Published: September 3, 2017
Let's start with something irrefutable - as of this writing, September 3, 2017, this is the PPSI official price list, which means the file, which you can download here or get directly from PPSI (hint: it's the same file) represents the official price for each procedure at Phuket Plastic Surgery Institute.
Yes, it's got "October 2016" in the name. That's because it's the last update to their prices. Don't worry, it's still valid in September 2017.
Now, if you're looking for plastic surgery in Thailand, you probably haven't seen that before. In fact, you've probably seen mostly prices in your currency. If you're Australian, that means price lists created by agencies in AUD.
Are prices for surgery at PPSI in other currencies REAL?
Because there's only one price, the PPSI price, and it's ultimately paid in Thailand Baht to PPSI at the set rate.
The same is true in almost every situation at every major international facility in Thailand. There may be one-off discounts or group discounts at some facilities (not at PPSI, though), but 99% of the time the price is set at the facility and it is always in Thai Baht.
Of course we could be pulling a fast one on you, just like the people who send you those ginned up fake price lists in your home currency. How would you know?
Fortunately, renuval interviewed the head of marketing for PPSI on pricing and how it works and you can listen to that here to verify that we're not the ones lying to you:
It's at about 2 minutes and 10 seconds, though if you're considering having plastic surgery at PPSI the entire interview is worth a listen.
We're using PPSI as an example, but this is true at all major faciltiies. So, if everything we're saying is true and everything you heard there is true, then you might be a bit flummoxed. If pricing is so straightforward, then why is it so confusing?
If you have any questions so far, you can ask here and we'll get right back:
Otherwise, enjoy as we pick apart the various nonsensical pricing scams companies are using to trick you - starting with this article, which is about fake exchange rates.
If the final price for your surgery in Thailand is in Thailand Baht and you're being quoted prices in Australian Dollars, how does that square?
The best sign of a fake price list is that the prices aren't in the final currency, but our favorite scam marker is the set exchange rate - the fake price list in a foreign currency with something like "Prices Converted At Set Exchange Rate Of 26:1" or some such nonsense. Governments can fix exchange rates, your local boobie holiday agency in Brisbane cannot. But what does it really matter if it's close right now?
We see it all the time from our confused clients who just want to know what something costs and it causes us, and them a lot of trouble and ditrust, because now they don't know who to believe.
To understand why it's dodgy, we need to unpack how exchange rates work and how they affect what you pay in the end.
First, if you're not familiar with how currency exchange rates work you need to read a quick article like this one that explains things.
It's also important to point out that there's nothing wrong with real-time conversions on web pages or in emails as long as they're accurate at that time and someone explains that the ultimate price is paid in Thai Baht. Clients often ask us to convert prices when they don't know how and we usually do this automatically anyway.
Now that we're all on the same page on exchange rates, you can see two issues right away:
Why does this matter?
So, to use an example, let's refer back to the Official Phuket Plastic Surgery Institute Price List that we linked above (you can download it here if you missed it).
For our example, we'll take the price for a non-complicated Breast Augmentation at PPSI, which is 115,000 THB in that price list. It's the most common procedure performed at PPSI, so it's a good benchmark.
As of this writing, on September 3, 2017, that 115,000 THB Breast Augmentation at PPSI converts to 4,346.57 AUD using xe.com. Here's a handy image frozen in time for eternity, or until the internet ceases to function:
That means, according to xe.com, which is a pretty generic price converter, if you brought Australian Dollars to PPSI to pay for your surgery right now, and exchanged them at the bank, you'd need to exchange 4,347 AUD to get the 115,000 THB needed to pay.
Small problem, though. xe.com isn't a bank and banks have their own exchange rates.
For a real-world conversion, let's use SCB, a major Thai bank that you're as likely to use as any other when you exchange money here. By going to the SCB currency exchange rate calculator page, we can see that 4,347 AUD doesn't get you the 115,000 THB you expected from xe.com. It leaves you short:
That's right, only 110,745 Thai Baht at the bank's exchange window. That's thousands of Baht short - probably enough to pay for several nights in your hotel!
Remember above when we said, "The rate varies from bank to bank." and "When you're paying tens, or hundreds of thousands of Baht, a small variation adds up."?
This is what we meant. Even if you converted a price in real time on the spot on your phone with a generic currency conversion app while in Phuket, then sprinted to an SCB exchange counter to exchange, you could still end up thousands of Baht short because the onshore exchange rate at that particular bank is different than the one you used.
This doesn't even get into what happens when you use a credit card, but let's keep it simple, because the point is understanding how exchange rates are used to trick you into making decisions based on half-baked information.
That brings us to the second problem, which is the currency variation over time.
To illustrate that, let's go back to xe.com and look at the price of the same procedure, a non-complicated Breast Augmentation in Phuket (maybe by Dr. Piyapas or Dr. Rushapol!), which is set by PPSI at 115,000 Thai Baht.
It's very common for people to book 3-6 months in advance, so, let's assume you got a quote in AUD 3 months ago. What did 115,000 THB equal in Aussie Dollars 3 months back? Hmm.
The page for that isn't as pretty, but you can see the rates for June 3, 2017 here on xe.com - the AUD:THB rate is .0394546226 and that translates to:
In other words, when you were quoted 3 months ago the price in AUD was 4,537 AUD, but today it's about 4,347 AUD.
Congratulations, you saved money!
Of course currencies fluctuate both directions, so if you'd been quoted in March for a procedure in June you would have lost money. In reality, you didn't win or lose anything, the price was always going to be 115,000 THB, but the currency rate means your Aussie Dollar buys more or less Thai Baht on any given day based on markets, weather, politics and a heap of factors.
Think about all the variation just in that one pricing situation. That's how many paragraphs and images just to explain a common 3 month variation on a single Breast Augmentation at PPSI?
So, if it's actually that complicated and the real number can change that much, how is it possible that your friendly local boobie holiday agent in Australia can send you a fixed price list with a "set" (fake) exchange rate that's at all accurate?
The answer is: They can't.
The procedure is paid for in Thailand Baht at PPSI, Bangkok Hospital, Vejthani, Nirunda, BIDC, Samitivej Sri Racha or any of our other 25+ Thailand-based partners nationwide. There is no AUD accepted at the hospital (though there are exchange booths), which means at some point you're changing money and whatever agent sent you that ginned up price list at a "set" (fake) exchange rate probably doesn't also own a Thai bank, so you might be in for a very unpleasant surprise when you find out the real cost of your surgery.
You also shouldn't ever pay anyone but the hospital or surgeon directly, in-person, in Thailand, and only after you've met with them and are comfortable, but we'll cover that in another installment of "What Are Our Prices?"
Your common sense is usually a good guide, and that applies here too.
If someone is charging you in your home currency up front and then paying the hospital later in another currency, what's the chance that they're losing money on the deal?
They're a business, right? They make money, not lose it - right?
Now you can start to see what all those "set" (fake) exchange rate price lists are about - either A) making prices look lower than they are so you'll be more likely to book or B) getting more money out of your pocket up front.
Either way, it's probably not designed to keep money in your pocket, which is where it should stay until you're at the hospital.
So, lesson #1, don't believe "set" (fake) exchange rates and never ask anyone selling you something to convert prices for you. It's like asking the other guy's lawyer for advice in a contract. Ask for the final price that will be paid and do your own conversion. Then you'll be in charge of your money and understand what's happening.
That's why we recommend you Book Direct with renuval. No nonsense, no scams, no deposits, no fees, no money paid to us EVER - just free personal assistance and our lifetime support now, during and after your experience. It's a good deal. Ask our clients :)
In our next "What Are Our Prices?" article we'll cover another pricing trick that you need to be aware of, but if you want to work with an honest company that treats you like an intelligent adult and never accepts fees, deposits or any of your money for medical care, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you.
Or, if you're ready to book, get started here:
Or, if we got through all this and you still have questions, just drop them here and we'll get right back to you :)