Dar Zaouia

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12 derb hejjaj av hassan 2, Fez, Morocco
0535445566

Dar Zaouia Fez Reviews

HCapulet HCapulet
3 reviews
Be careful and smart when buying rugs from Dar Zaouia in Fez May 05, 2008
I was in Morocco with a small tour company that took only you and your party around the country. Therefore, all the city tour guides were connected, and all the hotels and stores that they take you to were connected. The following is what happened to us when we tried to buy a small throw rug.

While taking our tour of Fez, I mentioned that I would be interested in buying a small throw rug to our guide. Right away he took us to Dar Zaouia within the medina. The building was absolutely gorgeous and there were large, magnificent carpets all around. The tour guide left us in the care of the rug dealers and wandered off. The main dealer was very good at what he did. They brought us mint tea and had a slew of people bringing out all sorts of rugs. The main dealer separated my boyfriend and myself and continued pushing a rug sale. I told him that I was deep in college debt, only lived in a small apartment, and only needed a small throw rug. He said that a small throw rug was not a rug. I must admit that the rugs were beautiful, but he was super aggressive, and with no way of escaping the store (our guide was gone for about two hours), we were left to the devices of this dealer. He kept saying that he would give us a good price; he did not. He told me that I could turn around a resell the rugs in the USA and make back my money as well as turn a profit. This was a lie. He used a hand held calculator to show me the deal he was giving me, but this was only my second day in the country and the currency conversion was still quite confusing. I told him again, and probably too politely, that I was in a lot of debt, and could not afford the very large rugs he was trying to get me to purchase, and that I simply wanted a small rug. He refused to bring me a small rug. He brought back my boyfriend after an hour or so, and was trying to finish the sale. At this point, I was so weary and wanted to leave, but without the tour guide and being alone in a very complex city, I was defeated. I finally agreed to buy a rug, just to get out of there. That wasn't good enough. After it was all said and done, I ended up with three very large rugs for about $10,000 US. This was quite ridiculous for me. I was a college student in a small one bedroom apartment in the city. Again, my math was bad with the currency conversion and I did not realize the high price but I unhappily consented. Finally, the tour guide reemerges from the depths of the city, greets the rug dealer with kisses, and finally takes us from the rug shop. I must admit that the workers for the rug dealer were quite wonderful and sweet, but the rug dealer himself was cunning and very good at his craft.

On the train to Marrakesh, we started speaking with a Moroccan passenger and told him about the rug fiasco. He told us blatantly that we had gotten extremely ripped off and told us step by step how to get out of the sale. This man saved us $10,000 US. He was a blessing.

While in Marrakesh, our city guide was quite upset that we had already purchased rugs and kept asking us how much we spent. We didn't answer because we didn't think it was his business and he was rude to us for the rest of the tour. The wonderful manager at the hotel we stayed at, heard our story, and let us use his phone multiple times, his internet for free, brought us delicious Moroccan coffee, and refused money for his help. He was another blessing. We saw that antique rugs of similar size were selling for only $1,000. We had gotten completely ripped off. After many phone calls and following the train passengers advice, we finally got out of the purchase.

By the time we were out in the desert, the guide out there had heard from the tour company about the rug disaster and wanted to hear our side of it. He confirmed that making a profit is one thing, but the rug dealer was completely ripping us off.

The moral of the story is know what you want to buy, be firm, be familiar with the currency conversion, and make the tour guide stay with you during your purchase. The rugs were quite beautiful, and I would have like to purchase a small one from Dar Zaouia, but got one from the souks of Marrakesh instead.
2 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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rcbuckeye1 says:
I saw this post and had a very bizarre thing happen, today! I knew my card wouldn't get approved, but next thing I know, 6 people are around me in office, phone getting shoved into face with Chase Visa, and voila, off to DHK we go before I really knew what was done. I'm no novice, I've been to 42 or so countries and bartered pretty well over time, but this was a shock at how intimidating, and effective it all was. Any thoughts how to get out of it? Dumbfounded didn't begin to explain it!
Posted on: Feb 24, 2014
sylviandavid says:
Scarey what pressure can do when you are alone and have a person plying you.
Posted on: Feb 11, 2012
HCapulet says:
Hello! I'm so sorry to hear about your story! It can be very overwhelming trying to purchase something in a totally unfamiliar way. My only bartering experience was when I was at the markets in Guatemala but it was nothing like this. $20,000 Australian is a lot of money.

We were lucky in that the shop hadn't yet sent out the rugs and we contacted them within a day or two of the purchase. It was actually on a weekend which may have helped as well. The charge wasn't actually posted on my credit card yet.

We made several phone calls to the rug shop over a few days. We also called our travel agency's representative in Fez who was there to help us in an emergency, and they were absolutely no help (She was actually back door dealing with the rug shop guys while we all were making calls back and forth). Called my credit card company. Finally called the rug shop again and we had to resort to threaten calling the US embassy to report the scam, only then did he grudgingly cancelled our order. If the rugs had already been sent out, I don't know how we would have gotten our money. We were planning on asking if we could just ship the rugs back to the store and not even open up their packages.

I'm not sure what to tell you. The best I could say would be to try and sell them back to the shop, or to some interested buyer to at least make some money back, or just to save them as heirlooms. The only power I feel I have over them now, are the scathing reviews and warnings to future travelers. Best of luck, so sorry not to be of more help.
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011
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