of the water when they'd said to me when they said they couldn't remember how many nights they'd stayed at the hostel before they'd headed off to the room when they didn't actually pay. Now I didn't call them a liar once, but really how many lawyers are there out there who's entire trip could be ruined by the supposed loss of 300 baht.
So I said to them to go ahead as we could see that they hadn't paid this additional 300 baht and I'd decided that no out of principle I wasn't going to cave in and give them 300 baht just to go away. I don't believe this was just an attempt to get money, I think that the girl really did believe that she had double paid, however she was unable to accept the fact that she hadn't when it was clearly pointed out to her. Even at the time before she wrote this review I didn't even think it was an a case of putting on a good show to cover up that she had pocketed the 300 baht off the sick newly met 'friend' she had supposedly paid the nights accommodation for. To me it seemed that she really just couldn't accept that she was wrong.
I left the hostel and went back to work managing the Davy Jones Locker dive school and a little while later they came there and tried a different approach by not being so hysterical and asked again if there was any way I would give them 300 baht and so I explained again to them for the fifth or sixth time that as there was no evidence of them ever paying this money in the accounts system and there was no surplus cash on the day they claimed to have done this and I didn't believe that my girlfriend would need to steal 300 baht from them instead of just spending her wages, or money from the hostel that no on principle I couldn't give them 300 baht without a reason as I believed they were mistaken as all the evidence suggested.
Obviously I was supposed to play ball and give them 300 baht as the customer lost it slightly and threatened to sue me over 300 baht that she hadn't paid, which did make me laugh and I said to go ahead and so the next threat was to write bad things everywhere and tell everyone how bad we are, that threat really isn't that effective if you aren't that bothered or quite like replying to some of these reviews that often are not all that accurate.
It does also look as though they've just finished their trip as they stayed in August and it's now April when they've got round to writing a tripadvisor review, perhaps memories coming back after looking through the holiday snaps of that smart assed bloke in Koh Tao who laughed at them when they threatened to sue him for not coughing up 300 baht so they could have an extra sangsom bucket!
Thank you for leaving your review as it made a smile come to my face as I recalled the story whilst writing this response.
PS, I hope that the lawyers wages have gone up in the UK whilst you've been away so that you can afford a drink in your local pub.

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86 - 92 of 118 reviews

Reviewed February 9, 2013

When I called the hostel to stay 2 nights, the Thai girl receptionist said they had a bed for me. When I arrived, she said I might have to go the next day since it was full. The next day, I had to go and just complained to her that she should've told the situation on the phone since I had to take a taxi and now had to look for another place for just 1 night. No one wants to move around after settling in. She said she loved her job and she was perfect for it or something and said "Oh my budda!!!" I guest she is not a budhist. Christians don't say something like that. Anyway, her English was good but not good manner overall. The hostel is basic with about 3 shower rooms and 2 toilets. They charge 30 baht for blanket since the aircon gets cold at night. Thanks to her, I found a private room with a fan for 250 baht in Saire Beach. Therefore, I was wrong that the hostel was the cheapest.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank backpackmania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phil D, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2013

Yes I've never heard anyone ever say OMG either, but my question to you is that when you called up did you say that you wanted to stay for 2 nights, or did you simply ask if we had any beds free for tonight? We tend not to keep beds for people who call up as they do have a habit of not actually turning up and so the best way to book in is through the hostel website or hostelworld as then it is locked in for you. We do rent out blankets for 30 baht for just 1-2 nights as they quite heavy and so this will just about cover their laundry cost. The AC can get quite cold in the rooms, but that really does depend on what temperature it is that you set them to as the remotes are in the rooms.... We don't claim to be the cheapest accommodation on the island as there are still a few of the very cheap fan bungalows on the island I'm told, but I really couldn't tell you where they are anymore. However for the real penny pinchers you can still stay at the temple for just 100 baht a night!!

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Reviewed January 15, 2013

basic accommodation but good for value, bar and grill opposite that attracts a decent crowd, and also 30 seconds from the beach its self. everything you could need is near by. just have to say i was disappointed by the shower but its hardly something to ruin my stay on a great island. Thanks!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank maxwolves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2012 via mobile

I stayed here for 2 nights while diving. It's the worst hostel I've ever been to! And as I'm a backpacker I don't expect too much! It's very dirty, I arrived and there was rubbish left by the last guest around my bed. The toilets are disgusting, toilet paper all over the floor and wet, and you're not allowed to wear shoes inside! They don't even provide you a banked/sheet for the night you have to rent it for a price which is definitely more than just what it would cost to wash them, especially you pay by day. And then it is expensive! You pay for a bed in a six bed dorm, for a little bit more you get a cottage somewhere else, and as soon as you two people It's even cheaper to get your own room/cottage. Don't stay here!

  • Stayed: November 2012
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3  Thank lauraaa93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PhilKohTao, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

Hi Laura,

yes you stayed here for two nights whilst diving so as I understand it your stay was actually free as it was included in your course price, so really not all that expensive. If you would have been paying for the stay then it would have been 250 baht at the moment for the low season price, or 200 baht a night on any days that you were taking fun dives, scuba reviews or DSD dives with Davy Jones Locker (this applies all year round even during the high season).
You checked in during the morning before the cleaners go into the rooms each day (our cleaners only go into the rooms between 1 & 2pm each day so as not to disturb those who have been out partying the night before).
Unfortunately yes some people are messy in the toilets being unable to put toilet paper into the waste bins provided and unable to direct a bum gun into the actual toilet which it sounds like resulted in tissue paper being put onto the floor and then getting wet from people unable to direct a water spray toward their bum instead of the floor, hence causing a wet floor. This must have happened between one of the four times a day that the toilet and shower areas are cleaned, my guess would be late/middle of the night.
We don't force anyone to rent a towel or blanket, these are optional extras that you can choose to rent if you wish, as we know that some people do already have these with them, so instead of just adding 50 baht or more onto the nightly rate as the other hostels on the island do we simply give people the option. (The laundry cost here on the island is between 40-50 baht per kilo so for those people changing towels every day when they go to the beach the rental cost isn't expensive at all and is only there to cover the laundry costs). You may have noticed that the towel cost is a daily rate, however there are different rates for blanket rental depending on the length that you rent them. Also you have to understand that not all customers we get are honest and so theft of towels and blankets also has to be accounted for.

We don't have any 6 bed dorms, your observation or numeracy skills are it seems not the best as each of the dormitories have 8 beds in them. Yes for additional money it is possible to get a bungalow/room with cold water shower, a fan and free mosquitoes.

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Reviewed November 7, 2012

The floor was covered in dust and dirt, making me want to keep my shoes on not take them off at the door! I was scared of the diseases i might catch so i only stayed one night. My 8 bed dorm room smelled awful, a mix of sweat and damp. The ladder to my top bunk was literally hanging off the bed. Its dark grey walls and smelly toilets make it feel like a prison. Its funny because there are signs all over the hostel asking people not to give bad reviews online but at this hostel there was no significant problem to complain to management about, the whole hostel was one of the worst of my east coast trip and it was the reason i didnt go diving with DJL, i wasnt going to stay there for 4 days even if it was free with the diving. Save yourself time and money and go straight to big blue diving resort.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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4  Thank s_pops89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PhilKohTao, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

Signs all over the hostel asking people not to give bad reviews? They actually point out some of the incorrect things that people have written in the past such as the common "there is no hot water showers" just because people didn't know about the ELB safety feature that the showers have here in Thailand to prevent you getting an electric shock whilst in the shower.

We do ask people to actually try and stick to the truth instead of making up complaints about things that if they bothered to ask a question at reception could be explained to them very quickly. We do have many signs up in the hostel to point things out to the guests, however some don't bother to read them either and then decide to write a complaint about something which was explained by a sign they didn't read. Which as can imagine is pretty frustrating when it's the same things over and over again which have already been addressed, replied to, signs posted etc etc. I just makes you question the intelligence of some people.

I was amused by the dark grey walls comment that made it feel like a prison, odd really as there haven't been any grey walls in the hostel at all since it was first painted (prior to us opening) when we built it . So yet again a quite random complaint without any basis of truth.

Unless perhaps she went colour blind due to the trauma of her almost drowning taking the Open Water course with a dive school who managed to take her beyond her limits which according to her review of the place (which you can easily find on TripAdvisor by clicking on her name and then reviews) resulted in her almost drowning and having to be rescued by her dive instructor, if that isn't a glowing endorsement then I don't know what is, oh no wait a minute....

I can fully recommend Davy Jones Locker Diving, which perhaps you would have had an even better non near drowning incident free Open Water course with which has an excellent safety record and also can boast having the Emergency Evacuation Response contact person for the island working in their dive shop on the reception and teaching Emergency First Responder courses.

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Reviewed August 31, 2012

I have been to Koh Tao several times and always stay here. The dorms are basic but clean, the same goes for the showers and toilets. All the reception staff are lovely and always helpful. It's a great location, close to the beach and all the shops, and you also have the pool and bar opposite. It's also a really good place to meet people, in the dorm or in the bar. I would definitely recommend staying here if your looking for the backpacking experience!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank gillianmccormick85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2012

the dorms are very basic so i guess you get what you pay for. the receptionists are rather helpful and speak really good English. the only thing i wish they could include was blankets because it was extra charges to rent one.

Located next to Davy Jones Locker (dive centre), i felt it was a good location. They have a swimming pool and pool bar which is nice. People who work at Davy Jones are very friendly and it's a great way to meet people. In fact, Davy Jones dive centre owns this hostel so if you dive with them, you get discounted rates.

Room Tip: email in advance as they are always full.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank rainbowbiscuits
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel

Address: Moo 2 | Sairee Beach, Koh Tao 84360, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Koh Tao
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #117 of 157 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Price Range: $11 - $61 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Koh Tao Backpackers is in central Sairee, Koh Tao. Koh Tao Backpackers offers cheap hostel style accommodation for both divers and non divers. Located in Sairee at the Silver Sands Resort, behind Davy Jones Locker Diving who's restaurant/bar and swimming pool we use as our common areas, Koh Tao Backpackers is close to everything you'll need whilst here on Koh Tao. We also have full access to the Dive resort's swimming pool and bar restaurant. We have AC in all the dormitories, hot water showers, lockers in the dormitories and 24 hour reception with CCTV cameras. ... more   less 
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