Expert Info

Posted by
on 5 Feb 2014
I live in a furnished apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand (not the luxury type). Two days ago, I was sitting in front of my laptop on a provided chair (5 steel legs with wheels) while talking to a friend on Skype (PC call). One of the 5 steel legs suddenly bended, the chair fell backward and the backside of my head hit the floor. Next day I talked to the apartment office to replace the damaged chair with a wooden 4-leg steady chair. But they want me to pay for the damaged 5-leg chair. The way I see it:

a. The damaged chair is an old chair. Since the apartment complex is 8 to 9 years old. Who knows how many residents have used (even abused) this chair before. Why should I pay the offce the price of a new chair?

b. There is no way a new resident being an expert on metal fatigue and having the necessary equipment to X-ray examine whether the chair leg has reached the yielding point while checking in, and demanding a new chair (dream on -- the office will never give a new chair)

c. After inspection, it reveals that the chair legs are made of "thin" steel, not to the standard of Europe or USA. And that is most likely why one of the chair leg yielded while I was just sitting on the chair talking to my friend over Skype.

d. Since the office claims that I damaged their property, shouldn't it also reasonable that they are responsible for my head injury if there is any (I have not done any CAT scan in a hospttal so far to verify if there is any permanent injury to my head which could appear several weeks later) since the "dangerous" chair is provided by them?

I understand that this is Thailand, and many Western standard rules do not apply here. Could anyone please give an advise what I could do at this point?
Anonymous (not verified) on 6 Feb 2014
Thanks, Xavier! I heard that argument before 'You may end up needing more than a CAT scan if you start arguing over it.' That is a subtle statement. The newcomers to Thailand may not understand what it implies while still being immerged in an ecstasy of moving to a new land. Sigh! An expat suggested me to go read "Private Dancer" by Stephen Leather (free download on Internet) which may unmask what behind those perfect smiles.
Xavier on 6 Feb 2014
Hi Chengfong

I put this to Thailand Expat, a group on Facebook and got the following response from the group's admin:

"I am pretty sure you will be responsible for it, unless it was the Landlords fault or an employee of the Landlord.  Just pay for a new chair. You may end up needing more than a CAT scan if you start arguing over it. However make sure they provide you with a receipt of how much the chair actually costs. I doubt they can produce that"

What this suggests to me at least, assuming they can't produce a receipt, is that you'll just need to get a chair that looks similair. I realise this must be upsetting and unpleasant for you (to put it mildly) but it will be less painful in the long run to get it over and done with.

Otherwise, have a look at our Accommodation in Thailand page - some landlords aren't worth putting up with (and only you will know that).

Good luck!

Hasselhoff on 16 Mar 2014
yes, it is not worth the hassle, just get a new one. I do not think you will have to get the same (which is probably not possible). Any chair that looks similar should be ok.
Anonymous (not verified) on 16 Mar 2014
Thanks, Hasselhoff! I appreciate all your opinions. Some updates: After carefully re-examining the suddenly broken chair, it reveals that the chair legs are not made of thin steel, but hard PLASTIC -- Wow! only in Thailand ! I also talked with some other Thai residents in the same apartment complex, and they all said: a. They will not pay anything to the office. b. They would not even tell the office that the chair in their room is broken. I chatted with a Thai friend, a Thai lady who owns a massage parlor, about the situation. She said - And that is why she never moves in an apartment older than three years old --- go figure it ~~~~