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Beware of foreign exchange fee for otel.com

Beware of foreign exchange fee for otel.com

Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:09 AM
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Beware of foreign exchange fee for otel.com

Just to let forum readers know, I booked a hotel in Rome with otel.com in US dollars. My Master Card charged me a " FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE*FINANCE CHARGE" of almost eight dollarsfor this booking. After speaking with the Customer service for otel.com (a MetGlobal company) they said that they couldn't do anything about it. There is nothing prominent in their ads that say that a fee will be charged, and nothing on my confirmation, so when evaluating price, beware.. While this is not a large amount, it still doesn't seem right, but it's not enough money spend more time on the phone.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:22 AM
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the charge has nothing to do with Otel.com but a charge we all have to bear when buying items in a froeign currency whatever our credit card may be.
speak with your credit card company or check their list of fees.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:35 AM
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I understand that there is a fee when I buy something in a foreign currency, but I wasn't aware that I was booking a room in foreign currency. I was quoted US dollars.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:37 AM
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It is a new way the banks and credit cards have figured out to rip off people.....for years mc/visa charged a 1% fee for converting currencies claiming there were risks in currency fluctuations to justify the fee (I don't particularly have a problem with this fee)...some of the criminal banks then got in on the act by adding another 2% fee although they have nothing to do with the conversion; it reaches them already converted but what a banker ever misses out on a chance to gouge his or her customers.

Anyway, then scams such as dynamic currency conversion began making their appearance where the merchants and their credit card processors (as opposed to mc/visa) wanted in on the action thus depriving mc/visa and the banks of their ill begotten foreign transactions fees. So they decided last April to change the fee and claim the fee is on all foreign transactions whether done in a local currency or in your currency (in this case USD).....and guess what. The criminal banks hopped on it too. Try to get from these people some justification for these fees and they have none. We charge the fees because we want to; not that they are performing any service.

So I'm afraid, you're stuck with the fee. (Incidentally this makes dynamic currency conversion an even bigger scam than it was originally).
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:38 AM
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I'm guessing its because it was a foreign booking (you said the room was in Rome) so even if the currency was USD, it is still a foreign transaction according to your credit card company. I dont think it has anything to do with Otel.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:44 AM
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The fault is your credit card. If your credit card charges high fees, perhaps you should shop around for one that doesn't.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:57 AM
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Hi pac,

The foreign exchange fee is charged by your credit card company. Not Master Card. Not Otel.

Talk to your bank.

Better yet, get a CC from CapitalOne or Schwab.

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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 05:21 AM
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Packed. Ira gives good advice about Capital One which I use whenever booking rooms in Europe.
BUT. If I thought I was booking a room in US dollars as that was how the price was quoted, I would be upset also.
It is kind of like a blindside. Even if it isn't a huge amount, it isn't what you thought you were being charged.

When I prepay for a car, for instance, for Europe and the price is in dollars, that is what my credit card is charged even though the car is picked up where the Euro is used.

Another way to get more money.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 05:23 AM
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The point is, I didn't know it was a foreign transaction. That was never made clear to me and this company advertised on a major US travel site. I have booked several times through other companies and have never been charged a fee. Had they made it clear that this would be a foreign transaction, I would have then had the choice of paying the CC fee, or not booking with them.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 05:30 AM
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I think it's the merchant who created this upcharge - DDC is a function of the merchant not the customer's bank. If the customer thought they were booking through an American company (and Otel's mailing addr is in NYC), he wouldn't expect a DDC to occur (would you expect it if booking thru Travelocity, for example?).

The credit card bank doesn't add DDC after you've purchased, it only adds % to purchases made through or in foreign sites. Remember that, if you were buying in person, DCC would be something you could decline on the spot and pay in local currency. Then the cc bank could add their % to that transaction. Two separate things.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 08:01 AM
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I agree with Travelnut. I believe that Ryanair uses DCC on credit cards that are not from the country where the flight originates.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 08:03 AM
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One further thought: the OP was quoted a price in dollars for a hotel in the euro zone, which might be the give-away that DCC would be used.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 09:15 AM
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Dunno about that, b/c many of these sites give you a choice to display the rates in Euro, Dollars, etc. (and did so long before DCC came into play).
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 09:27 AM
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Another flavor is Expedia, which charges you in $, but books hotel in euros...but no extra charges. I suppose that they bury the charges insided of their final price. In OTEL's case, I guess they don't.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 09:40 AM
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Thanks for the heads up. I've booked many hotels in the euro zone without any DCC coming into play - specifically with US based chains. I was quoted and charged in USD for the several times I've prepaid in full.

It was a logical assumption (albeit incorrect) by OP that otel.com would be the same. How would you know?
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 10:04 AM
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The Otel website gives you a choice of currencies.

Once again, the fee had nothing to do with Otel. The fee is from your credit card.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 10:26 AM
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Ditto ky,

A " FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE*FINANCE CHARGE" comes from the bank that owns the CC.

There are banks (the biggest ones) that are doing this even if the original bill was in USD. Any invoice from outside NA is subject to the 3% fee - for which they do nothing at all.

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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 03:04 AM
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Do you make it clear on your website that the transaction is being processed outside the US? If not, there's an opportunity for more clarity.
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 01:20 PM
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Perhaps it's in your fine print, but I don't remember that being prominently displayed when I made my reservation.
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