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-   -   Where to report tourist scams (https://britishexpats.com/forum/spain-75/where-report-tourist-scams-623643/)

jgombos Aug 3rd 2009 5:02 pm

Where to report tourist scams
 
Suppose a tapas place in a very touristy region of Spain charges your euro credit card in GBP, forcing you to pay two conversions (euro to GBP at the restaurant, then GBP back to euro at your bank).

Is there any kind of government authority to report these scams to?

lynnxa Aug 3rd 2009 5:04 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by jgombos (Post 7809042)
Suppose a tapas place in a very touristy region of Spain charges your euro credit card in GBP, forcing you to pay two conversions (euro to GBP at the restaurant, then GBP back to euro at your bank).

Is there any kind of government authority to report these scams to?

wouldn't you just do a denuncia?

jdr Aug 3rd 2009 5:06 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by jgombos (Post 7809042)
Suppose a tapas place in a very touristy region of Spain charges your euro credit card in GBP, forcing you to pay two conversions (euro to GBP at the restaurant, then GBP back to euro at your bank).

Is there any kind of government authority to report these scams to?

They usually ask if you want to pay in €`s or pounds, you should of told them you wanted to pay in €`s.

jgombos Aug 3rd 2009 5:12 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by lynnxa (Post 7809044)
wouldn't you just do a denuncia?

I'm not sure what that is. In searching around, it seems to be a police report. Can that be filed online, from a different country? I just want them to be reported to an org that looks for patterns of scams (in the US, it would be the attorney general); it's not worth the effort to actually try to recover damages.


Originally Posted by jdr (Post 7809046)
They usually ask if you want to pay in €`s or pounds, you should of told them you wanted to pay in €`s.

They did not ask (which in itself is a violation of their agreement with visa). I actually spotted it right away, and they insisted that I would not be charged in GBP, and that it's just for "my information".

Why would GBP be an option, using a euro credit card for an invoice in euros in a SEPA region?

lynnxa Aug 3rd 2009 5:14 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by jgombos (Post 7809065)
I'm not sure what that is. In searching around, it seems to be a police report. Can that be filed online, from a different country? I just want them to be reported to an org that looks for patterns of scams (in the US, it would be the attorney general); it's not worth the effort to actually try to recover damages.



They did not ask (which in itself is a violation of their agreement with visa). I actually spotted it right away, and they insisted that I would not be charged in GBP, and that it's just for "my information".

Why would GBP be an option, using a euro credit card for an invoice in euros in a SEPA region?

some police reports can be done online in some areas - but you still have to go into the guardia to sign it!

in your case couldn't you just speak to Visa?

jdr Aug 3rd 2009 5:22 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by jgombos (Post 7809065)
I'm not sure what that is. In searching around, it seems to be a police report. Can that be filed online, from a different country? I just want them to be reported to an org that looks for patterns of scams (in the US, it would be the attorney general); it's not worth the effort to actually try to recover damages.



They did not ask (which in itself is a violation of their agreement with visa). I actually spotted it right away, and they insisted that I would not be charged in GBP, and that it's just for "my information".

Why would GBP be an option, using a euro credit card for an invoice in euros in a SEPA region?

The option is because they assumed you were on holiday from the UK as it was not a Spanish bank card, so you get the choice of €`s or pounds.
Surely you saw it on the slip that you need not of signed ?

pete_l Aug 3rd 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 
Well, it's not really a scam - as the restaurant or bar doesn't gain anything. It may well be a breakdown in communication, or simply not knowing (either on your part, or on theirs) that there was an option.
I think I saw something about this on t'box last week (One Show? - BBC1). From memory, once you've entered your PIN and pressed ENTER, press ENTER again and you'll get a little known menu to choose the currency for the transaction.

jgombos Aug 3rd 2009 5:33 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by lynnxa (Post 7809075)
in your case couldn't you just speak to Visa?

Visa is not going to make any kind of public record that this company is scamming people, and create a means to deter them from continuing.

If it were a US card, the issuer would simply refund the small amount out of their own pocket and the vendor wouldn't even know (because the bank would not consider it worthwhile to pursue). Since it's actually a European credit card issuer, my understanding is that card holders have no protections anyway.


Originally Posted by jdr (Post 7809096)
The option is because they assumed you were on holiday from the UK as it was not a Spanish bank card, so you get the choice of €`s or pounds.
Surely you saw it on the slip that you need not of signed ?

I should add that I don't speak British English either. And as I said, they reassured me before I entered my pin that it was "just for my information". Then after I signed (via PIN) some nasty terms printed out on the credit card receipt saying that I agree that my "election" to pay in GBP is final. I then asked another employee to fix it, and they gave the same bogus answer, telling me it's just for my information and that my card will be charged in euros. Obviously it's a deliberate scam if they've trained their staff to give the same canned bogus response.

jgombos Aug 3rd 2009 5:40 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by pete_l (Post 7809099)
Well, it's not really a scam - as the restaurant or bar doesn't gain anything.

Of course it's a scam. It's scam even when they choose the same currency that the credit card settles in (if different). It's called dynamic currency conversion (DCC). The idea is that every merchant must pay a fee to visa. So some merchants will charge upwards of 2.5% to convert the currency above and beyond the wholesale exchange rate that the bank pays. This more than recovers their cost of doing business with visa. It's a scheme to pass on their fees to the customer.


Originally Posted by pete_l (Post 7809099)
It may well be a breakdown in communication,

I was quite clear about not wanting to pay GBP, and they were quite certain that GBP was presented "for my information".

Originally Posted by pete_l (Post 7809099)
or simply not knowing (either on your part, or on theirs) that there was an option.

This tapas bar is in the center of Barcelona. I'm not the first tourist with a non-spanish bank card they've encountered.

Originally Posted by pete_l (Post 7809099)
I think I saw something about this on t'box last week (One Show? - BBC1). From memory, once you've entered your PIN and pressed ENTER, press ENTER again and you'll get a little known menu to choose the currency for the transaction.

Once you enter the pin and ok at, that's it. There's no option after the fact.

lynnxa Aug 3rd 2009 5:42 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by pete_l (Post 7809099)
Well, it's not really a scam - as the restaurant or bar doesn't gain anything. It may well be a breakdown in communication, or simply not knowing (either on your part, or on theirs) that there was an option.
I think I saw something about this on t'box last week (One Show? - BBC1). From memory, once you've entered your PIN and pressed ENTER, press ENTER again and you'll get a little known menu to choose the currency for the transaction.


Originally Posted by jgombos (Post 7809126)
Visa is not going to make any kind of public record that this company is scamming people, and create a means to deter them from continuing.

If it were a US card, the issuer would simply refund the small amount out of their own pocket and the vendor wouldn't even know (because the bank would not consider it worthwhile to pursue). Since it's actually a European credit card issuer, my understanding is that card holders have no protections anyway.


I should add that I don't speak British English either. And as I said, they reassured me before I entered my pin that it was "just for my information". Then after I signed (via PIN) some nasty terms printed out on the credit card receipt saying that I agree that my "election" to pay in GBP is final. I then asked another employee to fix it, and they gave the same bogus answer, telling me it's just for my information and that my card will be charged in euros. Obviously it's a deliberate scam if they've trained their staff to give the same canned bogus response.

if pete is right - & I suspect he could be, because how would the bar or whatever gain from it (though I'm happy to have it explained to me) - then what would be the point?

are you saying you speak American English? That would make no difference - they would still assume you are a 'brit abroad' if you speak english not spanish - accent would mean nothing to them! If anything - they probably assumed you are Irish!

jgombos Aug 3rd 2009 5:54 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by lynnxa (Post 7809145)
if pete is right - & I suspect he could be, because how would the bar or whatever gain from it (though I'm happy to have it explained to me) - then what would be the point?

The gain is 2.5%.. The fee they pay visa is around 1.5%.

Merchants are always looking for angles to get out of the visa fees that they agree to. Some of them will violate their agreement with visa in other ways, like directly charge customers a fee for using credit card, or setting a min. purchase. Visa does not enforce their terms, so merchants will break them.

Originally Posted by lynnxa (Post 7809145)
are you saying you speak American English? That would make no difference - they would still assume you are a 'brit abroad' if you speak english not spanish - accent would mean nothing to them! If anything - they probably assumed you are Irish!

Europeans whose first language is not English can easily tell American english from British english, even those who have very rough English themselves. No one has ever mistaken me for a brit. In Belgium, the French and Flemish know from just one or two words out of my mouth that I'm speaking American english - why would Catalans not notice the difference?

lynnxa Aug 3rd 2009 5:59 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by jgombos (Post 7809174)
The gain is 2.5%.. The fee they pay visa is around 1.5%.

Merchants are always looking for angles to get out of the visa fees that they agree to. Some of them will violate their agreement with visa in other ways, like directly charge customers a fee for using credit card, or setting a min. purchase. Visa does not enforce their terms, so merchants will break them.

so are you saying they get it twice?


Originally Posted by jgombos (Post 7809174)
Europeans whose first language is not English can easily tell American english from British english, even those who have very rough English themselves. No one has ever mistaken me for a brit. In Belgium, the French and Flemish know from just one or two words out of my mouth that I'm speaking American english - why would Catalans not notice the difference?


sorry can't agree - not all can

I teach English to Spanish people & they are rarely able to differentiate between some accents - & as I said - the common mistake is to confuse Irish with American!

Of course having not heard you - maybe your accent is really clear!

jgombos Aug 3rd 2009 6:34 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by lynnxa (Post 7809184)
so are you saying they get it twice?

The merchant charges one conversion, and the clients bank charges another if it's converted improperly. The merchant does not benefit from any conversions on the other side, but they don't need to, because 2.5% still exceeds 1.5%.

jdr Aug 3rd 2009 7:14 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by jgombos (Post 7809264)
The merchant charges one conversion, and the clients bank charges another if it's converted improperly. The merchant does not benefit from any conversions on the other side, but they don't need to, because 2.5% still exceeds 1.5%.

Am I the only one being confused here ?

They gave you the bill, you chose to pay by credit card, you signed it or entered your pin, so your fault whether it is a scam or not.

Anyway use cash, people like you make me, who pay by cash pay more for my goods as the card cost is added into the total to cover their costs.

lynnxa Aug 3rd 2009 7:16 pm

Re: Where to report tourist scams
 

Originally Posted by jdr (Post 7809363)
Am I the only one being confused here ?

They gave you the bill, you chose to pay by credit card, you signed it or entered your pin, so your fault whether it is a scam or not.

Anyway use cash, people like you make me, who pay by cash pay more for my goods as the card cost is added into the total to cover their costs.

glad it's not just me!


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