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Any recent stories of dynamic currency conversion?

Any recent stories of dynamic currency conversion?

Old Jun 4th, 2006, 11:17 PM
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Any recent stories of dynamic currency conversion?

I know these things are cyclical, but a few months or a year ago there seemed to be constant posts on this subject, and now I haven't seen one for weeks. Maybe I've missed it, of course.

So is it possible that MasterCard and VISA are cracking down on merchants who do this without the user's consent? Or have travelers just gotten used to it?

If you haven't seen it before, DCC is the practice where the merchant writes up the charge in your local currency (whether that be USD, CAD, AUS, or whatever) and frequently adding a hefty percentage surcharge to the appropriate exchange rate. This is not supposed to happen unless you specifically agree. Try to insist that the clerk give you a choice as to how the charge should be rung up, because the credit card slip says you are taking the DCC by choice.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 04:00 AM
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Just got back from Switzerland, and I didn't run across any, although I did check.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 04:06 AM
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Yes, Avis at Venice airport. They actually have something in the fine print of the contract where you "agree" to it. I dropped the car off at a location that was closed at the time, so didn't get a chance to review the charges then. When I got my bill I called them up and we negotiated a refund that I thought was fair - but I'm a frequent and long-time Avis customer. I'm not sure they would have been so obliging with just anyone.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 04:16 AM
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Yes, the Covent Garden hotel in London..which has never happened to me before. However, during my stay in April when I checked out I noticed the CC slip was in Dollars and I questioned it immediately.

Unfortunately, the desk clerk told me there was nothing she could do and that's when I called for the manager who quickly showed her the button on the machine that makes this DCC thing NOT happen. I'm not sure if they were trying to put one over or this was truly a person who did not understand but at those prices I would hape it was the latter.

When I returned to London and checked out of the Marriott County Hall a few days later it did not happen.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 04:58 AM
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My daughter has been in Madrid since February and had this happen at El Corte Ingles. She was using a Visa card and they did not give her the option of $ or Euro as they are supposedly required to do. She has since used cash when shopping there. She is not in a touristy area and I don't think she has had this problem at other stores.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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Any Canadians have this happen on their Visa or Amex in Europe?
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 05:21 AM
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Checking out of the Royal Dublin Hotel on O'Connell street two weeks ago, I was asked if I wanted to be charged in dollars or euros. I paused for a moment, recalled what I read here, and replied euros. In several days in Dublin and two weeks in Italy, this was the only time it came up - all other bills were in euros.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 05:25 AM
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With the number of tourists coming to the US I wonder if the same thing happens HERE in reverse?????
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 05:53 AM
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Intrepid, I remember reading a post on one of the previous threads with a link to an ad for merchants in the US to sign up for DCC, so it appears to be a US phenomenon as well as a European one.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 05:59 AM
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Recent story, though not in Europe. Searching domestic airfares in Australia to find that one of the airlines, either Qantas or Jetstar (can't remember which) posts on its website that they charge your credit card in the currency of your residence. In other words, if I purchase airfare on-line using my credit card, the charge will be in USD instead of AUD, with the airline doing the conversion instead of Visa. Fares on the website are listed in AUD.

Since we plan to fly internally on our Australia trip, do you think I'd have any luck challenging this?
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:03 AM
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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I'd challenge it. Not offering the buyer a choice of currencies is <b>a violation of Visa and MasterCard operating rules.</b> It's right there in the Merchant Agreement.

If the airline refuses, take it up with the card issuer.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:26 AM
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Just checked Jetstar's website and found the following: &quot;Direct payments must be made in the same currency as your bank account.&quot; And &quot;Note: If your credit or charge card is billed in a different currency to your Jetstar purchase, your card provider will determine the applicable exchange rate.&quot;

Haven't had my coffee yet here on the West Coast of the US, but I'm not sure if their policy is DCC or not.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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Thankfully, we did not experience this problem on our recent visit to Italy and southern France. I don't think my daughter had any problem her entire semester in Italy, either.
 
Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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Betsy:

A year ago I bought tickets with Quantas and Virgin Blue, on their website, for internal Australian flights. The prices were quoted in AU dollars. My Amex bill shows the Australian total, and then the Cdn amount billed. So, no DCC. But, that was a year ago and things might have changed.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 07:29 AM
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We encountered the DCC at a Madrid airport duty-free shop, but were asked if we wanted the charge to be in Euros or US Dollars. When I checked the official exchange rate a short time later it was almost exactly what the duty-free store was offering. No rip-off in this case, unlike what we encountered last summer and again during the winter at El Corte Ingles.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 12:15 PM
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Happened to me this April, at two different shops in Glengarriff, Ireland, so, YES, it IS still going on.

Bob
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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Ireland is where so many incidents were reporte in the past, that it turned me off going there.

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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 12:55 PM
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Sure it is still happening, but with increased publicity on this 'scam' on Fodors and other travel sites, as well on my credit card website, I suspect consumers are much more aware of their rights and staff are better trained to handle different scenarios.
It started in Ireland and it's very common over there, esp in travel-related contexts (hotels, restaurants, gift shops, transport etc). Here in UK its use is spreading, but many establishments have a sticker prominently displayed (supplied by their card handlers - merchant services) that customers have a choice of billing currencies. I believe to use DCC the merchants have to pay a higher fee, so its use is only worth while if they get enough foreign card customers to offset it.
In other European countries, it's still uncommon in France, Germany and Italy, with the possible exception of rental desks and service establishments frequented by foreign tourists.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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It happened to me at the well respected Albergo Del Senato. They told me that the amount in US dollars was just shown for my information and that I was still being charged 190 euro per night. I e-mailed them after and complained and they still tried to tell me that I was charged 190 euro. Their rate was higher than my credit card charged on same day purchases (1.25 dollars per euro instead of 1.21)

At least my credit card didn't charge my a foreign currency fee on top of that like some do so it didn't end up costing that much but I was still annoyed.
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