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"Charge it, but check the math" from the Washington Post - 14 Aug 05

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Aug 28th, 2005, 08:38 AM
  #41
 
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"As a matter of fact, we now do this for an evening at the theatre and the theatres are now so considerate...at the bar there is ice so we take a cup and some ice and use the cokes we have brought into the theatre for our half time refreshments!"

I'd throw you out if you did that. That's such poor behaviour. If you can't afford drinks at the theatre then don't buy them. Why not go to a restaurant and take your own drinks too? Why not ever go out and just shop and buy the cheapest of everything? Never buy new clothes. How ridiculous.

Penny wise, pound foolish.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 08:47 AM
  #42
 
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Flagship stores are always cheaper/same price and offer personal service. The staff at Dior Homme know me, and their prices are often cheaper than Brown's.

But, you're still missing the point about Brown's. If I were to use a cash card (and I never do, it just sits in a safe) I get charged commission on the money i withdraw so it equates to being no better (and in fact worse) than taking it from the bank in the first place. Besides, we're not even quibbling over 100 pounds in every 5000 so it's pointless.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 09:23 AM
  #43
 
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Lots of people bring drinks from outside into London theatres for half time refreshments...what makes you think it is bad behaviour?

Besides, I have yet to come across any theatre that carries my favourite drink namely diet vanilla coke. I have brought diet vanilla cokes into several restaurants (Wagamama, Satsuma among others)...once they asked me why I was doing this and explained they did not carry a drink I liked. What's so bad about bringing your favourite drink when the theatre doesn't see it?

I have yet to have anybody tell me this is not the correct behaviour.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 09:45 AM
  #44
 
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Just to complete the thought...

Almost every theatre now checks bags before you go in...I don't hide the sodas I am bringing in...they are in my bag...the personnel look and have never once said there is anything wrong with briging my own drinks into the theatre. I don't see anything wrong with it and the analogy with a restaurant or a pub is nonsensical. The primary purpose of a theatre is to provide entertainment not to sell drinks. They sell drinks as a service but since I am not using their service I shouldn't have to pay.

When I was a kid in the States, we used to bring sodas with us to the baseball games. Beofre 9/11 nobody ever said anything was wrong with that. Now they check bags and unfortunately because of their fear we will throw the cans at the players, do not allow us to bring them in. Of course, their prime purpose is they make a pretty penny on concessions...don't think the theatres do.

I do this in the West End, I do this on Broadway and nobody can tell me there is anything wrong with it.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 10:03 AM
  #45
 
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Back to the DCC scam...

I live in the UK and have both American and British credit cards. Interestingly, I've never come across DCC in London or any of the other places I've travelled, which include tourist centres like Stratford-upon-Avon, Cambridge, and Oxford. Granted, I'm a 'local' and do my shopping for daily necessities rather than souvenirs, and this is probably less likely to occur at a supermarket than it is at a souvenir shop.

I suppose it's one more argument for going off the beaten path...

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 28th, 2005, 10:04 AM
  #46
 
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"Besides, we're not even quibbling over 100 pounds in every 5000 so it's pointless."

In other words, "if it doesn't cost me at least 2% then it is pointless"?

Good for you. But some of us would actually prefer not to spend an extra 100 pounds on each 5000. To some of us saving even 2% isn't pointless at all! But again, you have your right to spend your money however you want.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 11:47 AM
  #47
 
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Amen, Patrick!
Someone recently asked if Fodorites were wealthly or other.
I rather think the millionaire next door has answered that question: one does not become wealthy by squandering 2% or more on every purchase.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 11:56 AM
  #48
 
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jasher...

Have you used an American visa or mastercard at hotels, restaurants or gift shops?? This scam is performed at entitities that cater to tourists and the push by the credit card processing companies is towards those kinds of merchants...

Interestingly enough, as I indicated elsewhere I got into several hassles regarding this a couple of weeks ago in Scotland. On 3 occassions after a 4 or 5 minute discussion (never raising my voice) the manager came by and credit the fraudulent dcc charge and re-submitted the charge properly. What was interesting the charge in sterling cleared onto the credit card statement the next day while it took the charge and credit with dcc several days and there were completely different reference numbers noting the first four numbers represent the bank processor of the charge and the regular charge was processed at a completely different processor than the fraudulent dcc charge.
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Sep 13th, 2005, 09:53 PM
  #49
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Sep 13th, 2005, 10:59 PM
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A simple question to all of you getting so het up about all this:

Apart from "demanding" that tourist boards do this or that (tourist boards in Britain have few resources and zero powers) or making dubiously-founded threats of prosecution, have any of you actually done anything about this?

In particular, who's contacted the local Trading Standards Officer in the town concerned? Since it's almost certain that DCC, at any rate in Britain, is violently at odds with the underlying principles of the Treaty of Rome, has anybody gone to the trouble of determing which Brussels DG this falls under and getting them to start an investigation?

Without doubt: if DCC isn't illegal, it damn well ought to be. It should be relatively easy to ensure it is outlawed throughout the EU, and that it's actively stamped out in Britain.

I'll happily start a campaign to that effect. But before doing so, I'd appreciate complainers' accounts of what steps anyone has taken and where it's got them.
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Sep 14th, 2005, 01:37 AM
  #51
 
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The only step I've taken is refusing to sign the charge slip and getting into arguments with cashiers who insist they have no control over it and finally having had the manager come over to argue with too but eventually in every case they credited the original transaction and re-did it properly.

I don't think that it is a problem in either Britain or in Ireland to make your feelings known and although it might be something management is reluctant to do, you can usually get them to do the charge properly.

But I haven't yet had the experience of having this done to me in other countries I have visited. I haven't been to Spain recently nor Italy, 2 countries where this is going on big time. And I suspect because of the language problem, it might be difficult to get them to do the charges properly. I must note it's never been pulled on me in Holland, France or Germany.

If done properly, I'm not sure if it is illegal. By done properly I mean the merchant specifically asking the sucker if he or she wants the charge written up in their currency.

I also find UK customer assistance at times to be a little bit more forgiving merchants than those in the US. For example, they have outlawed two important safe guards of credit card use in the US namely US merchants are forbidden to charge surcharges for use of a credit card and cannot set a minimum charge value, technically you can use a credit card for a 23 charge. Even I wouldn't do that, but once it passes $1 I have no qualms about using a credit card and I walk around in my wallet with the communication from visa USA showing it is illegal to impose a minimum value for a credit card and have had a few small arguments regarding merchants' inability to follow the rules. But British merchants have been able to get their consumer organisation, it seems, to outlaws these stupid ptactices and I have run into British merchants who won't take a cc for less than £5, a moronic position. So I'm not sure that dcc per se is illegal in Britain.
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Sep 14th, 2005, 04:53 AM
  #52
 
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One of my coworkers visited Spain last week. I had warned him about DCC and armed him with what to do.

He encountered it 10 times, tried to fight but gave up after the first few tries. For example he would point out that it says that he was given a choice on the printed ticket, but they would say that they could not read English.

Running into this repeatedly, would significantly impact my enjoyment of a vacation. I have crossed Spain off my list.

Keith
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Sep 14th, 2005, 05:26 AM
  #53
 
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What he should do as a last resort if these crooks refuse to follow the visa and mastercard rules is to cross out the statement about being given a choice and write DCC not accepted....and then establish billing error procedures with visa.
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Sep 14th, 2005, 06:02 AM
  #54
amelia
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One thing for sure is that such a practice leaves a bad taste in the mouth. As I've written recently, my husband and I were so angry about how angry we felt that we just avoided using our credit card--we didn't want to spend two weeks in Ireland arguing with every vendor.

I think that's the point it's so important to make to one's own credit company--failure on their part to deal with this DCC issue makes their card useless to the client.
 
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Sep 14th, 2005, 06:10 AM
  #55
 
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I'm not sure what the card companies can really do about it...you know a lot of us believe (not saying I do mind you) in less government regulation and merchants should have the freedom to run their businesses in the way they best see fit.

Once these payment processors do basically is they settle with the merchant and use 21st century technology to transmit the charge to a bank in the country of the cardholder bypassing the international credit card clearing system depriving the cc company of the income from the fees; of course they tried to fight back by establishing a charge for all foreign transactions but for the time being, because of the bad press, have dropped it.

I don't agree not using your cc's is the answer; the cc is there for my convenience and not having to run off to the ATM every day for cash...as I have said while in Britain and Ireland although I had arguments I have managed to get the charges done properly; I haven't had to face the issue yet in a foreign country but I do know that I wouldn't take no for an answer and if the merchant refused to do the charge properly, I would cross out the USD amount on the slip, circle the local amount and write DCC declined in big capital letters. Let's see what they would do about this then.
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Sep 14th, 2005, 06:34 AM
  #56
 
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I encountered this at the end of August at the Tryp Cibeles hotel in Spain with MasterCard. They insisted there was no other option. I insisted they reverse the charge. So they did, but they were mocking me in Spanish. Then I had to go to the bank machine to get cash. It was very unpleasant all around. The hotel otherwise was great, with a beautiful staircase, a delicious full breakfast buffet, sleek decor, and good air conditioning.

This was the only time I tried to use my MasterCard in Spain, so I don't know what would have happened otherwise. But in the future, I will always pay cash, period, or use AMEX if that's an option.
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Sep 14th, 2005, 06:43 AM
  #57
 
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You make a good point; Amex to its credit does not allow the use of the dcc scam although some international merchants such as car rental agencies can get away with it by running the charge through their American subsidiary; but having said that remember Amex charge 2% above interbank for foreign currency conversions. If you are smart enough to use a credit card not trying to scam you and admitedly they are becoming fewer and fewer, you pay 1% above interbank....
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Sep 14th, 2005, 06:45 AM
  #58
 
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Again willtravel; I now know what i will do if I am in a country with a merchant who refuses to properly perform the transaction...I, as I said, will cross out the USD amount and write on the charge slip DCC declined and then contest the charge. I don't see how you can possibly lose.
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Sep 14th, 2005, 10:16 AM
  #59
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One possible solution to this problem might be to write the Tourist Offices of the country where this occurred. They will not be able to do anything about it, but they may be able to bring the situation to the attention of the proper authorities. With tourism as important as it is to Europe, they may be able to have an impact on this growing problem.
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Sep 14th, 2005, 12:50 PM
  #60
 
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This happened to me at a Marriott property in Vietnam. The hotel refused to reverse the charge.

Back in the states I called Marriott directly and they posted a credit to my card.

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