Nong Plalai Sub-district’s dean of monks said five Pattaya-area temples will begin putting clear price tags on amulets following complaints about overcharging.
Wimoljariyalangkarn, who also is abbot of Nong Ket Yai Temple, said monks are not involved in selling amulets or any other religious item on temple grounds. In fact, he said he doesn’t even know what prices are charged for them.
However, following complaints to Banglamung District’s complaint center, Wimoljariyalangkarn said Jan. 29 that he met with local and temple officials to work out a solution that was scheduled to take effect Feb. 1.
Under the agreement, temple vendors at Nong Ket Yai, along with Sawangfapruettaram and Prachum Khongkha in Nongprue, Satidarm in Takhiantia, and Tungka in Huay Yai will put clear prices on all amulets to prevent price gouging and different prices being charged to different people.
Local and Buddhism authorities launched random inspections of Pattaya-area temples following the complaints. The crackdown comes following complaints that vendors were overcharging for amulets and not clearly explaining the object’s history, including whether it had been blessed or not. Complainants called the practice fraud.
Wimoljariyalangkarn said the issue of blessings was a red herring, arguing that the overwhelming majority of tourists buying the objects didn’t care.
The National Office of Buddhism’s Chonburi branch issued an order barring any sales inside a temple’s main hall and said it would work with police stations and the Chonburi Cultural Office to set up designated areas for vendors at each temple.
The abbot said the temple itself never gets involved with selling anything except flowers, candles and incense. All other items are sold by private merchants in areas they rent.