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Don't Buy Carpets

We returned from a Rick Steves' tour of Turkey over a year ago and today, received another telemarketing call from the Rick Steves' recommended carpet vendor. If you're on a Rick Steves' tour of Turkey, DON"T buy a carpet from the vendor giving you a demonstration and a deal. They hassled me and wouldn't leave when they delivered the carpet and continue to telephone me no matter how many times I tell them I'm not buying or just hang up on them. They NEVER go away, just like they never go away when you're walking down a street in Istanbul.

Posted by
6718 posts

How/why would a carpet vendor have your phone number to begin with? Did you already buy one carpet from him and somehow your address and phone number was provided as part of the purchase (for delivery purposes, etc.)? Is he trying to get you to buy more carpets? Just trying to clarify your post...

Posted by
8 posts

Yes, we bought a small rug in Turkey and had to provide all the information for the delivery.

Posted by
1881 posts

Did you phone Rick Steves' company to let them know what happened? I'm sure they would find it interesting that a vendor they are recommending is hassling people who buy from them. I know RS staff sometimes reply to items on the HelpLine, but I do not know if they read every single posting, so you would be doing others a favor by letting them know your experience.

Just kidding on the following:
The next time they call, maybe tell them your carpet fell apart and that you are glad they called because you want your money back.................THAT might just stop the calls!!!!! And, if it then gets escalated to the owner, etc. you could then just make your point that you want NO MORE CALLS and that was the only way you could get anyone's attention to stop the calls....that nothing else seemed to be working.

Posted by
8 posts

Whether I can block their number or not isn't the point. While I wouldn't travel to Turkey now anyway, if you do the Bazaar merchants and their sidewalk barkers never stop. I thought buying something from a Rick Steves' organized vendor would be dependable and appropriate for Americans. I was wrong, so just be aware if you buy something in Turkey.

Posted by
672 posts

The high-pressure carpet vendor sales pitch was one of our worst experiences on the Village Turkey tour. We were an unwilling captive audience for far too long a time. Fortunately, we didn't buy a rug, but it never occurred to me that they would go this far. I'd certainly look into blocking their number. Thanks for passing along your warning.

Posted by
12386 posts

I purchased one a couple of years ago. Yes, the sales guy calls once or twice a year, says he is in or on his way to my home town and do I want to see what he has. Polite, friendly; some day I may take him up on the offer.

Posted by
672 posts

But, once he's been told, "no," it should stop there.

Posted by
6718 posts

The relentless phone calls aside, how do you feel about the carpet? I saw some gorgeous ones on my tour - I only have photos (of them) to remind me, unfortunately.

Posted by
16061 posts

I think it is the people in Turkey. International calls are pretty cheap these days if you have the right plan.

Posted by
8 posts

Q: "The relentless phone calls aside, how do you feel about the carpet?"

A: The carpet is excellent, but the hand painted platter hanging on the kitchen wall is outstanding with no phone calls, a far better value and reminder of Turkey. We splurged.

Q "I don't understand. You say you bought the carpet in Turkey, and they delivered the carpet to you in America? And the people in America were hassling you and not leaving you alone?"

A Correct.

Q "I think it is the people in Turkey. International calls are pretty cheap..."

A Nope. It's an LA representative of the Turkish carpet company. They received the shipment and delivered it along with the half dozen other rugs they unrolled over my objections and tried to push on me before I threw them out of house.

Posted by
12386 posts

It's cultural. Just like in the bazaars. I don't mind the guy calling a few times a year. One of these days I will probably buy something.

Posted by
14326 posts

I didn't hear any complaints from tour members. We saw the entire process from silk worms to weavers, then an enjoyable presentation- albeit somewhat lengthy - and about half a dozen of us bought one or more rugs or carpets. I love mine in my living room and often ljust look at it, admiring it and remembering the wonderful trip. The carpet came by fedex in less time than expected and I've never heard from them since

Sounds like you just had the misfortune to be in the same place as their rep. Of course it's annoying for you but usually a good experience I had an insurance reappraisal and the guy said what I paid was a real bargain

Posted by
6718 posts

It's an LA representative of the Turkish carpet company.

In that case, when you talk to them again, tell them to take you off their call list effective immediately or you'll be filing an FCC complaint. That usually works with most companies. They have to respect an opt out wish if they're operating in the US.

https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/articles/202916660-Unwanted-Telemarketing-Calls-and-the-National-Do-Not-Call-List

All in all, it still sound like a net win with some pesky side effect attached. Good luck finally getting rid of them.

I agree with you, they are quite assertive. I was in Istanbul for over two weeks alone and was mildly hassled many times..I just let it roll and kept walking. When you look at how many undifferentiated commodity products they sell (trinkets, cups, lamps, sweets, etc) and how much competition there is among vendors (and the sheer number of vendors), maybe it provides a context for why they're so pushy. A lot of them are frankly quite poor, uneducated with few other options, and this is their only chance at making some income and differentiate themselves from the multitude of others selling like items. I try to think about that whenever I get annoyed and it helps.

Posted by
1068 posts

I didn't buy a carpet there and certainly wouldn't like them calling repeatedly. However, I enjoyed the presentation and if I had a use for Turkish carpets, I would have purchased one. As an experiment, I let myself be "talked into" visiting a carpet seller in Istanbul (to see what it was like.) The experience on the RS tour was wonderful in comparison to the shop in Istanbul and the carpets on tour were both nicer and cheaper. So I empathize with the annoyance of them contacting you. I agree that contact RS would seem the way to go with this.

Posted by
16860 posts

I have had the same phone calls after having carpets shipped home from different spots in Turkey, the first time in 1996 in Selcuk, as have other staff here. Our guides have reassured us that the callers don't represent the shop in Cappadocia and also that the shop doesn't sell their mailing lists. What seems the most likely is that someone involved in the shipping or customs clearance collects the info. Your phone number is required for delivery. I never had my carpet delivered by anyone connected with carpet selling, only regular shipping companies, but if you did, then that aspect points the same direction - to the shipping process. According to what our guides told us, they don't represent the original shop.

Posted by
12386 posts

The guy that calls me a few times a year is the same gentleman that sold me the carpet. Decent fellow just trying to make a living.

Posted by
88 posts

I have bought carpets on 2 different Village Turkey tours from 2 different carpet demonstrations we attended. The first time it was delivered to my house and I was never called. The second time different establishment and while they said they would mail it they hand delivered and many carpets were unfurled on my driveway as well (i bought a door mat sized carpet). After the delivery I was called pretty much monthly. They said they were in town for a show and wanted to come to see me (to give me something, show me something etc). I politely declined each time and then started avoiding taking calls from the many numbers I had seen. Note both places took all my info for delivery. I finally emailed the company (their info was on the receipt) to request they stop contacting me as i would not be buying more carpets. They responded immediately saying it was not them that they do not sell carpets outside of Turkey and that i should tell the callers to stop or i will call the police. Next time i got the call and said the company told me that they were not calling me, the lady replied that i had purchased the carpet from her husband. I said well he told me to tell you that i will be calling the police. Guess what that worked! More recently i was in Istanbul on my own and bought a carpet from a small shop near the Spice Market. Had a wonderful conversation with the young man he has never called me! I absolutely love each carpet i have purchased (small but lovely).

Posted by
88 posts

In clarification,I did not buy any carpets when they came to my house I was referring to the size of the carpet I bought at the demonstration in Turkey. I was just surprised that they were unfurling carpets that cost thousands of dollars in my driveway

Posted by
16860 posts

It sounds like these itinerant merchants are much busier around southern California than they are here in the Seattle area.

Posted by
4879 posts

I lived in Saudi Arabia and purchased several oriental carpets from local and Pakistani vendors. Also, I read a few books on the subject and tried to become better informed about how to determine quality in carpets. Also, I learned the patience of bargaining with the sellers. You must bargain and it won't take 30 seconds. It takes longer.

In purchasing handmade carpets (make sure they are not machine made-machine made carpets are too perfect) determine if the carpet is single or double knotted. Double knotted carpets are worth more. Also, the size of the carpet is important.

The origin of the carpet is very important. Iranian carpets are the most valuable. Indian, Pakistani and Turkish carpets are next depending on the weave and other factors. Silk carpets are far more expensive, avoid buying them since they are only good for wall mounting.

Since I left Saudi Arabia 31 years ago, I had the need to buy another large oriental carpet from a vendor in Virginia. I got a great deal and discovered that the prices for oriental carpets in the USA have come down dramatically compared to carpets in Turkey and the Middle East. While on a trip to Turkey, we had a tour that stopped at a carpet vendor's warehouse and the prices, even after negotiation were in my opinion not much better than what you could find in the USA. Of course, anywhere, you must bargain and have some ability to determine quality to negotiate.

While in Turkey 6 years ago, I was amazed when I saw several Americans buy the carpets without any negotiation at all. What fools.